Rural and Urban Hospital Characteristics by Obstetric Service Provision Status, 2010-2018


Rural communities in the United States have higher rates of both infant and maternal mortality, as well as serious pregnancy complications. This may be exacerbated by limited health care access. For both women and infants, risk of death is elevated among Black and Indigenous people. Addressing these health disparities, and improving maternal and child health for all rural residents, requires a thorough understanding of the obstetric care landscape.

The purpose of this policy brief is to illustrate the differences between urban and rural hospitals that provide obstetric services by their size, capacity, location, and community characteristics, as well as to compare these factors between rural hospitals with obstetric services and those that recently closed their obstetric units.

University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Julia Interrante, Lindsay Admon, Mariana Tuttle, Bridget Ibrahim, Katy Kozhimannil