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Rural and Urban Women

Narrative

In 2009, an estimated 27.2 million women aged 18 and older lived in rural areas, representing 22.8 percent of all women. Residents of rural areas tend to have completed fewer years of education and live farther from health care resources than their urban counterparts. Rural areas also have fewer physicians and dentists per capita than urban areas, and may lack certain specialists altogether.1 Geographic isolation and limited access to health care can result in delayed diagnosis and treatment of health conditions.

Rural/urban residence varies by race and ethnicity. In 2009, American Indian/Alaska Native women were more likely than other women to live in rural areas (38.4 percent), followed by non-Hispanic White women (28.2 percent). Asian, Hispanic, and Black women were least likely to live in rural areas (8.1, 9.3, and 11.5 percent, respectively). Although the rural population tends to be less diverse, an increasing number of Asian and Hispanic immigrants have settled in rural areas for labor opportunities. In 2000, only 3.0 percent of Asian women and 6.0 percent of Hispanic women resided in rural areas.2

Educational attainment among women aged 25 years and older varies by rural/urban residence. Rural women were slightly more likely than urban women to have a high school degree or higher (87.3 versus 85.5 percent, respectively). However, urban women were more likely than rural women to have a college degree or higher (28.9 versus 22.5 percent, respectively). Despite being less likely to complete post-secondary education, women in rural areas were less likely to be living in poverty than their urban counterparts (11.8 versus 14.8 percent, respectively).

1 U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus. Rural Health Concerns. Accessed 03/11/11.
2 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder. Census 2000 Summary File 1. Accessed 03/11/11.

Graphs

Data

Women Aged 18 and Older, by Race/Ethnicity and Rural/Urban Residence,* 2009
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Women
Rural Urban
*U.S. Census Bureau defines urban as all territory, population, and housing units located within an urbanized area or urban cluster which encompass core census blocks/block groups with at least 1,000 people per square mile, and surrounding census blocks with at least 500 people per square mile; all other areas are categorized as rural.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder. 2009 American Community Survey. Accessed 02/26/11.
Total 22.8 77.2
Non-Hispanic White 28.2 71.8
Black (May include Hispanics) 11.5 88.5
Hispanic 9.3 90.7
American Indian/Alaska Native (May include Hispanics) 38.4 61.6
Asian (May include Hispanics) 8.1 91.9
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (May include Hispanics) 13.2 86.8
Multiple Race (May include Hispanics) 17.7 82.3
Educational Attainment Among Women Aged 25 and Older, by Rural/Urban Residence,* 2009
Educational Attainment Percent of Women
Rural Urban
*U.S. Census Bureau defines urban as all territory, population, and housing units located within an urbanized area or urban cluster which encompass core census blocks/block groups with at least1,000 people per square mile, and surrounding census blocks with at least 500 people per square mile; all other areas are categorized as rural. Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder. 2009 American Community Survey. Accessed 02/26/11.
Less than high school 12.7 14.5
High school 33.1 26.9
Some college 31.7 29.6
College degree or higher 22.5 28.9

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