Welcome to Health&, a new online information series designed to explore the ways health influences every aspect of our lives, and how our life circumstances impact our health. We offer this series to spark conversation, encourage new thinking and inform decision making at the local level.
In countless communities across the country, housing costs continue to outpace local incomes. As more people experience the burden of severe housing costs, a dangerous spiral ensues — one where more children are living in poverty; more neighbors don’t know where their next meal will come from; and more community members are in poor health.
As Americans, we spend more than two-thirds of our time at home — a fact that renders the relationship between health and safe, stable housing inextricable from one another. Where we choose to live — which, by extension, is ultimately dictated by where we can afford to live — impacts our access to key factors of health like quality of schools and employment opportunities to safe communities and nutritious food.
Less than 11 percent of physicians in the U.S. practice in rural areas, yet about 20 percent of the U.S. population resides in rural areas. For this and a myriad of other reasons, rural Americas tend to be older and sicker than their urban counterparts. In this issue, we’ll focus on rural social determinants of health and how they influence access to services and health outcomes.