U.S.: Population Diagnosed with Depression, by education level
Education levelAdult population,
in %
Associate degree29
Some postsecondary education29
Bachelors degree26
Graduate degree25
No postsecondary education23
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 2020 to 2022
  • Published: Aug 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 30, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Depression diagnosis rates and educational attainment

Individuals with an Associate degree or some postsecondary education exhibit the highest reported depression diagnosis rates at 29% each. This insight suggests a significant correlation between educational attainment at these levels and mental health outcomes, potentially due to the unique stressors and challenges faced by individuals in these educational categories.

Higher education and lower depression rates

The data reveals a trend where higher educational attainment correlates with slightly lower rates of depression diagnosis. Specifically, adults with a Bachelor's degree and those with Graduate degrees have depression rates of 26% and 25%, respectively. This pattern might indicate that the benefits of higher education, such as increased employment opportunities and potentially higher income, could play a role in mitigating some risk factors associated with depression.

Impact of lacking postsecondary education on depression

Adults without postsecondary education report the lowest depression diagnosis rate at 23%. This figure suggests that while higher education correlates with a host of positive life outcomes, the absence of postsecondary education does not necessarily correlate with higher rates of depression, challenging assumptions about the straightforward relationship between educational attainment and mental health.

Education level as a determinant in mental health outcomes

The spread of depression diagnosis rates across different levels of educational attainment, ranging from 23% to 29%, highlights the complex interplay between education and mental health. These statistics suggest that factors beyond mere educational attainment, such as socioeconomic status, job market integration, and personal fulfillment, may significantly influence mental health outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the highest reported depression diagnosis rates in relation to education levels?

The highest reported depression diagnosis rates, at 29%, correspond to those with an Associate degree or some postsecondary education.

What range of depression diagnosis rates is observed across different education levels?

The spread of depression diagnosis rates across different levels of educational attainment ranges from 23% to 29%.

Terms and Definitions

Depression, typically referred to as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a common and severe medical illness that negatively affects a person's feelings, thoughts, and actions. It causes feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, and can lead to various emotional and physical problems, decreasing a person's ability to function at work and home.

A diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of anything. In the context of depression, a diagnosis is made based on a specific set of symptom criteria that a patient must meet, according to psychological evaluation and psychiatric standards such as those found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The depression diagnosis rate refers to the proportion of a population that has been officially diagnosed with depression. This rate is often expressed as a percentage and is important for understanding the prevalence of depression in a particular group or demographic.

Education level refers to the highest degree or level of school a person has completed. It is often divided into categories like less than high school, high school graduate, some college, college graduate, and postgraduate.

In the field of health and medicine, prevalence refers to the total number of cases of a disease, or the number of individuals who have a specific health condition in a population at a particular point in time.

Health disparity refers to a higher burden of illness, injury, disability, or mortality experienced by one group relative to another. This often relates to differences in race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, location, gender, disability status, or sexual orientation.
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