Rural versus Urban

02022-12-14 | Environment | 6 comments

I found this rather surprising.

People in Rural Areas Die at Higher Rates Than Those in Urban Areas – Scientific American:

There’s a common perception that cities are dangerous places to live, plagued by crime and disease—and that small towns and the countryside are generally safer and healthier. But data tell a different story.
According to a 2021 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on mortality data from 1999 to 2019, people living in rural areas die at higher rates than those living in urban areas—and the gap has been widening. Rates for the top 10 causes of death in 2019 (including heart disease, cancer and accidents) were all higher in rural areas. And the pandemic has only exacerbated things: COVID is now the third leading cause of death nationwide, and rural areas account for a higher share of those deaths per capita than urban areas.


  1. JaneParham

    I’m not surprised. Most of the people raised in rural areas are ignorant, stupid, and small-minded. Is this harsh? Yes, but pretty true.
    I don’t think I exaggerate too much. And now our education system and social media are not contributing to anyone’s enlightenment or abilities to solve problems or even literacy. Of course, there are exceptions to this bold generalization.

    The nature of so-called rural folk was slapped in my face when I spent a year in New York City as a teenager who had this far been raised in Oklahoma, where even the cities are ruralish. My parents were highly educated and liberal, but they were the exception. They had saved me from the closed mind syndrome. But the thriving intellect, arts, creativity and scope of NYC thrilled me. We had to return to Oklahoma, but within 4 years we got out, moved to Los Angeles. I will always be grateful for this escape.

    • Steve

      I have a counter-factual for you: my wife’s father is a rancher. He completed high school, and that’s all. He has 50000 acres in southeast Colorado. This guy can fix cars, tractors, fix gas powered and diesel powered vehicles, can do residential wiring as well as three-phase wiring for some of the industrial grade equipment he has, and can weld better than anyone I have ever encountered including aluminum (no mean feat). He has built numerous out-buildings on the property out of various materials including traditional wood frame, steel , and a mix of the two.

      He taught himself to do all this. I really don’t find him to be stupid or ignorant at all. The two neighbors I have met of his are like this as well.

      Additionally, I teach at a college in an area that is surrounded by farms, and I teach “farm boys” how to do electronics engineering. Pretty dang smart kiddos for the most part. Many of them come in with an intuition about electricity that the city kiddos don’t have. I don’t find them to be stupid or ignorant either.

      But being a rancher/farmer is dangerous. Lots of injuries over the years. Some of that stuff will kill you. Part of the job. Respect.

      • JaneParham


  2. Michael R.

    I skimmed the article in the link, but curious to know what sample demographic they used for the rural population they studied, and what the constraints of the study are. There is probably a noticeable difference in rural areas, for example, rural Montana versus rural Louisiana. Also, comparing urban areas would show noticeable differences as well, for instance, comparing Albuquerque (where most people drive) to Boston (that has an established public transportation system, and where can get around on foot with ease).

    Maybe it still comes down to diet and exercise no matter where the person resides?

  3. ottmar

    I think Steve is right, farming can be quite dangerous. As I teenager I helped out on a farm in the summer and drove a tractor. A tractor is probably the most harmless and benign piece of equipment on a farm. The other farm equipment probably maims a fairly large number of people every year. Then there are also the many chemicals many modern farmers use. I have a feeling they contribute to the cancer rate. Country life is not only fresh air…

    As Michael wrote, it probably still comes down to diet and exercise.

    Overall I still find it surprising that city life with its traffic and stress should be less dangerous overall. A lot of that could also have to do with access to healthcare and hospitals in an emergency.

    • JaneParham

      But do include the mental health and cultural richness provided by the environment of access to the lively and all the other great arts available in cities, as well as fine health care. Of course we could not survive without the farms and ranches. So I’m glad there are rural people, too; and I give them my full respect and gratitude.


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