Saturday, 14 July 2012

Crazy Venezuelan statistics: suicide

I have reasons to doubt about the professional values of employees at the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INE) when they start to sound like propaganda masters. When I see their numbers don't fit with the data coming from the National Electoral Centre, I become more cautious.

But when I discover data like this  and plot it to produce charts like the one below, I really become puzzled. This data is based on what the INE claims to be the suicide statistics for each state in Venezuela from 2000 to 2010. If you look at the total, you see Venezuelans are apparently killing themselves less often now. Of course, one can argue that as the murder rate has more than tripled in the last 13 years, Venezuelans with suicidal tendencies feel they can just walk around and someone else will do it for them.

But then we look at the numbers per state and  through time,  we notice a strange thing:

It's Zulia, that special state in North-Western Venezuela where people eat this at 35°C under the shadow. How is it possible that the amount of suicides could be so much higher in 2000 and it went down so dramatically in 10 years whereas suicides remained the same in the rest of the country?

What do you think is going on there?


  1. This (the link) what is that? If you don't mind my asking?

    Aside from that, I did hear from my friend Daniel, that according to some survey, Venezuelans were the happiest in the world...maybe that might be why the chart turned out how it did?

  2. I just plotted the data from the chart stating "Suicidios registrados por año de registro, según entidad federal de registro, 2000-2010"
    Suicide registered per year according to federal entity
    Venezuelans have always been a bunch of people who like to laugh. I found Chomsky's "conclusions" about Venezuela based on some polls on happiness very stupid and completely unscientific: he claimed that because a certain poll indicated Venezuelans declared themselves the happiest, Chávez's government had to be good.
    A scientist - and Chomsky should know better- needs to measure some very basic parameters. Even if this poll was well conducted and statements "happiness" across countries can be compared so easily: was there a comparable study about Venezuelans' happiness from before Chávez? And before Chávez is not the same as before Chá was it between 1973 and 1983? How was it later on?
    Chomsky did not bother to think about was not convenient for what he aimed at.

    Now, coming back to this chart concretely: I don't know if the numbers really went down or they were massaged, like some others. What I do find very weird is that Zulia would have such a high suicide rate, much much higher than anything else. I know Zulianos are sort of different, but this?


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