Jell-O and suicides


Note: in the print edition of this issue, this article appears as a sidebar to an essay, "If a town is more dead than alive, it's the Old West."

Various statistics describe different aspects of the West today. For instance, Salt Lake City leads the nation in per capita Jell-O consumption, while Nevada leads in bartenders per capita. As recently as 1993, Wyoming had a total of one black person serving in any elected federal, state, county or city office. The same year, Utah had a total of one Hispanic serving in any elected office.

A statistic on how modern cowboys ride the range: Wyoming leads the nation in fleet mentality (more vehicles than total residents), as well as miles behind the wheel (the average licensed driver in Wyoming drove enough miles in 1993 to get to Tierra del Fuego and back).

As for mental health, the amenity-rich Rocky Mountain region has by far the highest suicide rate. Nevada consistently leads the nation in suicide, and in the 1993 rankings, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho and Colorado held the rest of the top spots, second through seventh nationally.

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