Health Status > Special Populations

Rural and Urban Women

In 2003, almost 54 million people, or 19 percent of the population, lived in an area considered to be non-metropolitan. The number of areas defined as metropolitan changes every year as the population moves and grows. Residents of rural areas tend to be older, poorer, and live farther from health care resources than their metropolitan counterparts.

Women from non-metropolitan areas also tend to complete fewer years of education than women from metropolitan areas. In 2003, 22.6 percent of women aged 25 or older in rural areas had less than a 12th grade education, compared to 16.7 percent of women from metropolitan areas. Women from metropolitan areas were more likely to have 3 to 4 years of college education (21.0 versus 15.4 percent), and 5 or more years of college (11.4 versus 5.9 percent).

In addition to having access to fewer healthcare resources, women in rural areas are also less likely to have private health insurance coverage than their metropolitan counterparts. In 2003, 70.1 percent of women (aged 18 to 64) in non-metropolitan areas had any private insurance coverage for a full year compared to 76.1 percent of women in metropolitan areas. Women in non-metropolitan areas were more likely to have public insurance or be uninsured.

Back to top  

Women's Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.