By Sarah Melotte / The Daily Yonder

For the first time since June, rural America’s weekly death rate from Covid-19 was lower than the metropolitan death rate last week, a Daily Yonder analysis shows.

It was only the second week in nearly 2½ years that the weekly rural death rate did not exceed the metropolitan death rate, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


Rural counties reported 431 Covid-19 deaths last week, a 7.5% drop from two weeks ago. There were 35 fewer deaths last week compared to two weeks ago, and the rural death rate was 0.94 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Last week, the rural death rate was 3% lower than the urban rate of 0.96 deaths per 100,000 residents. Metropolitan America reported 668 more deaths last week compared to two weeks ago, a 32.5% increase.

Rural is defined as counties not located within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (OMB, 2013) Chart: Daily Yonder Source: USA Facts and CDC Get the data Embed Created with Datawrapper


Although death rates in rural communities dropped last week, infection rates increased by 6% and still surpass urban rates. Rural America reported 38,002 new infections last week, a rate of 82.5 new infections per 100,000 residents.

In urban counties, the infection rate was 77.6 new infections per 100,000 residents, virtually no change since two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, about a quarter of both rural and urban counties were in the red zone, defined as having 100 or more new infections per 100,000 residents

Because the CDC does not report infections detected through home testing, the actual infection rates are likely much higher.

Rural is defined as nonmetropolitan counties, which are counties not located within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (OMB 2013). Chart: Daily Yonder Source: CDC Get the data Created with Datawrapper

The cumulative death rate, which includes all deaths since the start of pandemic in the U.S., is 36.9% higher in rural areas than in urban ones. The cumulative rural death rate was 403.8 deaths per 100,000 residents last week, while the cumulative urban rate was 294.83 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Rural is defined as nonmetropolitan, or counties that are not part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area. (OMB 2013) Chart: Daily Yonder graphic Source: #USAFacts, CDC Get the data Created with Datawrapper

This article first appeared on The Daily Yonder and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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