STATUS > SPECIAL POPULATIONS
RURAL AND URBAN HEALTH
In 2000, 59 million people, or approximately 21 percent
of the population, lived in a rural area.1 Residents of rural areas
tend to be older, poorer, less educated, have fewer health care
providers and live farther from health care resources than their
metropolitan counterparts. These issues increase special health
concerns and barriers that can lead to poorer health, especially
In 2002, women in non-metropolitan areas were more likely to be
older than men in the same regions and than women in metropolitan
areas. Among women living in non-metro areas, 17.3 percent were
aged 65-90, compared to 13.8 percent of men in non-metro areas and
13.4 percent of metropolitan women.
Rural women were also more likely to report poorer health status
than urban women. Of women in non-metro regions, 14.5 percent reported
their health status to be fair or poor, a percentage that was not
significantly different from men in the same areas, but was significantly
higher than that of women in metropolitan areas (11.1 percent).
Conversely, only 25.4 percent of non-metropolitan women described
their health status as excellent, compared to 29.6 percent of non-metropolitan
men and 29.9 percent of metropolitan women.
Women in non-metropolitan areas spend more on health care than their
urban counterparts. The average annual health care expenditure for
females in non-metropolitan areas was $3,358, compared to $2,949
for non-metropolitan males and $3,063 for metropolitan women.
HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) maintains a wide
range of programs to address the health of rural women. It supports
the Rural Assistance Center, www.raconline.org, which has information
on rural women’s health and domestic abuse in rural areas.
ORHP currently supports six community rural health outreach grantees
throughout the U.S. that are addressing women’s health and
domestic violence issues. ORHP is also funding a study of poverty,
parental stress, and violent disagreements in the home among rural
families. Other research addresses the quality of women’s
care in rural health clinics.
1 U.S. Census Bureau 2000. 2000 Summary File 1. Table