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Rural and Urban Data

The following section compares rural to urban residence for several infant health indicators. Urban includes all metropolitan counties regardless of size, large rural includes non-metropolitan counties with a city of 10,000 or more residents while small rural includes non-metropolitan counties without a city of 10,000 or more residents. In 2009, 15.2 percent of births were to mothers who resided in rural or non-metropolitan counties. Rural counties tend to be disadvantaged in a variety of areas, including poorer health care access, greater poverty, and higher rates of injury and smoking, which may affect maternal and infant health.1,2 These comparisons of low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality indicate that the health status of infants living in rural counties, and especially small rural counties, is generally poorer than that of infants in urban or metropolitan counties. For example, in 2008, the rate of postneonatal mortality (deaths from 1 month to under 1 year) was 27 percent higher in small rural counties than urban counties (2.84 versus 2.23 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively).

1 National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2001 with Urban and Rural Health Chartbook. Hyattsville, MD: 2001

2 National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2011 with Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health. Hyattsville, MD: 2012.