Most studies of depression and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have been drawn from clinical populations or from samples selected from the membership of Crohn's and ulcerative colitis community organizations. This study determined the prevalence and correlates of depression in people with IBD or a similar bowel disorder from 2 nationally representative Canadian surveys. In the Canadian Community Health Survey, conducted in 2000 through 2001, there were 3076 respondents who reported that they had "a bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or colitis" that had lasted >or=6 months and had been diagnosed by a health professional. The National Population Health Survey, conducted from 1996 through 1997, had 1438 respondents who reported that they had such a condition. Within each subsample, bivariate analyses were conducted to compare the depressed and nondepressed individuals. Logistic regression analyses also were conducted using the Canadian Community Health Survey 1.1 data set. The 12-month period prevalence of depression among individuals with IBD and similar bowel disorders was comparable in the 2 data sets (16.3% and 14.7%). Depression rates were higher among female respondents, those without partners, younger respondents, those who reported greater pain, and those who had functional limitations. Seventeen percent of depressed respondents had considered suicide in the past 12 months; an additional 30% had considered suicide at an earlier time. Only 40% of depressed individuals were using antidepressants. Individuals with IBD and similar bowel disorders experience rates of depression that are triple those of the general population. It is important for clinicians to assess depression and suicidal ideation among their patients with active IBD symptoms, particularly among those reporting moderate to severe pain.