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Trends in depression prevalence in the USA from 2005 to 2015: widening disparities in vulnerable groups

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2017

A. H. Weinberger
Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY, USA Department of Epidemiology & Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA
M. Gbedemah
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, CUNY School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA
A. M. Martinez
Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
D. Nash
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, CUNY School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH), City University of New York, New York, NY, USA
S. Galea
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, NY, USA
R. D. Goodwin*
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, CUNY School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH), City University of New York, New York, NY, USA
Author for correspondence: R. D. Goodwin, Ph.D., M.P.H., E-mail:



Major depression is associated with significant disability, morbidity, and mortality. The current study estimated trends in the prevalence of major depression in the US population from 2005 to 2015 overall and by demographic subgroups.


Data were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual cross-sectional study of US persons ages 12 and over (total analytic sample N = 607 520). Past-year depression prevalence was examined annually among respondents from 2005 to 2015. Time trends in depression prevalence stratified by survey year were tested using logistic regression. Data were re-analyzed stratified by age, gender, race/ethnicity, income, and education.


Depression prevalence increased significantly in the USA from 2005 to 2015, before and after controlling for demographics. Increases in depression were significant for the youngest and oldest age groups, men, and women, Non-Hispanic White persons, the lowest income group, and the highest education and income groups. A significant year × demographic interaction was found for age. The rate of increase in depression was significantly more rapid among youth relative to all older age groups.


The prevalence of depression increased significantly in the USA from 2005 to 2015. The rate of increase in depression among youth was significantly more rapid relative to older groups. Further research into understanding the macro level, micro level, and individual factors that are contributing to the increase in depression, including factors specific to demographic subgroups, would help to direct public health prevention and intervention efforts.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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