COVID-19 in Rural America: Impacts of Politics and Disadvantage*

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Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, people living in cities were much more likely than rural residents to become infected with and die from the virus. Beginning in the summer of 2020, however, the proportional increase in virus spread became much greater in rural areas. By March 2021, per capita cases and deaths were greater in nonmetro than in metro areas. Multi-variate regression analysis found that political views were the most important variable explaining per capita COVID-19 cases, while measures of disadvantage were the best predictors of COVID-19 deaths. Counties with high proportions of Trump voters had higher per capita cases, and in nonmetro areas, these counties had higher death rates. Overall, the best predictor of COVID-19 death rates is low levels of educational attainment, high poverty rates, and high minority populations.




Albrecht, D. E. (2022). COVID-19 in Rural America: Impacts of Politics and Disadvantage*. Rural Sociology, 87(1), 94–118.

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