Rural Demography and Aging: The LTSS Imperative in Rural America

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2015
Project completed:
March 2018

In the coming decades, the older adult population of the United States is projected to expand significantly. This demographic shift will pose challenges for the nation’s healthcare and LTSS systems. Rural areas are likely to experience a disproportionate share of this growth, due to existing rural infrastructure deficits and the relatively high needs of rural elders. In order to help rural communities meet the increased demand for health/LTSS services, rural stakeholders and policymakers will benefit from having a current, broad-ranging, detailed profile of healthcare/LTSS needs and use patterns among rural and urban older adults. The proposed project aims to create such a profile through a literature review and analysis of data sets including the American Community Survey, the Area Health Resource File, and the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.


  • Residential Settings and Healthcare Use of the Rural "Oldest-Old" Medicare Population
    Policy Brief
    Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 03/2018
    This study used Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data to profile rural/urban Medicare beneficiaries ages 85 & older. Rural adults in this age group are more likely to be disabled and live alone in the community or in nursing homes and less likely to live in assisted living facilities. Findings highlight rural needs for community-based services.