Principal Investigator
Lori Hunter

National Institutes of Health

Collaboration + support
Myron Gutmann, Stefan Leyk, Catherine Talbot and Johannes Uhl; Institute of Behavioral Science; Dylan Connor (Arizona State University)

Lori HunterAmong the burdens on rural America are significantly poorer public health, higher incidents of teen pregnancy, lower education levels and higher prescription rates for narcotics. 

A two-year, NIH-funded project is increasing our understanding of the small towns, villages and cities in the U.S. with populations of fewer than 2,500 residents. The goal: developing the first systematic understanding of the sociodemographic and economic characteristics and patterns of change in small rural places from 1980 to 2010.

By compiling existing data such as census data and information from the National Parks Service and health services, the team is comparing small rural places with slightly larger rural communities with populations from 2,500 to 19,999 residents during the 1980–2010 period to better understand the place-based distinctions that must inform policy.