Doogan, N. J., Roberts, M. E., Wewers, M. E., Tanenbaum, E. R., Mumford, E. A., & Stillman, F. A. (2018). Validation of a new continuous geographic isolation scale: A tool for rural health disparities research. Social Science & Medicine, 215, 123--132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.09.005
People living in rural areas tend to have
relatively poor health outcomes because important health-related
resources (e.g., healthcare, quality food, information, people) are often not readily available to them.
Economically, it makes sense to put the resources where the people are. Scientifically, it makes sense to indicate how accessible those resources are to people in a given location to support demonstration of how our society's economics leaves some people out.
This new Census tract level characterization of geographic isolation is continuous and accounts for proximity to and the density of proximal populations. We're hopeful that it will support advancement in rural health disparities research and policy.
This web page hosts a downloadable comma separated value data file containing Census tract level isolation scores for all of the U.S. linked with the FIPS codes that identify each tract (and its state and county).
The peer-reviewed article that describes the creation and validation of these scores is published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.