Dec 4, 2019

The urban-rural health divide is costing lives

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The health disparities between urban and rural areas aren't getting any better, new studies published in Health Affairs confirm.

The big picture: Rural areas fell short of every benchmark for improvement in seven major causes of death, according to one study — and others suggest that the situation may never get better for the 62 million Americans who live in rural parts of the country.

What they're saying: "Communities with large populations that can yield revenue have flourishing health care institutions, while those with fewer residents have lost ground," authors Janice Probst, Jan Marie Eberth and Elizabeth Crouch wrote.

By the numbers: In 2017, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, death and suicide rates were 45% higher in rural than in urban areas.

  • Deaths related to COPD, diabetes and suicide had all gotten worse in rural areas.
  • Overall, mortality rates for coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer were improving, but not as the Department of Health and Human Services wanted.

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The urban-rural health care divide is growing

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

All the bad parts of the health care system — poor health, high costs, inadequate access — are worse in rural areas.

The big picture: "This rural disadvantage is unprecedented," said James Kirby, a federal health researcher.

Go deeperArrowDec 7, 2019

Gap in urban-rural pediatric mortality rates widens

Photo: Edwin Remsberg / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Pediatric mortality is declining more slowly in rural areas than urban areas, a Health Affairs report released Thursday notes. Racial and ethnic gaps also persist.

The big picture: Deaths from unintentional injury and suicide among rural youth compound the slew of health struggles that more than 46 million Americans living in remote areas face.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Rural America's banking problem

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Add one more thing to the list of rural America's ails: diminished access to banks.

Driving the news: The shuttering of branches across the U.S. had a disproportionate negative effect in certain areas, according to new research from the Federal Reserve.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019