Who said living in rural America was easy? Turns out, country living is downright dangerous, compared to life in the metros, according to a recent study. “The perception is that life in rural areas is peaceful, tranquil, serene,” said Jeffrey H. Coben, M.D., a professor in the WVU Injury Control Research Center. “If you just look at violence – person against person – the rates are higher in urban areas. But for virtually every other cause of trauma, the risks are substantially greater in rural areas.”
As the population density decreases, hospitalization rates for injuries increases. Hospitalization rates for injuries were 35% higher in sparsely populated rural counties compared to urban counties. Large urban counties carried the highest hospitalization rates for assaults. But rural counties led in hospitalizations for motor-vehicle crashes, falls and poisonings. Self-inflicted injuries were also higher in rural counties, with poisons, knives and guns the instruments of choice.
There are tons of reasons for the higher injury rates. More people are engaged in high-risk occupations in rural areas, like mining and logging. Injuries in car crashes are higher because people drive more and because seatbelt usage is lower.