What is the US incidence of depression and suicide?

Updated: Sep 02, 2020
  • Author: Louise B Andrew, MD, JD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
  • Print


An estimated 6-12% of the US population will experience depression at some time. The annual suicide rate is 12.93 per 100,000 individuals. Suicide is the tenth leading of cause of mortality. In 2014, the total number of suicide deaths in the United States was 42,773. [3]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey data from 2006 and 2008 and found that among 235,067 adults surveyed (in 45 states, the District of Columbia [DC], Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), 9% met the criteria for current depression and 3.4% met the criteria for major depression. [18]

The study noted an increased incidence of depression in individuals without health insurance coverage versus those who had coverage (5.9% vs 2.9%, respectively); in individuals previously married (6.6%) or never married (4.1%) versus individuals currently married (2.2%); and individuals unable to work (22.2%) or unemployed (9.8%) versus homemakers and students (3%), individuals who were employed (2%), and retired persons (1.6%).

Individuals without a high school diploma (6.7%) and high school graduates (4%) were more likely to report major depression than were individuals who had attended at least some college (2.5%).

According to the CDC study, the age-standardized prevalence of major depression, "other depression," and any current depression varied by geographic location. The estimates for major depression ranged from 1.5% in North Dakota to 5.3% in Mississippi and West Virginia. Estimates of "other depression" were highest in Puerto Rico (10.2%), Mississippi (9.5%), and West Virginia (9.0%) and were lowest in North Dakota (3.2%), Oregon (3.6%), and Minnesota (3.8%). Estimates for current depression ranged from 4.8% in North Dakota to 14.8% in Mississippi and was mainly concentrated in the southeastern region of the United States.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that during 2009-2012, 7.6% of Americans aged 12 and over had depression (moderate or severe depressive symptoms in the past 2 weeks). Depression was more prevalent among females and persons aged 40-59. About 3% of Americans aged 12 and over had severe depressive symptoms. [19, 20]

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!