Depression statistics offer important insights that can help identify public health trends, evaluate interventions, and aid in research and development for mental health disorders.
Depression is a term often used to describe major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression, a mental health condition featuring persistent low mood accompanied by cognitive and behavioral changes.
But depression can mean many other things beyond MDD. Sometimes, depression episodes meet the criteria for major depression, like in bipolar II disorder. Other times, depression is milder, like in persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia).
Statistics offer one way to understand the patterns and influences of depression across different populations. It’s a process that helps experts track mental health states and gain insights into factors that may aid the availability of resources, research, and treatment.
Gendered terms like “women” and “men” are used throughout this article. Gender is not a binary, and society heavily influences the expectations placed on folks of varying gender identities and expressions.
But our understanding of sex and gender has evolved. We understand gender is solely about how you identify yourself, independent of your physical body.
Other WHO worldwide statistics show depression affects:
- 5% of adults
- 4% of adult men, compared to 6% of adult women
- 5.7% of adults over the age of 60 years
- 10% of pregnant women and women who have just given birth
Adults in the United States
In the United States, the
According to NIMH:
- major depressive episodes affect 10.3% of adult women, compared to 6.2% of adult men
- people between the ages of 18 and 25 years have the highest incidence of major depressive episodes at 18.6%
- major depressive episodes are experienced more by people of multiple races at 13.9%
Overall, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report
Youth in the United States
Among youth, Mental Health America’s 2023 report indicates:
- 1 in 10 youth between the ages of 12 and 17 years experience depression that severely impairs function
- 16.39% of youth have experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year
- 11.5% of youth are living with severe major depression
Racial disparities exist in depression statistics. CDC
- Hispanic or Latino adults (14.6%)
- non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander adults (14.6%)
- non-Hispanic black or African American adults (16.2%)
- non-Hispanic white adults (21.9%)
Across all races in the CDC data, women had a higher prevalence of depression compared to men.
Not only can depression be present as a symptom within other mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, it can co-occur with many physical and psychological conditions.
According to a 2023 review, approximately 18.4% of people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) also live with depression, with previous estimates suggesting that number may be as high as 45%.
The rate of depression among people living with cancer varies significantly depending on the type of cancer in question.
According to a study from 2018, the overall prevalence of depression among people with cancer is estimated at
Data from the
Substance use disorder (SUD)
Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show among adults in the US over 18 years of age, approximately 1.4% experience co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) and a serious mental health condition like MDD.
Among youth ages 12 to 17 years, approximately 1.7% report a major depressive episode co-occurring with SUD.
Like in cancer, the exact prevalence of depression co-occurring with eating disorders depends on the specific eating disorder.
Review research on anorexia nervosa, for example, suggests prevalence ranges significantly in scientific literature, from
While depression isn’t always a component in suicide, a 2022 systematic review indicates people living with MDD have a higher chance of suicidality compared to the general population.
Researchers found, compared to people not living with MDD, those living with MDD were 3.45 times more likely to attempt suicide at some point in life. And they were 7.34 times more likely to have made an attempt within the last year.
If you’re considering acting on suicidal thoughts, please seek professional support immediately.
Calling or texting a crisis helpline will connect you with a trained counselor 24/7, any day of the year, completely free of charge:
Depression impacts economics through factors like:
- reduced worker productivity
- healthcare costs
- employee turnover
- disability claims
It can also contribute to criminal justice costs and rising family costs related to care-giving.
These factors, and many others, make up what’s known as an “economic burden.”
report from 2022indicates that, as of 2018, the collective economic burden of MDD in the United States is $326.2 billion; but, only 11.2% of that number is directly related to treating MDD.
- According to
WHO, 12 billion working days are lost annually to depression and anxiety, at the cost of $1 trillion worldwide.
Determining the most effective treatment for depression is challenging. Treatment is a very individualized process, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Historically, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been the gold-standard treatment of depressive disorders.
According to a
Other approaches reviewed included:
- supportive therapy
- interpersonal therapy
- psychodynamic therapy
- behavioral activation
- problem-solving therapy
Researchers did note that CBT appears to be equally effective as medication for depression in the short-term, and more effective than medication in long-term management.
How many people are being treated for depression?
Regardless of treatment types, not everyone living with depression receives treatment. According to
- 61% of adults in the US over 18 years of age received treatment for MDD
- 74.8% of adults in the US over 18 years of age experiencing severe impairment during a major depressive episode received treatment
- 40.6% of US adolescents living with MDD received treatment
- 44.2% of US adolescents experiencing severe impairment during a major depressive episode received treatment
Depression statistics offer glimpses into how this mental health disorder affects different populations and the global community as a whole.
Understanding prevalence and patterns can help improve prevention strategies, treatment options, and access to care and other resources.
If you’re in need of support, check out Psych Central’s guide to help you find a therapist and mental health support that best suits your individual needs.