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Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Oct;30(10):1872-9. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0668.

Higher risk of death in rural blacks and whites than urbanites is related to lower incomes, education, and health coverage.

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  • 1Department of Health Services Policy and Management in the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, USA.


Health outcomes among rural minority populations are seldom examined. Our research studied mortality among urban and rural white, black, and Hispanic adults ages 45-64, comparing outcomes for each group. We found the mortality risk to be higher among both rural white and rural minority populations compared to urban whites; rural blacks were at higher risk of death than urban blacks. When personal characteristics and circumstances of these populations-such as level of education, presence of health insurance, and income above or below the poverty line-were held statistically equal, disparities were reduced or eliminated. Our study suggests that policies directed toward reducing differences related to education, poverty, and health insurance would go a long way toward eliminating the disparities in health status between urban and rural populations.

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