The Health Care Views and Experiences of Rural Americans: Findings from the Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post Survey of Rural America

This partnership poll from The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation examines the views and experiences of people living in small towns and rural areas across the United States, and how they are similar or different from those in urban and suburban settings. It is the 31st in a series of surveys dating back to 1995 that have been conducted as part of the Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Project. In part, the survey was designed to shed light on the political views of those living in rural counties where Donald Trump scored a 26-percentage-point victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, a substantial increase from Mitt Romney’s 16-point margin over Barack Obama in 2012. In addition to politics, the survey gauges rural Americans’ views of their communities, their sense of shared values, their economic concerns, and their views on issues of race and immigration.

This brief explores where health care fits in rural residents’ political views and also examines how rural Americans’ health care experiences compare with their urban and suburban counterparts. In addition to the survey, Kaiser and The Post conducted two focus groups with rural voters in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Focus group findings related to health care are incorporated in this report; a Washington Post video compilation of the focus groups is available here.

Read The Washington Post’s coverage

Poll of rural Americans shows deep cultural divide with urban centers

Rural America lifted Trump to the presidency. Support is strong, but not monolithic

In rural America, fewer immigrants and less tolerance

When it comes to saying grace, Americans are still united

Differences, in black and white: Rural Americans’ views often set apart by race

Video: Meet the rural Americans who fear they’re being forgotten

In an arid, lonely stretch out west, the health coverage that bloomed is now at risk

How disability benefits divided this rural community between those who work and those who don’t


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