Aims: Amid no current estimates or correlates of geriatric depression in Bahrain and support WHO campaign 2017 ‘Depression–let’s talk’, we aimed to assess the magnitude of geriatric depression and explore its association with socio-demographic and health characteristics among the Bahrainis. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out among the geriatric Bahrainis attending the 12 community congregations of the ministry of labor and social development in Bahrain, as well as in the community, by a convenient sampling method using a validated, shorter, Arabic version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15 items) which is a self-report instrument to screen for clinical depression. Univariate analysis followed by a multivariate ordinal logistic regression was employed to test the associations between socio-demographic and health characteristics for geriatric depression. Results: Of the 517 participants, 85% had the history of illness and polypharmacy. The prevalence of depression was 50.6% with a mean score of 5.23; mild, moderate, and severe depression was 30.8%, 12.4%, and 7.3%, respectively. Among the significant socio-demographic and health characteristics, the ordinal regression showed that lower depressive scores were observed for those currently married, educated, and who had not been hospitalized in the last year, with higher scores for financially dependent/income < BD 200(≈£377). Conclusion: The high prevalence of geriatric depression using the screening tool of GDS-15 demands further diagnostic assessment by mental health professionals. Lower levels of education linked to low income or financial dependency, widowed or separated, and recent hospitalization were the factors associated with depression. We recommend targeted interventions of proactive screening and treatment options, cognitive behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy. © Royal Society for Public Health 2018.