Fast Facts about Depression

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drawing from its own continuing household interviews, offers new data on who in the U.S. is most likely to suffer depression, and how often.   

Some noteworthy findings: 

  • Overall rate of depression: Some 3 percent of people age 12 and over were experiencing “severe depressive symptoms.” More people—7.6 percent—were experiencing “moderate or severe” symptoms, with people age 40 to 59 at greatest risk. Many more—78 percent—“had no depressive symptoms.”
  • Gender and depression. Women experience nearly double (1.7 times) men’s rate of depression.
  • Poverty and depression. People living below the poverty line are 2½ times more likely to be experiencing depression. (Does poverty increase depression? Does depression increases poverty? Or—mindful of both the stress of poverty and the CDC-documented impact of depression on work and home life—is it both?)
  • Depression and treatment.  Only 35 percent of people with severe symptoms reported contact with a mental health professional in the prior year.