Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain: January to March 2021

Office for National Statistics (05.05.21)

An analysis of the proportion of the British adult population experiencing some form of depression in early 2021, by age, sex and other characteristics. Includes comparisons with 2020 and pre-pandemic estimates.

Main points

Around 1 in 5 (21%) adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March); this is an increase since November 2020 (19%) and more than double that observed before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (10%).

Around 1 in 3 (35%) adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021, compared with 1 in 5 (21%) adults before the pandemic; for adults who were able to afford this expense, rates increased from 5% to 13%.

Over the period 27 January to 7 March 2021:

  • Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression, with over 4 in 10 (43%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with 26% of men of the same age.
  • Disabled (39%) and clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults (31%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (13%) and non-CEV adults (20%).
  • A higher proportion of adults renting their home experienced some form of depression (31%) when compared with adults who own their home outright (13%).
  • Almost 3 in 10 (28%) adults living in the most deprived areas of England experienced depressive symptoms; this compares with just under 2 in 10 (17%) adults in the least deprived areas of England.