Well, this is depressing.

A new report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that nearly 1 in 5 adults in the US have been diagnosed with depression — and the prevalence varies depending on where they live.

In 2020, 18.4% of US adults reported having ever been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime by a healthcare provider — with higher rates of depression in women, young adults aged 18-24 and adults with lower education levels.

Researchers from the CDC and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in Tennessee estimate on a state-by-state level range that it’s about 12.7% in Hawaii to 27.5% in West Virginia.

They looked at data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to analyze how adults answered a 2020 survey about whether they’ve been diagnosed with a depressive disorder by a health professional — and nearly 400,000 respondents in all 50 states and Washington DC responded to the question on depression.

“There was considerable geographic variation in the prevalence of depression, with the highest state and county estimates of depression observed along the Appalachian and southern Mississippi Valley regions,” the report said.

The 10 states with the highest prevalence of adults having ever been diagnosed with depression were, from highest to lowest: West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Vermont, Alabama, Louisiana, Washington, Missouri and Montana.


Frightened depressed middle aged woman lying alone on bed in fetal position covering head with pillow feeling afraid or depressed suffer from insomnia mental problem abuse violence concept, top view
There was a higher prevalence of depression in women, young adults aged 18-24 and adults with lower education levels.
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“The variation in depression might also reflect the influence of social determinants of health in counties and states, including economic status and differences in access to health care,” the researchers added. “For example, adults in the Appalachian region tend to have lower incomes, higher poverty rates, and lower education levels, all of which can negatively affect health and well-being.”

Overall, depression was more prevalent in women (24%) than men (13.3%), and in young adults (21.5%) than in adults aged 65 and older (14.2%).

“This report provides current estimates of national, state-level, and county-level prevalence of adults reporting a lifetime diagnosis of depression,” the report concluded. “These estimates can help decision-makers guide resource allocation to areas where the need is greatest.”


Unpleasant pain. Sad unhappy handsome man sitting on the sofa and holding his forehead while having headache
Overall, depression was more prevalent in women (24%) than men (13.3%), and in young adults (21.5%) than in adults aged 65 and older (14.2%).
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In May, a Gallup poll also revealed that depression rates hit record highs in the US, particularly among young adults and women.

Results from the survey — which asked about 5,000 adults: “Has a doctor or nurse ever told you that you have depression?” and “Do you currently have or are you currently being treated for depression?” — showed that 29% reported being diagnosed with depression at some point in their life.

Additionally, 17.8% of respondents said they have depression or are being treated for it, with Gallup noting that these are the highest rates recorded since this depression data-collecting method began in 2015.

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