Rural Poverty and Health: A Chartbook

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2021
Anticipated completion date:
August 2022

Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we will examine relationships between poverty and health for community-dwelling rural and urban residents of all ages. Analysis of county-level health-related measures using the County Health Rankings will supplement the national survey data. We will produce a chartbook that addresses the following research questions:

  • Among rural residents, do individuals who are poor, or near-poor differ from their non-poor counterparts with respect to health status, health care access and use, risk/protective factors, and physical environment?
  • Among individuals who are poor or near-poor, are there rural-urban differences on the health-related measures of interest mentioned above?
  • Are rural-urban differences on health-related measures greater among individuals who are poor or near-poor than among those who are non-poor?
  • What additional factors (e.g., region of residence, age, race/ethnicity, gender, and educational attainment) are associated with rural poverty and health? Do relationships between these factors and poverty differ across rural and urban contexts?
  • What are the health-related characteristics of rural counties with high rates of poverty and persistent poverty? How do these counties compare to non-poor rural counties and poor urban counties on health-related metrics?