Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health
This guide will help you locate and fairly and accurately use statistics and data in order to:
- understand rural health needs and rural/urban disparities,
- communicate rural health needs, and
- inform decision-making related to service delivery and policy
For a comprehensive look at major rural-relevant statistical sources, please also see RAC's Data Sources & Tools Relevant to Rural Health. This list includes data sources focused on healthcare services, health status, demographics, and social determinants of health. For each source, it identifies the topics covered, ease of use, geographic level of data, and update frequency.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What sources collect rural or rural-relevant data?
- What sources collect county-level data? How might county-level data be useful?
- What sources provide health services data for rural areas or by county?
- What sources cover health behaviors and health status for rural areas or by county?
- How can I use American Factfinder to get U.S. Census Bureau statistics that focus on rural?
- How can I use American Factfinder to get U.S. Census Bureau statistics that focus on a specific community?
- What sources of training and technical assistance are available to learn about U.S. Census data?
- What are some of the limitations and considerations related to American Community Survey data for rural areas?
- What challenges or limitations do researchers face when analyzing health data for rural populations?
- The data I've found seems old. Why are data releases often several years old? How can I decide if the data I have is too old to be useful?
- How can I find out how the demographics or population of an area are changing over time?
- How can I compare data for one geographic region or area to another? Why would I want to?
- What should I be aware of when seeking to compare data from different sources?
- What types of statistical sources can I find for my area on RAC's state guides? What about the state-by-state guide?
- What types of rural statistics can I find on RAC's topic guides?
- What other sources in my state can I contact to find data that may be collected here but not nationally?