We investigated the association of non-insulin-dependent (Type 2) diabetes mellitus and depression symptoms in a representative community-dwelling elderly population independently of other conditions such as gender, age, status, disability, cognitive impairment and a number of chronic medical conditions such as chronic obstructive lung disease, degenerative joint disease, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, cholelithiasis, peptic ulcer and kidney stones. A total of 1339 elderly subjects living in southern Italy were randomly selected from electoral rolls and evaluated. All subjects were tested by the Geriatric Depression Scale to detect depression, the Mini-Mental State Examination to study cognitive function and the Activity Daily Living Index to evaluate disability. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus affected 14.7% of our sample. Depression was more prevalent in women over 75 years of age than in younger women (15.9 vs 8.1%, p < 0.001). In multiple linear regression analysis, diabetes mellitus was found to be significantly associated with depression independently of age, gender, loneliness, cognitive impairment, chronic obstructive lung disease, degenerative joint disease, heart diseases, cancer, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver and cholelithiasis. It is concluded that non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is significantly associated with depression in the elderly, which may have clinical implications for the achievement of sufficient blood glucose control.