Rural Health in Connecticut: A Comprehensive Review of Social Determinants, Community Resources, Health Outcomes, and Wellbeing (PDF)

This 2022 report is an update and expansion upon “An Assessment of Rural Health in Connecticut: Overview, Obstacles, and Opportunities”—the previous rural health assessment completed in 2015.

Public health data and ways of reporting that data have changed since the completion of the 2015 report. More datasets are now publicly available with estimates of health related indicators at a variety of geographic levels. Public health emphasis has also shifted to accommodate a better understanding of the social determinants that influence healthy behavior and help prevent major illnesses. With more detailed data, we can now disaggregate information by race/ethnicity, sex, and other demographic factors. As a result, public health reporting has seen a renewed focus on social and health equity.

Specific trends in health outcomes have also become more apparent. The alarming rise of fentanyl in the illicit drug supply has led to steep increases in drug related fatalities, and the opioid epidemic has been recognized as being multifaceted—affecting rural and urban populations differently. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most turbulent public health crises in a lifetime, upending social and economic foundations that influence overall
health and wellbeing, exposing deep inequities in health care quality and access, and testing the resilience of the health care sector. 

This report documents the nature of public health for Connecticut’s rural populations with a renewed focus on trends to better capture how these populations are changing. Disaggregations by race/ethnicity and age are used to better understand the health needs of different populations.

Also, notably, this report shifts away from geographical groupings of rural towns in favor of demographic groupings of towns to better describe the ways that social determinants of health vary across populations, and affect health behaviors and outcomes.