Saturday, January 21, 2023

Urban vs. Rural Cancer Death Rates in the Southeastern U.S.

Cancer accounted for nearly 172,000 deaths in the twelve-state Southeastern U.S. in 2020.  Relative to the size of its population, the region's cancer death rate of 201.0 deaths per 100,000 population was almost 10% above the national average.  That said, the unfavorable comparison to the national average in 2020 was wholly attributable to cancer death rates in counties in rural areas and small to medium-sized metro areas in the region. Counties in smaller communities and rural areas in the Southeast had cancer death rates in 2020 that were substantially higher than in the nation or in the region as a whole.  A closer examination of data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reveals the following about urban vs. rural cancer death rates in the Southeastern U.S.:

Urban vs. Rural Cancer Death Rates in the Southeastern U.S.

Urban vs. Rural Cancer Death Rates in the Southeastern U.S.

County Classification Deaths Population Death Rate*
Large Central Metro 25,167 15,659,372 160.7
Large Fringe Metro 37,595 21,574,094 174.3
Medium Metro 49,402 23,618,936 209.2
Small Metro 21,283 9,583,292 222.1
Micropolitan (Nonmetro) 19,734 8,121,872 243.0
NonCore (Nonmetro) 18,798 7,008,219 268.2
     Region 171,979 85,565,785 201.0
Nationally 602,350 329,484,123 182.8

(*) number of cancer deaths per 100,000 population

Report Period: 2020

States in region:  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia

See the 2013 NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for additional information on population categories, including a map of which U.S. counties fall in which categories.

Source: CDC Wonder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2020 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2021. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2020, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed on January 11, 2023

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