The United States covers 3,537,438 square miles, with a 2011 estimated population of 311,591,917 people – 51,112,517 living in rural areas (USDA-ERS). According to 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 72.4% of the nation’s population is white, 12.6% is African-American, 4.8% is Asian, 0.9% is American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2% is Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 16.3% is of Hispanic or Latino origin.
There are 4,822 hospitals in the nation, 2,038 of which are classified as non-metro hospitals (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, 2009). 1,331 hospitals are identified by the Flex Monitoring Team as Critical Access Hospitals (Dec, 2012). There are 3,950 Rural Health Clinics (Kaiser, 2012), and 1,124 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 8,139 sites (Kaiser, 2010). Most Americans have some form of health insurance coverage, however 16.0% of the nation's residents are uninsured (Kaiser, 2010).
According to the Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for all Americans in 2009 was $39,635, although rural per-capita income lagged at $31,415. 2010 estimates indicate a poverty rate of 17.8% existing in the rural U.S., compared to a 14.8% in urban areas. 2010 ERS data reports that 17.6% of the rural population has not completed high school, compared to 14.7% of urban populations. The rural unemployment rate is at 9.2% while in urban areas it is at 9.7% (USDA-ERS, 2010).
U.S. Census Bureau: State & County QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets; North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List