Disparities in Highly Preventable Deaths by Rurality and Area Deprivation

Adam Roth , Washington State University
Justin T. Denney, Washington State University

Advances in place-based analyses suggest the importance of area-level resources for individual mortality but have largely focused on urban spaces. We advance knowledge on rural-urban mortality disparities by focusing on differences for the most preventable causes of death. Using geocoded mortality records from Washington state, we match individual-level attributes with area-level measures of rurality, socioeconomic conditions, healthcare access, and social cohesion to examine whether characteristics of place elucidate the rural-urban mortality divide. We find that rural decedents have higher odds of dying from highly preventable causes. Place-based measures of social and economic disadvantage independently associate with the odds of dying from highly preventable causes. Finally, we find that accounting for markers of social cohesion suppresses the rural mortality penalty from highly preventable causes such that rural decedents would have even higher odds of highly preventable death if not for the relatively high levels of social cohesion present in rural areas.

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 Presented in Session 235. Social Aspects of Place and Health