Although historians disagree about the meaning and derivation of the place name Arizona, it is believed to have derived from the words "Al Shon" of the Tohono O'odham/Pima Indian Nation meaning "Place of the Little Spring." The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is located in the northern part of the state. Arizona covers 113,635 square miles, with a 2014 estimated population of 6,731,484 people – 347,277 living in rural Arizona (USDA-ERS). Phoenix, the capital, is located in the south-central region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 84.0% of the state’s population is white, 5.3% is American Indian and Alaska Native, 4.6% is African American/Black, 3.2% is Asian and 30.3% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2013).

Arizona Rural Healthcare Facilities

Arizona Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 72 hospitals in Arizona (Kaiser, 2013), 20 of which are located in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Dec. 2008). The state has 15 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 4/2015). There are 21 Rural Health Clinics in Arizona (CMS, 2015), and 17 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 137 sites in the state (NACHC, 2013).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Arizona

Most Arizonans have some form of health insurance coverage, although 19.0% of the state’s residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2013). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Arizonans in 2013 was $44,765, although rural per-capita income lagged at $36,517. Estimates from 2013 indicate a poverty rate of 18.5% exists in rural Arizona, compared to a 15.4% level in urban areas of the state. The ERS reports, based on 2009-2013 ACS data, that 16.2% of the rural population has not completed high school, compared to 13.6% of urban populations. The unemployment rate in rural Arizona is at 11.1%, while in urban Arizona it is at 6.7% (USDA-ERS, 2014).

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

Data Sources
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Rural Health Clinic List; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; National Association of Community Health Centers: Key Health Center Data By State; U.S. Census Bureau: State & County QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Arizona Center for Rural Health
Phone: 520.626.2254
Promotes the health of rural and medically underserved individuals, families, and communities through service, education, and research.
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