Tag Archives: rural urban differences

Research Snapshot: Exploring Rural Disability Onset

RTC:Rural’s previous research has found that people who live in rural areas begin to experience disability from mobility, cognitive and sensory impairment as much as 10 years before people in urban areas. There are also higher rates of disability in rural areas across all age groups. We have also found that racial and ethnic minorities experience the highest disability rates as well as the greatest urban/rural differences.

While some people are born with a disability, most disability is acquired. This can happen suddenly by injury or slowly by chronic disease. Healing, disease course and medical treatment, underlying causes of disability, often fluctuate. This means people do not always report disability consistently over time.

In order to understand urban/rural differences, RTC:Rural is conducting research to understand how disability evolves in rural and urban areas.

Bryce Ward, RTC:Rural Statistician, explains the project and its goals, and gives a quick progress update.

Map of 2015 OMB County Designations. Click on map to link to web page with full text description and file for download.

Map of 2015 OMB County Designations showing urban and rural counties across the United States. Click on the map for a full text description and for a larger, downloadable version. To browse or download the data this map was created with, use our Disability Counts Data Finder tool.
Map produced July 2017.

 
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RTC:Rural researchers publish paper on rural/urban differences in social connectedness and perceived isolation for people with disabilities

Dr. Meredith Repke, RTC:Rural Research Associate, and Dr. Catherine Ipsen, RTC:Rural Director, recently published a paper in the Disability and Health Journal titled “Differences in social connectedness and perceived isolation among rural and urban adults with disabilities.”

Screenshot of the first page of journal article titled "Differences in social connectedness and perceived isolation among rural and urban adults with disabilities"

In the paper, Repke and Ipsen analyze survey data from the nation-wide Health Reform and Disability Survey to explore how a number of factors are related to social participation and perceived isolation for people with disabilities, and to see if there are differences for those who live in rural vs urban areas. These factors include number of disabilities, self-rated health, employment status, and living arrangements (alone or with others).

Previous studies have compared social isolation to smoking in terms of risk to public health. Some groups of people have a much higher risk of social isolation, including people with disabilities and rural residents. This research builds on previous work by considering how the potentially compounding effects of disability status and living in a rural area may affect social participation and perceived isolation.  

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