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The rural vaccination rate advanced at nearly half a percentage point per week over the past month.

As of December 9, 46.4% of the nation’s rural residents were completely vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a Daily Yonder analysis. That’s up 1.6 points from mid-November.

The metropolitan rate of completed vaccinations was 58.8% of total population, an increase of 1.8 points since mid-November.

The gap between the rural and metropolitan vaccination rates has remained a little over 12 points throughout the last month.

Data anomalies from the Thanksgiving holiday and adjustments in vaccination totals in Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and West Virginia make week-to-week comparisons difficult, however. The rural vaccination rate jumped 1.4 percentage points last week, for example, but adjustments in West Virginia and Hawaii accounted for half of that gain.

Highs and Lows

  • Six states had rural completed vaccination rates of 60% or greater. Four of those were in New England: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire. The other two states with rural rates over 60% were Arizona and Hawaii. (The national map at the bottom of the page shows rural vaccination rates by state.)
  • States with the lowest rural vaccination rates clustered in the South and Midwest. Georgia had the lowest rural vaccination rate in the U.S., at just 24% of total population. The actual rate is likely higher because about 20% of the state’s population has been vaccinated but not assigned to specific counties.
  • Missouri, Alabama, and Louisiana had rural vaccination rates under 40%.

Above- and Below-Average Performance

The Daily Yonder’s vaccination map compares county vaccination rates to the national average.

  • Only about a tenth of the nation’s 1,976 rural counties had vaccination rates at or above the national adjusted average of 57.0% of total population. About a third of the nation’s 1,165 metropolitan counties had vaccination rates at or above the national adjusted average. (Our adjusted average omits unallocated vaccinations, which cannot be evaluated based on rural or urban status.)
  • Six states had all their counties (both rural and urban) at or above the national adjusted average vaccination rate. These were Hawaii, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island.
  • On the other end of the scale, Arkansas had no counties with vaccination rates at or above the national adjusted average.
  • Five other states had 5% or less of their counties performing at or above the national adjusted average. These were Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Nebraska.

Individual High-Performing Counties

  • Forty-eight rural counties in the U.S. had vaccination rates of 70% or higher of total population.
  • Colorado had five rural counties with vaccination rates over 70%.
  • Montana and New Mexico had four each.
  • States with three rural counties at 70% or greater were Alaska, Maine, Texas, and Wisconsin.
  • Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, and West Virginia each had two rural counties at 70% or greater.
  • States with one rural county at or above the 70% threshold were Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Utah.

Data Adjustments

  • West Virginia made an adjustment in reporting that resulted in a 27 percentage-point increase in its rural and urban vaccination rates. The state had been near the bottom of the nation in both rural and urban vaccination rates but now stands at 20th best for rural vaccinations. West Virginia reports that just over half of its rural population has been completed vaccinated for Covid-19. Also, the state has one of the nation’s smallest rural-urban vaccination gaps, with the rural rate being only 3 points lower than the metropolitan rate.

Data for this report is drawn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the states departments of health of Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas. Rural and nonmetropolitan are defined as counties that are not part of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget in 2013.

All rates reported are for completed, not partial, vaccinations.

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