Food for Thought10 Nov 2010 09:00 am
Las Vegas, which bills itself as “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, it is the 28th most populous city in the United States with an estimated 2009 population of 1,902,834 for the Las Vegas metropolitan area. However, you only need scratch the surface of this glittering metropolis to unearth far more troubling statistics about the “city of sin.”
In Vegas, the odds of dying by suicide are strikingly high — twice as high as in the rest of the country. And the neon city is a risk for residents and visitors alike, according to a study in the current issue of the journal “Social Science and Medicine”. Indeed, researchers found that residents of Las Vegas had a 50 percent higher risk of suicide than folks living elsewhere in the country. When it comes to visitor suicides, statistics are comparably grim. In most cities nationwide, 1 in l00 ”visitor deaths” on average is recorded as a suicide. However, in Las Vegas, 1 in 25 visitor deaths on average is a suicide, four times the national average.
Researchers have suggested a number of possible environmental factors for this mysterious phenomenon. Compulsive and pathological gamblers have many concomitant problem behaviors, including alcoholism and drug addiction, which often contributes to suicidal behavior. Moreover, the fast-growth, boomtown nature of Vegas is at odds with community cohesiveness. With a high proportion of transients, massive population growth and demographic change, a larger proportion of the city’s denizens may find themselves socially isolated and lacking in an enduring social support network.
Still others have suggested that tortured types, who are more likely to suffer from suicidal tendencies, disproportionally choose to either settle in or visit Las Vegas. I guess self-destructive is as self-destructive does….
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