White matter hyperintense lesions on T2-weighted images are associated with late-life depression. Little work has been carried out examining differences in lesion location between elderly individuals with and without depression. In contrast to previous studies examining total brain white matter lesion volume, this study examined lobar differences in white matter lesion volumes derived from brain magnetic resonance imaging. This study examined 49 subjects with a DSM-IV diagnosis of major depression and 50 comparison subjects without depression. All participants were age 60 years or older. White matter lesion volumes were measured in each hemisphere using a semiautomated segmentation process and localized to lobar regions using a lobar atlas created for this sample using the imaging tools provided by the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN). The lobar lesion volumes were compared against depression status. After controlling for age and hypertension, subjects with depression exhibited significantly greater total white matter lesion volume in both hemispheres and in both frontal lobes than did control subjects. Although a similar trend was observed in the parietal lobes, the difference did not reach a level of statistical significance. Models of the temporal and occipital lobes were not statistically significant. Older individuals with depression have greater white matter disease than healthy controls, predominantly in the frontal lobes. These changes are thought to disrupt neural circuits involved in mood regulation, thus increasing the risk of developing depression.