Changes in the Supply and Rural-Urban Distribution of Counselors in the U.S., 2014-2021


In 2020, an estimated 12.7 million rural adults suffered from a behavioral health issue – mental illness, substance use disorder, or other psychiatric conditions. Accessing behavioral health care is particularly challenging for rural communities due to disparities in the distribution of behavioral health care providers. This study describes trends in the supply and distribution of counselors in rural and urban areas in the U.S., nationally and within Census Divisions. Ongoing tracking of these trends in behavioral health workforce supply will aid the development of solutions to address disparities in access to behavioral health care in rural communities.

WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Holly Andrilla, Sara Woolcock, Lisa Garberson, Davis Patterson