Population projection of US adults with lifetime experience of depressive disorder by age and sex from year 2005 to 2050

Moonseong Heo, Christopher F. Murphy, Kevin R. Fontaine, Martha L. Bruce, George S. Alexopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Objective: To estimate the projected population of US adults aged 18 years or older with lifetime experience of doctor-diagnosed depressive disorder from 2005-2050. Methods: Based on nationally representative survey data from the year 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), prevalence estimates of doctor-diagnosed depression (minor or major, and dysthymia) were weighted to incorporate the complex sampling design and increase generalizability of the findings. The weighted prevalence data by age and sex in 2006 were then used to estimate the projected adult population with lifetime experience of depressive disorder based on the sex-specific US Census national population projections from year 2005-2050. Results: In year 2006 the (weighted) prevalence of lifetime experience of depressive disorder was 15.7% among 188,292 respondents aged 18 years or older. Female prevalence was 20.6%, which was about twice as high as the prevalence among males (11%). From year 2005-2050, the total number of US adults with depressive disorder will increase from 33.9 million to 45.8 million, a 35% increase. The increase is projected to be greater in the elderly population aged ≥65 years (3.8-8.2, a 117% increase) than in the young population aged <65 years (30.1-37.7, a 25% increase). Conclusions: By year 2050, approximately 46 million US adults aged 18 years or older will be diagnosed with a depressive disorder. The increase will be more pronounced in adults aged 65 or older. Prevention, detection, and treatment of depressive disorders might attenuate the magnitude of this estimate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1270
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2008



  • BRFSS 2006
  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Population projection
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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