Minority populations in the United States experience a disproportionate burden of chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, and depression. Death rates from these diseases are higher for minority populations compared to whites. Rural America, regardless of race or ethnicity, also experiences higher rates of chronic illness and poor overall health when compared to urban populations as rural residents are older, poorer, and have fewer physicians to care for them.
Some of the factors contributing to these disproportionate statistics are poverty, education level, unemployment, lack of health insurance, certain lifestyle behaviors, health literacy issues, as well as rural health care quality and access. With 13% of the African-American population, 8% of the Hispanic population, and nearly half of American Indian/Alaska Native populations living in rural areas, health disparities for rural minority populations are exacerbated and continue to increase.
Last Reviewed: 1/31/2014