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4 Places with Astoundingly Low Levels of Depression

4 Places with Astoundingly Low Levels of Depression

By Jessica Stillman

Previously, we reported the results of a new study showing that the world's most depressed countries are also some of the richest. Money, it seems, really doesn't buy happiness.

But what about the other end of the list? Which of the 18 countries surveyed by the researchers had the lowest levels of depression? The answers may surprise you, especially if you consider poverty, violence and ethnic strife obstacles to mental health.

Keep in mind, however, this study didn't aim to measure happiness--it was only examining the prevalence of clinical depression. Plenty of people in these countries may be garden variety unhappy, but very few--as little as nine percent--end up with a full-blown mental health issue. (Which may explain why this study isn't in sync with  Kimberly Weisul's rundown of the world's happiest countries.)

So are the people in these four countries with the lowest depression rates just less willing to admit to depression? Or do they enjoy more family support? Or do they simply have lower expectations for life? The researchers say any one of these factors could be at play.

CLICK HERE for the first country, a huge place with a tiny incidence of depression -->

(Image courtesy of Flickr user Jesscica.Tam, CC 2.0)

4 Places with Astoundingly Low Levels of Depression

#4 India: Happily Modernizing

#4 India: Happily Modernizing

A roiling, patchwork of ethnic groups, traditional beliefs, rural backwaters, insane traffic and upwardly mobile professionals, India may sound like it would be a pretty stressful place to live. Indians themselves, however, don't seem to be letting a frenzied transition to a more modern economy get them down. Only 9 percent of people there experience serious, extended depression (though more than 30 percent have struggled with short-term episodes of depression).

CLICK HERE for a country that is close to home -->

(Image courtesy of Flickr user Sistak, CC 2.0)

4 Places with Astoundingly Low Levels of Depression

#3 Mexico: Nowhere Near American (When it Comes to Depression)

#3 Mexico: Nowhere Near American (When it Comes to Depression)

Sadly, Americans may be more used to Mexico making the news for drug-trafficking related violence or as a player in our own immigration debate, but in this study, Mexico stands out for a very good reason. Our neighbor to the south has one of the world's lowest incidences of depression – just 8 percent of Mexicans experience depression.

CLICK HERE for a country that bucks the trend -->

(Image courtesy of Flickr user anoldent, CC 2.0)

4 Places with Astoundingly Low Levels of Depression

#2 Japan: Due a Bit of Good News

#2 Japan: Due a Bit of Good News

Obviously, an outlier in the high-poverty, low-depression trend, Japan is one of the world's richest countries. Still, the unusually cheerful disposition of the residents of the island Asian nation wasn't enough to skew the entire findings – on average, the least depressed countries were also the worst off economically. And considering the kind of year Japan is having, complete with killer tsunami and nuclear disaster, no one would dare begrudge them any of their national resilience. Only 6.6 of Japanese people suffer from depression--at least when this study was conducted.

CLICK HERE for a powerhouse of optimism -->

(Image courtesy of Flickr user OiMax, CC 2.0)

4 Places with Astoundingly Low Levels of Depression

#1 China: World's Biggest, World's Least Depressed

#1 China: World's Biggest, World's Least Depressed

China is already the world's largest country with well over one billion inhabitants, but with this study, the Asian giant adds another feather to its cap – world's least depressed country. Tales of less than appealing sounding conditions in the Chinese factories that make many of America's consumer goods and rural poverty aside, this rising superpower has the lowest incidence of depression anywhere – just 6.5 percent.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user parkermidds, CC 2.0)