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Racial and Ethnic Differences in Self-Rated Health Among Rural Residents

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This study examines racial and ethnic differences in self-rated health among rural residents and whether these differences can be explained by socio-demographic characteristics. We used data from the 2011–2017 National Health Interview Survey to assess differences in self-rated health by race and ethnicity among rural residents (living in non-metropolitan counties; n = 46,883). We used logistic regression analyses to estimate the odds of reporting fair/poor health after adjusting for individual socio-demographic characteristics. Non-Hispanic Black and American Indian rural residents reported worse self-rated health than their non-Hispanic White counterparts (25.8% and 20.8% reporting fair/poor health, respectively, vs. 14.8%; p < 0.001). After adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, disparities remained for non-Hispanic Black rural residents (Adjusted Odds Ratio = 1.55; 95% CI 1.36, 1.76). This study suggests more attention is required to address inequities among rural people and to develop policies to address structural racism and improve the health of all rural residents.

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This study was supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under PHS Grant No. 5U1CRH03717. The information, conclusions and opinions expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and no endorsement by FORHP, HRSA, or HHS is intended or should be inferred.

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Correspondence to Carrie Henning-Smith.

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Henning-Smith, C., Hernandez, A.M. & Kozhimannil, K.B. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Self-Rated Health Among Rural Residents. J Community Health 46, 434–440 (2021).

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