Stories

Rural Americans can't catch a break

Data: CDC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Preventable diseases are deadlier in rural America than in urban areas, a new CDC report says.

The big picture: More than 46 million Americans live in rural areas, and the system often works against them in nearly every dimension of care.

By the numbers: Percentages of preventable deaths in rural areas either mildly decreased between 2010-2017 or got worse, while urban counties saw significant decreases across the board.

  • Rural Americans tend to be older and sicker, with higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.
  • Preventable deaths from cancer have gone down overall. Still, nearly two-thirds of deaths from unintentional injury in the most rural counties were potentially preventable in 2017.

Rural areas face access challenges, too, including a spate hospital closures and low retention of doctors.

Go deeper: The dire state of rural mental health care