Wisconsin, known as "America's Dairyland," is a leader in the production of milk, cheese and other dairy products. The state also has a strong manufacturing sector. Wisconsin is in the Great Lakes region, bordered on the north by Lake Superior and on the east by Lake Michigan. Wisconsin covers 54,310 square miles, with a 2013 estimated population of 5,742,713 people – 1,505,962 living in rural Wisconsin (USDA-ERS). Madison, the capital, is located in the southern region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 88.1% of the state’s population is white, 6.5% is African American/Black, 2.5% is Asian, 1.1% is American Indian & Alaska Native, and 6.3% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (2013).

Wisconsin Rural Healthcare Facilities

Wisconsin Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 128 hospitals in Wisconsin (Kaiser, 2012). The state has 58 hospitals identified by the Flex Monitoring Team as Critical Access Hospitals (November 2014). There are 54 Rural Health Clinics in Wisconsin (Kaiser, 2012), and 16 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 89 sites in the state (Kaiser, 2011).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Wisconsin

Most Wisconsinites have some form of health insurance coverage, although 9.0% of the state's residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2013). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Wisconsinites in 2013 was $43,244, although rural per-capita income lagged at $38,776. Estimates from 2013 indicate a poverty rate of 13.1% exists in rural Wisconsin, compared to a 13.6% level in urban areas of the state. The ERS reports, based on 2009-2013 ACS data, that 10.6% of the rural population has not completed high school, compared to 9.2% of urban populations. The unemployment rate in rural Wisconsin is at 7.3%, while in urban Wisconsin it is at 6.5% (USDA-ERS, 2013).

For the latest updates, see the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health’s Rural Reporter or their Twitter feed.

For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.

Data Sources
U.S. Census Bureau: State & County QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List


Wisconsin Office of Rural Health
Phone: 800.385.0005 or 608.261.1883
Email: info@worh.org
Works to improve the quality of health for rural and underserved communities in Wisconsin. Collaborates with health care organizations and systems, community based providers and individuals, and educational organizations to develop programs and provide resources designed to enhance life in rural communities.
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