A Negative Trend For Rural Health

March 2020

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall percentage of preventable deaths among rural residents has become worse compared to people living elsewhere in the United States.

Preventable deaths from the five leading causes of death occurred more often among people in the most rural counties than in the most urban counties from 2010 to 2017. The gap between these groups increased over the eight-year study period for deaths from cancer, heart disease and chronic lower respiratory disease.

The CDC also found that more than half of deaths due to unintentional injury were potentially preventable. Percentages of preventable deaths were generally higher in the southeastern United States than in other regions.

“We are encouraged to find that preventable deaths from cancer have gone down overall, yet there is a persistent and striking gap between rural and urban Americans for this and other leading causes of death,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield.

“There are proven strategies for reducing health risks like cigarette smoking and obesity and we need to redouble our prevention efforts to reach those living in rural areas, where risks tend to be higher.”

(Photo courtesy of CDC)