The definition of a rural area is complex. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, rural areas are all territories, populations, and housing units not classified as urban. An urban area is defined as one with a total population of at least 2,500 for urban clusters or at least 50,000 for urbanized areas. Rural areas can be located in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. According to the 2000 census, 21% of the U.S. population (60 million people) live in rural areas.

Many of the health challenges faced by rural America, including chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, are similar to those faced by all Americans; however, populations in rural areas also have unique health concerns. This entry discusses some of these concerns, including occupational health, ...

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