The Health and Well-Being of Children in Rural Areas: A Portrait of the Nation 2005
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Dear Colleagues:

The Health Resources and Services Administration is pleased to present this chartbook highlighting
the major findings of the National Survey of Children’s Health on the health of children in rural
areas. This survey, the first of its kind, presents national- and state-level information on the health
and well-being of children and their use of health services.

The survey includes many positive findings about the health of both rural and urban children.
The National Survey of Children’s Health found that children in urban and rural areas are equally
likely to be healthy, with about 84 percent of children reported to be in excellent or very good
health regardless of location. And rural children are more likely to get regular exercise and to be
safe in their neighborhoods, according to their parents, than their urban peers.

However, children in rural areas face some specific health risks. Rural children are less likely
to be breastfed for at least six months and are more likely to live in households where someone
smokes than children in urban areas. In addition, specific subpopulations face particular risks;
rural children in low-income families, for example, are more likely to have moderate or severe
socio-emotional difficulties than children of the same income level in urban areas.

We at HRSA hope that these findings provide useful information on children’s health and are
helpful in your efforts to promote children’s health across the United States.


Elizabeth M. Duke
Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration

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This chartbook is based on data from the National Survey of Children's Health. Suggested citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The National Survey of Children's Health 2003. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005.