Rural and Urban Women

In 2005, more than 48 million people, or 16.6 percent of the population, lived in areas considered to be non-metropolitan. The number of areas defined as metropolitan changes frequently as the population grows and people move. Residents of non-metropolitan areas tend to be older, complete fewer years of education, have public insurance or no health insurance, and live farther from health care resources than their metropolitan counterparts.

In 2005, 22.5 percent of women in nonmetropolitan areas were aged 65 years and older, while only 17.2 percent of women in metropolitan areas were in the same age group. Fewer than 26 percent of women in non-metropolitan areas were aged 18–34 years, compared to 30.6 percent in metropolitan areas. Women aged 35–54 years and 55–64 years accounted for approximately the same percentage of the female population in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan areas.

In 2004–2006, the percentage of women experiencing activity limitations due to a chronic condition was higher in non-metropolitan areas (17.0 percent) than in metropolitan areas (13.4 percent), regardless of age. For instance, 30.2 percent of women aged 65–74 years living in non-metropolitan areas had an activity limitation due to a chronic condition, compared to 25.0 percent of women of the same age group in metropolitan areas. As age increases, however, the discrepancy narrows; among women aged 85 years and older, 63.3 percent in non-metropolitan areas experienced an activity limitation, as did 61.9 percent in metropolitan areas.

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