Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 50, Issue 11, pp 1641–1656 | Cite as

Neighborhood socioeconomic conditions and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Robin RichardsonEmail author
  • Tracy Westley
  • Geneviève Gariépy
  • Nichole Austin
  • Arijit Nandi



The evidence linking neighborhood socioeconomic conditions (NSEC) with depression is mixed. We performed a systematic review of this literature, including a rigorous quality assessment that was used to explore if methodological or contextual factors explained heterogeneity across studies.


A systematic literature search in three databases identified longitudinal studies among adolescents and adults living in high-income countries. Two independent reviewers screened studies for inclusion and performed data abstraction. We conducted a formal quality assessment and investigated sources of study heterogeneity.


Our database search identified 3711 articles, 84 of which were determined to be potentially relevant, and 14 articles were included in this review. About half of the studies found a significant association between NSEC and depression, and pooled estimates suggest poorer socioeconomic conditions were associated with higher odds of depression (OR = 1.14, 95 % CI 1.01, 1.28). Study results varied by follow-up time. Among studies with less than 5 years of follow-up, there was a significant association between NSEC and depression (OR = 1.28, 95 % CI 1.13, 1.44), although pooling of study results may not be warranted due to heterogeneity across studies. Among studies with at least 5 years of follow-up, which were homogeneous, there was no association (OR = 1.00, 95 % CI 0.95, 1.06) between NSEC and depression.


We found inconsistent evidence in support of a longitudinal association between NSEC and depression, and heterogeneity according to the length of follow-up time might partly explain the mixed evidence observed in the literature on NSEC and depression.


Depression Depressive symptoms Neighborhood environment Socioeconomic deprivation Systematic review 



We wish to thank Genevieve Gore, reference librarian, for her help with the search strategy. RR acknowledges the support of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research operating grant 115214, and AN acknowledges the support of the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Compliance with the ethical standard

Ethical standards

The manuscript does not contain patient data.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all the authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

127_2015_1092_MOESM1_ESM.docx (82 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 82 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Richardson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tracy Westley
    • 1
  • Geneviève Gariépy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nichole Austin
    • 1
  • Arijit Nandi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational HealthMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Health and Social PolicyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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