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Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Rates of Depression?

By HERWriter
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Which Countries Have Highest and Lowest Rates of Depression? Syda Productions/Fotolia

Determining which countries have the highest and lowest rates of depression can be a bit tricky. Results will be affected by the methods used to gather the information, as well as by factors such as sex and age, along with several socioeconomic and cultural influences.

For example, it was found, based on a BMC 2011 study, that those who were wealthier had a higher rate of depression than those who come from less affluent countries.

This study put the United States at 19.2 percent and France at 21 percent — at the top of the list of more depressed people. Mexico, at 8 percent, and China, at 6.5 percent, have less depressed people.

Percentage of people who will experience depression — by country

From high-income countries

• Japan: 6.6 percent

• Germany: 9.9 percent

• Italy: 9.9 percent

• Israel: 10.2 percent

• Spain: 10.6 percent

• Belgium: 14.1 percent

• New Zealand: 17.8 percent

• Netherlands: 17.9 percent

• United States: 19.2 percent

• France: 21 percent

From low- and middle-income countries:

• China: 6.5 percent

• Mexico: 8 percent

• India: 9 percent

• South Africa: 9.8 percent

• Lebanon: 10.9 percent

• Colombia: 13.3 percent

• Ukraine: 14.6 percent

• Brazil: 18.4 percent

- from Livescience.com

The study was the “first cross-national survey of its kind, nearly 90,000 people in 18 countries were screened for major depressive episodes using a standardized set of questions,” according to the Huffington Post.

The researchers also found that regardless of country, women were almost twice as likely as men to experience depression.

Marital status influenced depression status. Those who were separated or single had more depression than those who were divorced or widowed.

The survey also discovered that those who were from poor countries had their first depressive event around the age of 24, while for those who were from wealthier countries, the average age was 25.7, according to LiveScience.com.

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EmpowHER Guest

As long as cases of treated depression are the measured/determining value, there will never be a "truthful" representation of depression. For someone who has lived both in the US (where they LOVE to diagnose and medicate... great for business), and Japan (where most people don't even identify things like, say alcoholism or depression as actual disorders), I find the assertion that Japan being the least depressed country laughably inaccurate. If they knew the first thing about Japanese culture, they would realize that depression and suicide are seen as failures and that the Japanese like to avoid making failure public. To the "outside." This is a good and valuable topic to study, but more effective methods are sorely needed.

July 22, 2016 - 5:48am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your input.  You bring up some very points how cultural affects our expression and interpretation of depression.

July 22, 2016 - 8:51am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.