Fast Facts about Depression

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Originally posted on December 23, 2014.

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.


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About the Author
David Myers has spent his entire teaching career at Hope College, Michigan, where he has been voted “outstanding professor” and has been selected by students to deliver the commencement address. His award-winning research and writings have appeared in over three dozen scientific periodicals and numerous publications for the general public. He also has authored five general audience books, including The Pursuit of Happiness and Intuition: Its Powers and Perils. David Myers has chaired his city's Human Relations Commission, helped found a thriving assistance center for families in poverty, and spoken to hundreds of college and community groups. Drawing on his experience, he also has written articles and a book (A Quiet World) about hearing loss, and he is advocating a transformation in American assistive listening technology (see