Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common among older adults. The epidemiology of MDD is greatly influenced by sociocultural and economic factors. This study examined the 1-month and lifetime prevalence of MDD and its socio-demographic correlates in older adults living in Hebei province, an agricultural area of China. Methods: Multistage, stratified, random sampling was administered between April and August 2016. The diagnosis of MDD was established with the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV) Axis I Disorders. Results: A total of 3911 participants were enrolled. The 1-month and lifetime prevalence of MDD in older adults was 2.0% (95%CI: 1.6–2.4%) and 3.4% (95%CI: 2.8–4.0%), respectively. Multivariable logistic regression analyses revealed that female gender [P < 0.001, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.6, 95%CI: 1.53–4.53], presence of comorbid major medical conditions (P < 0.001, aOR = 4.8, 95%CI: 2.17–10.39) and family history of psychiatric disorders (P = 0.013, aOR = 3.4, 95%CI: 1.30–8.96) were independently and significantly associated with higher odds of MDD. Conclusion: The prevalence of MDD in older adults in Hebei province, China, was lower than most findings in China and other countries. Nevertheless, continued surveillance of elderly depression in China along with the development of primary, secondary and tertiary preventative interventions for the elderly with MDD is indicated.