The term “rural” suggests many things to many people, such as agricultural landscapes, isolation, small towns, and low population density.However, defining “rural” for health policy and research purposes requires researchers and policy analysts to specify which aspects of rurality are most relevant to the topic at hand and then select an appropriate definition. Rural and urban taxonomies often do not discuss important demographic, cultural, and economic differences across rural places-differences that have major implications for policy and research. Factors such as geographic scale and region also must be considered. Several useful rural taxonomies are discussed and compared in this article. Careful attention to the definition of “rural” is required for effectively targeting policy and research aimed at improving the health of rural Americans.
Authors:Hart LG, Larson EH, Lishner DM
Journal/Publisher:Am J Public Health
Edition:Jul 2005. 95(7):1149-1155
Link to ArticleAccess the article here: Am J Public Health
Citation:Hart LG, Larson EH, Lishner DM. Rural Definitions For Health Policy And Research. Am J Public Health. Jul 2005 95(7):1149-1155
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