A country home might be a less healthy home, a lot less healthy.
Almost 1 in 5 rural counties in the U.S. saw increases in the number of premature deaths over the past decade — even as most large urban counties saw regular improvements in their premature death rates, according to new rankings released Wednesday.
“That was surprising and shocking to me,” said Bridget Catlin, director of the County Health Rankings, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Catlin noted that 1 in 6 Americans live in a rural county, which as a rule have higher rates of smoking, obesity, child poverty and teen births than large urban counties. Rural counties are defined as those with less than 50,000 people. Forty-six million people live in 1,974 rural countie