Living in a big city like Chicago can reduce depression, study finds

A new study finds that living in a big city like Chicago can lower your levels of depression.

University of Chicago researchers say that is because a bigger city increases your opportunities for relationships.

"A lot of us had the same kind of intuition that so many others have that cities are just so busy and stressful and that's going to lead to worse mental health," said Marc Berman, Associate Professor. "But actually, when we looked at the data, we found just the opposite that actually as cities get larger, you get less depression, and we think that's because in cities, you have richer social networks. You're connected to more people and that can actually buffer people against depression."


So why aren't smaller towns and suburban areas better for mental health?

"We think that it's harder as you kind of move into smaller areas with less people, it's harder to make more social connection and those social connections and that those social connections can actually buffer against depression," Berman said. "And in a big city like Chicago, you're going to be interacting with more people on a daily basis. They're going to be forming more relationships and that can actually have mental health benefits. "