Depression Statistics Everyone Should Know

Depression affects people from all walks of life.
 JGI / Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Getty Images

Depression affects people from all walks of life, no matter what their background. It can affect people of all ages as well.

Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and some people view disorders such as depression as a weakness. But, similar to the way anyone can develop certain physical health issues, mental health issues aren’t always preventable.

Understanding the latest depression statistics could increase awareness about mental health. Recognizing how widespread it is could also help reduce the stigma—which might encourage more people to seek treatment.

Major Depressive Episodes

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) defines a major depressive episode as at least two weeks of a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities, as well as at least five other symptoms, such as:

  • Sleep issues on an almost daily basis (either difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much)
  • Changes in appetite and weight (change of more than 5 percent body weight in a month) or a decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
  • Decreased energy or fatigue almost every day
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and thinking clearly
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation that is observable by others (slow physical movements or unintentional or purposeless motions)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for suicide

The symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in a person’s social, occupational, or educational functioning.

There’s no single cause of depression, according to research. It can be the result of brain chemistry, hormones, and genetics, as well as life experiences and physical health.

Prevalence of Depression

While anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., depression isn’t far behind. Here are the latest depression statistics:

  • 300 million people around the world have depression, according to the World Health Organization
  • 16.2 million adults in the United States—equaling 6.7 percent of all adults in the country—have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year
  • 10.3 million U.S. adults experienced an episode that resulted in severe impairment in the past year
  • Nearly 50 percent of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
  • It’s estimated that 15 percent of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.

Seasonal Depression

Depressive disorder with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder) is a pattern of depressive episodes that occur in line with seasonal changes. Most commonly, it is diagnosed in winter in people who live in colder climates. Summer-type seasonal pattern is less often diagnosed.

Here are the latest statistics on depressive disorders with seasonal patterns:

  • 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression in any given year.
  • Four out of five people with seasonal depression are women.
  • The average age of onset is between 20 and 30 years old

Postpartum Depression Statistics

It’s common for women to experience stress, sadness, loneliness, and exhaustion after giving birth. But some women experience postpartum depression that makes it difficult for them to care for themselves or their babies after giving birth. Here are the statistics on postpartum depression:

  •  One in seven women experience postpartum depression.
  • Half of all women diagnosed with postpartum depression have never had an episode of depression before.
  • About half of all women who are eventually diagnosed with postpartum depression began experiencing symptoms during pregnancy.

    Demographics of People With Depression

    Depression can begin at any age and it can affect people of all races and across all socioeconomic statuses. Here are some of the statistics on the demographics of people with depression:

    • The median age of depression onset is 32.5 years old.
    • The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode is highest among individuals between 18 and 25.
    • 10.5 percent of adults who report two or more races have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year
    • 8.5 percent of women have depression
    • 4.8 percent of men have depression

    Suicide and Self-Harm Statistics

    Untreated depression increases an individual’s risk of suicide. Here are the latest statistics on suicide:

    • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
    • It’s the 2nd leading cause of death among people ages 15-24.
    • 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year
    • 40 percent of all persons who complete suicide have made at least one previous attempt.
    • Individuals with substance abuse disorders are six times more likely to complete suicide than people who don’t have drug or alcohol problems.
    • Eight out of 10 people considering suicide give some signs of their intentions.
    • Females attempt suicide twice as often as males.
    • Males are four times as likely to die by suicide.
    • Firearms account for 51 percent of all suicide deaths
    • 494,169 individuals visited hospitals in the United States due to self-harm in 2016

    Treatment for Depression

    Depression is very treatable. But, only about half of all Americans who are diagnosed with depression in a given year get treatment. Those who do seek treatment wait months or years to get help.

    Many individuals with depression who seek treatment are under-treated. Studies consistently show a combination of talk therapy and medication can be most effective in treating depression.

    Here are the latest statistics on depression treatment:

    • Only 1 in 5 people receive treatment consistent with current practice guidelines.
    • 6 percent of people with depression are treated with medication only.
    • 37 percent of adults with depression receive no treatment at all.

    Depression in Children and Adolescents

    Depression can begin during childhood or during the teenage years. Similar to the prevalence rates in adults, girls are more likely to experience depression than boys. There’s a sharp increase in depression in girls just after puberty.

    Although there has been a rise in teenage depression, according to a 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics study, there has not been a corresponding increase in treatment for teenagers.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends regular depression screening for all adolescents between ages 11 and 21, given that the symptoms of depression are often missed by adults such as parents, teachers and even doctors.

    Here are the most recent depression statistics in children and adolescents:

    • 3.1 million young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year in the United States
    • 2 to 3 percent of children ages 6 to 12 may have serious depression
    • 19.4 percent of adolescent girls have experienced a major depressive episode
    • 6.4 percent of adolescent boys have experienced a major depressive episode
    • 70 percent of adolescents who experienced a major depressive episode in the past year,  experienced a severe impairment
    • 60 percent of children and adolescents with depression are not getting any type of treatment
    • 19 percent of children with depression saw a health care professional for treatment
    • 2 percent of children with depression were treated with medication alone

    Economic Impact of Depression

    Depression takes an economic toll on individuals, families, organizations, and society as a whole. It can lead to reduced educational attainment, lower earning potential, and higher rates of unemployment:

    • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
    • The total economic burden of depression is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year.
    • 48 to 50 percent of the economic costs are attributed to absences from work as well as decreased productivity caused by depression
    • 45 to 47 percent of the costs are due to medical expenses, such as outpatient and inpatient treatment or the costs of medication

    A Word From Verywell

    If you suspect you have depression, talk to your healthcare provider. A physician can assess your symptoms and can provide you with a referral to a specialist if necessary. You can also contact a mental health professional directly to discuss treatment options.

    If you suspect someone you know has depression, address your concerns. The individual may be willing to seek treatment if you bring up the subject. And treatment could save someone’s life.

    Sources

    American Psychological Association: What Is Postpartum Depression and Anxiety?

    Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017.

    Mental Health America: 2017 State of Mental Health in America – Report Overview Historical Data.

    Mojtabai R, Olfson M, Han B. National Trends in the Prevalence and Treatment of Depression in Adolescents and Young AdultsPediatrics. 2016;138(6).

    National Institute of Mental Health: Major Depression.