Key Facts on Rural Health

Ageing population

Rural communities are, on average, older than urban areas, and their average age is increasing at a faster rate. England’s most rural areas are projected to have a 47.4% increase in residents aged over 50 years by 2028, compared to a national increase of 35%. The most rural areas are also expected to see the most population increases in the older age bands: 131% increase in people aged 85+ years; 96% in people aged 80-84 years; 71% in 75-79-year-olds; 65% in 65-69-year-olds.

Click here for more information on the ageing rural population.

Source: Rural Evidence Research Centre report: Rural England: Demographic  Change and Projections 1991 Р2028


GPs in sparsely populated villages in England are often the most accessible provider of medicines. In 2010, only 20 per cent of village patients had access to a pharmacy within 4km of their household. This shows that for 80% of village patients, a one-stop GP dispensing service is an essential rural healthcare service.

Source: Commission for Rural Communities report. State of the countryside 2010

Travel issues

Public transport remains a challenge in rural areas and in 2012 only half of rural households were said to have close access to a regular bus service. This compares with 96% of urban households.

In 2012 11% of rural households had no access to a car or van.

The need to make more and longer journeys are also a feature of rural life; during 2008-12, rural people each made an average of 1,002 trips a year, of an average 8.7m per trip, taking an average 378 hours a year. In urban areas, the equivalent figures are: 959 trips, average distance 6.4m, and taking 366h.

Click here for more information on rural transport.

For all the latest news of the 2020 DDA annual conference...

Learn more