NJ and Hawaii — least depressed states in the U.S., report says
As a resident of New Jersey, would you ever compare your mental health status with those who live in Hawaii or California?
According to an analysis released by QuoteWizard, a LendingTree company, New Jersey has the second lowest depression rate in the country, behind only Hawaii. California is No. 3.
Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the years 2014 to 2018, the insurance company website determined the five-year-average prevalence of depression in each state.
It was determined that 12.98% of New Jersey adults are depressed, compared to 11.76% of Hawaii residents and 14.48% of California residents. New York, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, South Dakota and Illinois rounded out the top 10.
Over the five-year period, the report found, New Jersey also posted one of the more impressive declines in depression — a drop of nearly 12% from 2014 to 2018. In five of the top 10 states, the rate increased over the five years, by as much as 17.76% in Hawaii.
The report also ranked each state's "access to mental healthcare," based on findings by Mental Health America, which looked at several factors such as the number of mental health professionals per capita and the share of uninsured individuals.
Despite a significant decline in the depression rate, and an impressive showing on the national rankings, New Jersey did not fare well in terms of mental health access. The state ranked 32nd out of 50. Adam Johnson, research analyst at QuoteWizard, said this made New Jersey's findings stand out.
"States that saw the biggest decrease in depression rates ... typically had really high-rated access to mental heath care," Johnson said.
The depression rate was found to be highest in Oregon, followed by West Virginia and Maine. Alaska, Louisiana and Tennessee saw the largest depression-rate increases from 2014 to 2018.