Older People in Rural Areas
The lives of many older people differ based on whether they reside in urban or rural areas. Despite the stereotypical image of the rural elderly living in a pleasanthome located in an idyllic country setting, rural elders, as compared with older urban residents. typically have lower incomes. are more likely to be poor. and have fewer years of schooling. The rural elderly also tend to be in poorer health, and many of them are less likely to receive needed health care because many rural areas lack adequate medical and long-term care facilities (Coburn and Bolda. 1999). With the “graying of America:’ the population of older adults (age 65 and over) has continued to grow in rural areas; however, this growth varies from region to region, with the
Midwest and the South having a greater concentration of older persons in rural areas than the West and the Northeast have: Why are older people in rural areas more likely to have lower incomes and tend to be classified as “poor”? Some social analysts attribute lower income among the rural elderly to factors such as lower Social Security payments based on lower lifetime earnings limited savings. and fewer opportunities for part-time work (Coburn and Bolda. 1999). Whether or not they are poor. the rural elderly receive a higher proportion of their income from Social Security payments than do the urban elderly. Housing also differs among rural and urban elderly. with older rural residents being more likely to own their own homes than older residents in urban settings. However. the homes of the elderly in rural areas are more likely to have a lower value in the real estate market and to be in greater need of repair than are those owned by urban elderly residents (Coburn and Bolda. 1999).