National Rural Health Day
National Rural Health Day is a holiday observed on the third Thursday of every November. The purpose of this day is to celebrate the ingenuity and community-minded health clinics that operate in rural areas and to shine a light on some of the unique healthcare challenges that many rural citizens face.
It’s also a day to highlight the ways that rural healthcare clinics have addressed these problems so they can be used by rural healthcare clinics everywhere.
The History of National Rural Health Day
National Rural Health Day was created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health to address the issues faced by rural citizens and the clinics that serve their needs.
Facts About Rural Healthcare in the U.S.
While researching this holiday, we came across some facts about rural healthcare that we think everyone reading this should consider. We’ve decided to list these facts below to illustrate the importance of addressing healthcare needs in rural America.
- Although 25% of Americans live in rural areas, only 10% of physicians practice in them.
- Rural residents tend to have a per capita income that is $9,242 lower than that of residents in urban areas.
- Approximately 1 out of 4 rural children live in poverty.
- The rates of hypertension are higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
- Over the past 25 years, more than 500 rural hospitals have closed.
- Rural residents face greater challenges with medical transportation than those living in urban areas.
- Approximately 20% of rural counties lack not only basic mental health services but any mental health services at all.
- Approximately 54% of rural Americans lack access to 25Mbps/3Mbps Internet, which can make it more difficult for them to access their health information from home.
- Young adults in rural areas are twice as likely to commit suicide as their metropolitan counterparts.
- In urban areas, there are 30 general dentists for every 100,000 residents. In rural areas, there are only 22 general dentists for every 100,000 residents.
- Tobacco use is significantly higher among rural youth than urban youth.
- Rural communities have higher unemployment rates and more uninsured residents, resulting in less access to healthcare.
- More than half of vehicle crash-related fatalities occur in rural areas.
- Rates of diabetes and coronary heart disease are higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
Observing National Rural Health Day
National Rural Health Day can be observed by writing a letter to local legislators asking for the healthcare needs of rural citizens to be addressed, by sending a thank you to a rural healthcare provider, or by using the hashtag #NationalRuralHealthDay on social media.