Rural Health in Maine

Hard to define "Rural"

Many of the federal agencies classify rural differently, however, the choice of which classification system to use is determined by the desired outcome or the level of geographic aggregate. There are at least three major classification systems used by federal agencies to classify rural.  All three-classification systems involve determinants about the geographic location of the particular government or geographic entity; and two out of the three involve additional typology based on population size (2,500 residents) and density. These classification schemes have been used to determine eligibility for Federal programs that assist rural areas.

Another definition: The official ”rural” definition of the Census Bureau classifies rural counties by their economic and policy types….Read more at… http://www.census.gov/geo/www/garm.html

Other definitions:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Rurality/WhatIsRural/
http://www.nal.usda.gov/ric/ricpubs/what_is_rural.shtml
http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/policy/definition_of_rural.html
http://www.census.gov/geo/www/garm.html

Fast Facts

  • 11 of Maine's 16 counties are considered rural.*
  • 552,638 residents - or 42% of Maine's population - live in rural areas.*
  • Maine is the oldest state in the nation and rural counties have the oldest populations.
  • Rural counties in Maine tend to have higher rates of poverty and lower median incomes.

Rural Health Care Challenges

  • Rural counties tend to have fewer health care providers.
  • Maine has far fewer dentists than the nation.
  • Health care providers are more difficult to recruit and retain in rural areas.
  • For many rural residents, inadequate transportation makes it even more difficult to access health services.

* Source: USDA Economic Research Service