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Fifteen states have completely vaccinated more than 40% of their rural population, up from seven states two weeks ago.

Massachusetts led the way, with 59.7% of its rural residents completely vaccinated. The other top five states were Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, and Hawaii.

Nationally, 32.5% of the 46 million residents who live in nonmetropolitan counties are completely vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and selected state health departments.

In metropolitan counties, 40.0% of the population has been vaccinated, according to the Daily Yonder’s analysis of state and federal data.

The gap between the rural and metropolitan vaccination rates was 7.5 percentage points as of June 7. That’s down slightly from two weeks ago, when the gap was 8 percentage points. But that improvement is primarily from a change in how the Daily Yonder has collected data for this report, rather than an increase in vaccination activity on the ground in rural areas.

This week, our analysis includes Texas and Hawaii, which the CDC has omitted in its reports. We gathered Texas and Hawaii vaccination data directly from the Texas and Hawaii state departments of health. 

We also substituted state health department data for Massachusetts because of reporting anomalies identified in CDC data by the Provincetown Independent in Barnstable County. (For example, for several weeks in a row, the CDC has reported that Barnstable County’s rate of completed vaccinations was 4%. State data show 63% of the county’s population has been completely vaccinated.) 

The addition of state data from Texas alone added 1.24 million completed rural vaccinations. That’s about 8% of the nation’s entire count of rural completed vaccinations, which stood at 14.9 million as of June 7. Texas has completely vaccinated 40.2% of its rural residents, according to state data.

The graph below shows the percentage of rural and metropolitan populations that have completed Covid-19 vaccinations. (Data note: The percentage is calculated based on the size of the population for which we have vaccination data. Prior to June 7, the calculations excluded both the vaccinations and population figures for Texas and Hawaii.)

The county-level map at the top of the story shows the completed vaccination rates by county. County rates are compared to a national adjusted average, which this week is 38.9%. The map confirms the state rural vaccination rankings. New England, where most states are compact compared to the rest of the U.S., leads the way in rural vaccinations. Maine, which faces considerably more geographic challenges than its New England neighbors is also a high performer, with all its rural and urban counties coming in at above the national adjusted average.

Other states at the top of the vaccination-rate list are spread across the country in diverse geographies. Hawaii has completed vaccination rates over 40% for both its rural areas like the Big Island and Kauai and the urban center of Honolulu.  

Much of the upper Midwest such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, plus Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, are above the national average. 

Another set of above-average counties are located in northern Arizona and New Mexico, where tribal efforts are part of the equation. McKinley County, New Mexico, which experienced some of the nation’s worst rates of Covid-related deaths, now has a completed vaccination rate of 77.2%, one of the highest in the nation. 

The border region of Texas, which also experienced high rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths, also have several counties with above-average levels of vaccination.

Below-average rates of vaccination are clustered in the South and the Great Plains, from Texas to North Dakota.

The map below indicates the statewide rural vaccination rate. Click on the state for information on the metropolitan rate, total number of completed vaccinations, and the number of new vaccinations that were completed since June 1. 

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