Depression in the U.S. Household Population, 2009–2012

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Depression in the U.S. Household Population

Depression is a serious medical illness with mood, cognitive, and physical symptoms. Depression is associated with higher rates of chronic disease, increased health care, and impaired functioning. Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

In 2009–2012, 7.6% of Americans aged 12 and over had depression (moderate or severe depressive symptoms in the past 2 weeks).

  • Females had higher rates of depression than males in every age group.
  • The rate of depression increased by age, from 5.7% among youth aged 12–17 to 9.8% among adults aged 40–59, but adults aged 60 and over had a significantly lower rate of depression (5.4%) than those aged 18–39 and 40–59.
  • The highest rate of depression, 12.3%, was found in women aged 40–59.
  • The lowest rates of depression were for males aged 12–17 (4.0%) and 60 and over (3.4%).
Percentage of persons aged 12 and over with depression

Approximately 3% of all Americans aged 12 and over had severe depressive symptoms, while almost 78% had no depressive symptoms.

  • Non-Hispanic black persons had a higher rate of severe depressive symptoms (4.1%) than non-Hispanic white persons (2.6%).
  • Non-Hispanic black persons and Hispanic persons had higher rates of mild and moderate depressive symptoms than non-Hispanic white persons. Non-Hispanic white persons were more likely to have no depressive symptoms (78.5%) than either non-Hispanic black persons (73.2%) or Hispanic persons (73.9%).
Percentage of persons aged 12 and over by depressive symptom severity

Poor persons were more than twice as likely to have depression as persons living at or above the poverty level.

  • More than 15% of persons living below the federal poverty level had depression compared with 6.2% of persons living at or above the poverty level.
  • No significant differences were observed in rates of depression by race and Hispanic origin among persons living below the poverty level or among those living at or above the poverty level.
Percentage of persons aged 12 and over with depression, by poverty status

Nearly 90% of persons with severe depressive symptoms reported difficulty with work, home, or social activities related to their symptoms.

  • Percentage of persons aged 12 and over reporting difficulty with work, home, or social activities due to depressive symptoms.
  • Rates of serious difficulty with work, home, or social activities related to depressive symptoms also increased as symptom severity increased, from 3.9% among persons with mild depressive symptoms to 15.8% among persons with moderate symptoms, and 42.8% among those with severe symptoms.
Percentage of persons aged 12 and over reporting difficulty with work, home, or social activities due to depressive symptoms

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/