Community Sociodemographics & Rural Hospital Survival Policy Brief | January 2023
Community Sociodemographics and Rural Hospital Survival Analysis
Authors: Claudia A. Rhoades, Brian E. Whitacre, and Alison F. Davis
1. Among rural hospitals at risk of financial distress, closures disproportionately take place in communities with specific sociodemographic characteristics:
- lower incomes
- lower percentage of college graduates
- larger populations
- lower percentages of White population
- higher percentages of Black population
- higher child poverty
- higher unemployment rates
- higher uninsurance for those under 65
- higher percentage of adults reporting fair or poor health
- higher obesity levels
- higher rates of smoking.
2. However, a statistical approach known as survival analysis shows that most of the sociodemographic characteristics listed above are NOT associated with increased risk of closure between 2010 and 2019.
3. Survival analysis results show that rural hospitals at risk of financial distress are more likely to experience closure if their communities have:
- higher unemployment
- higher uninsurance for those under 65.