Diabetes Mortality in Rural America: 1999-2015


One of the most important tasks for rural scholars and policymakers is to better understand the causes and consequences of diabetes, as diabetes prevalence is generally higher in rural areas than urban areas. This study explores diabetes-related mortality, comparing urban-versus-rural mortality over a sixteen-year period, and investigating the influence of race and rurality. The study uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder Database. Results demonstrated that as rurality increases in America, so too does diabetes-related mortality. Mortality attributable to diabetes is dramatically higher for Black Americans than Whites in both rural and urban areas, although rural-urban disparities follow similar trends for both groups. Hispanics, despite having lower diabetes-related mortality than Whites, also demonstrated higher rural rates of mortality than urban. Resources should be devoted to better understanding the causes and consequences of these findings, and to developing effective interventions aimed at eliminating disparities in diabetes mortality based on rurality and race.

Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Timothy Callaghan, Samuel Towne Jr, Jane Bolin, Alva Ferdinand