Availability of Primary Care Safety Net Providers in Minoritized Racial/Ethnic Group Areas


This brief is one of a series of findings briefs documenting disparities in geographic access to health services for ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) containing a high proportion of minoritized racial/ethnic residents. The brief looks at the distance to the nearest primary care safety net provider for areas that have a high density of residents from minoritized racial and ethnic groups.

Key Findings:

  • Rural ZCTAs were located a greater median distance from a Rural Health Clinic (RHC) or a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) than were urban ZCTAs (7.4 versus 4.4 miles).
  • The majority of rural ZCTAs (84.3%) were within 15 miles of either an RHC or FQHC.
  • Rural ZCTAs were a median of 12.3 miles from the nearest FQHC and 11.0 miles from the nearest RHC.
  • The analysis found longer median distances to an RHC or FQHC than did previous research based on Medicare claims from 2009 (11.0 miles to an RHC versus 7.0 miles; 12.3 miles to an FQHC versus 8.7 miles).
Rural and Minority Health Research Center
Melinda Merrell, Whitney Zahnd, Gabriel Benavidez, Peiyin Hung, Oyeleye Oyesode, Nicholas Yell, Elizabeth Crouch, Jan Eberth, Janice Probst