Residents of rural counties face greater health challenges than their urban counterparts, according to new findings out today.
The County Health Rankings, an annual report produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, found that rural counties not only have higher rates of premature death, but over the past decade those rates have risen while urban counties have seen improvement.
Nearly 1 in 5 rural counties saw increases in premature death rates. Those trends were driven in part by greater health risks including higher rates of smoking, obesity, child poverty and teen births. Rural counties also have higher numbers of adults who are uninsured.
In contrast, urban counties have lower rates of smoking and obesity, fewer deaths by injury and more residents who attended college.
“The County Health Rankings show how important it is to examine all the conditions that impact well-being and can help families thrive,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the foundation.
The report looks at more than 30 factors that affect health such as education, employment, housing, and tobacco use and compares counties in each state. New this year are measures on residential segregation, drug overdose death rates and sleep.
The rankings reflect significant differences in health outcomes between counties in each state. Visit County Health Rankings to find out where your county ranks.