Research Alert: June 23, 2022

Prevalence of Chronic Conditions by Sexual Orientation and Rural-Urban Location

Despite the similar challenges that rural residents and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals face in accessing health care and achieving positive health outcomes, few studies focus on the intersection of rurality and sexual orientation. This policy brief addresses that gap using nationally representative data to examine rates of chronic conditions by rurality and sexual orientation.

Key Findings
  • Compared with heterosexual adults and urban LGB adults, rural LGB adults have the highest rates of chronic conditions overall and were the most likely to report having three or more chronic conditions (43.8% of rural LGB adults).
  • Rural LGB adults have statistically higher rates of arthritis, depression, and diabetes, compared with urban LGB adults.
  • Rural LGB adults have statistically higher rates of asthma, depression, and anxiety, compared with rural heterosexual adults.
  • More than half (54.0%) of rural LGB adults reported a diagnosis of depression, and 43.8% reported a diagnosis of anxiety — rural LGB adults reported higher levels of depression and anxiety than any other group.
Contact Information:

Carrie Henning-Smith, PhD, MPH, MSW
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 612.626.4512

Additional Resources of Interest: