Key Depression Statistics Worldwide: Essential Information To Know

According to the American Psychological Association, depression is the most common mental health condition. However, that statement alone doesn’t quite describe the prevalence of depression and the issues it can cause. To paint a better picture of how serious the issue of depression is, researchers and mental health professionals use statistics. 

In this overview, we cover many key facts and figures regarding depression, including data on:

  • The most common types of depression
  • Who is suffering from major depressive disorder
  • Suicide rates of people with depression
  • Efficacy of available treatments 

The Most Common Types Of Depression

Depressive disorders are divided into various subtypes according to their symptoms.

Studies from the National Institution of Mental Health in 2017 show that 17.3 million adults in the United States suffer from major depression. This means that 7.1% of the adult U.S. population have experienced at least one major depressive episode within the year. 

1.5% of U.S. adults suffer from persistent depressive disorder. This condition, also called dysthymia, is signified by less-severe depressive symptoms that last for two years or longer.

Some depressive disorders are brought on by seasonal changes. Around 5% of American adults experience what’s called a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during fall and winter. These changes are linked to changes in brain chemistry due to the shorter days and less sunlight.

Another common condition found in 15% of new mothers is postpartum depression (PPD). This condition is caused by hormonal issues and is usually signified by anxiety and sadness after childbirth as well as difficulty of bonding with the baby. If left untreated, PPD can harm both the mother and her newborn child due to the likelihood of harmful thoughts. 

Demographics Of Depression 

Demographics are used to see which groups of people are more at risk from depression. Using demographics, researchers can also figure out ways to prevent depression.

From their 2017 study, the WHO states that 300 million people worldwide experience symptoms of depression. Women are typically more susceptible to symptoms of depression. The National Institute of Mental Health states that dysthymia is more prevalent in women – 1.9% of American women suffer from it compared to 1% of American men.

Depression doesn’t just affect the adult population, it also affects children and elderly adults. The Centers for Disease Control has found in their 2018 study that 1.9 million children aged 3-17 are diagnosed with depression. Moreover, another CDC study shows that 13.5% of elder adults requiring home healthcare suffer from depression.

Race and socioeconomic status is also linked to the prevalence of depression. The CDC found that as family income rises, the prevalence of depression decreases. Depression is also more commonly found in Hispanic, Black, and white adults compared to Asians of the same age group.

The Link Between Depression And Other Conditions

If a person suffers from symptoms of depression, they are more likely to contract other diseases or conditions. Conversely, living with certain health issues can lead to someone experiencing symptoms of depression.

A study by the National Institute of Health shows that suffering a mood disorder or a major depressive episode increases the risk of heart disease in adults by 64%. The National Institute of Mental Health also states that 33% of heart attack survivors exhibit depressive symptoms.

Diabetes is also linked to depression – one in three people with diabetes exhibit symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression are also linked to eating disorders – 33 to 50% of anorexia sufferers have a comorbid mood disorder like depression. Being depressed also leads to an increased likelihood of substance abuse.  More than 20% of U.S. adults suffering from anxiety disorder symptoms also have an alcohol addiction or abuse drugs.

Another study found that half of adults suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also experience major depression 

How Depression Impacts Disability And Suicide Rates 

In the worst cases, impairment caused by depressive episodes can lead to injury, disability, self-harm, and even suicide. A World Health Organization study shows that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

The White House Conference on Mental Health reports that ⅔ of the 30,000 suicide deaths in the United States each year are linked to depression. Another national survey found that people who have an untreated depressive disorder are 20% more likely to perform a suicide attempt.

Effectiveness Of Treatments For Depression 

The National Institute of Health found that up to 80% of depression patients experience improvements after four to six weeks of treatments. 

However, depression patients are three times more likely to quit their treatment due to medical non-compliance 


Statistics give us the bigger picture of depression. Through these data, mental health organizations can develop treatments to help the most at-risk groups. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with depression, visit our page for more information on how our depression treatment programs can help you.

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