Appalachian, Mississippi Delta regions ‘medically underserved’ for decades

Updated: Mar. 4, 2021 at 3:34 PM EST
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(Great Health Divide) - The Health Resources and Services Administration classifies geographic areas as medically underserved based on them having too few primary care doctors, a high infant mortality rate, high poverty or a high elderly population.

Areas shaded on this map are considered medically-underserved by the HRSA. Many counties in the Delta and Appalachian regions have held this designation for years – some of them for decades.

Hover over any shaded county to see when it was designated a medically-underserved community.

In addition to issues of access to care and resources, many areas in the regions have statistically high rates of babies born underweight -- 438 of the 662 counties in the regions have a higher-than-average rate.

In nearly every county in Appalachia and the Delta, residents have an average life expectancy below the national average of 78 years old. In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has blamed the opioid crisis for some of the drops in life expectancy in the region.

To see the rate of low-birthweight babies born in a county and the average life expectancy compared to the national average, hover over any county.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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