Rural Counties Lag Behind Urban Counties on Health, Socioeconomic Issues
The 2019 Rural Profile of Arkansas examines the issues that matter to Arkansas communities. Published in January, the profile shows that counties in rural Arkansas tend to perform worse in issues of health and social and economic stress.
Although rural counties are more impoverished than urban counties, poverty remains a central problem impacting counties throughout Arkansas.
Statewide and in both rural and urban counties, the rate of total population living below the poverty line in 2016 was significantly higher than the national average. These differences persist across age groups, with only one —Adults 65 and over in urban counties — having a lower rate of poverty than the nation.
The state's Rural Region also has a larger share of population experiencing food insecurity and participating in SNAP than the Urban Region. Counties in the Delta and Coastal Plains tended to fare worse than counties in the Highlands.
The socioeconomic problems which disproportionately impact rural counties are also reflected in the health of rural counties.
Coastal Plains and Delta counties tend to have lower Health Factors scores, which includes indicators like smoking, health care access and poverty. Health Outcomes scores, which are highly correlated with Health Factors, are also lower in the southern and eastern counties of Arkansas.
You can learn more about the issues facing your region and your county by downloading the Rural Profile of Arkansas 2019 from www.uaex.edu/ruralprofile.
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