Rural Area Deprivation and Hospitalizations Among Children for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions

Document Type


Publication Date



This study examined the intersection of rurality and community area deprivation using a nine-state sample of inpatient hospitalizations among children (<18 years of age) from 2011. One state from each of the nine US census regions with substantial rural representation and varying degrees of community vulnerability was selected. An area deprivation index was constructed and used in conjunction with rurality to examine differences in the rate of ACSC hospitalizations among children in the sample states. A mixed model with both fixed and random effects was used to test influence of rurality and area deprivation on the odds of a pediatric hospitalization due to an ACSC within the sample. Of primary interest was the interaction of rurality and area deprivation. The study found rural counties are disproportionality represented among the most deprived. Within the least deprived counties, the likelihood of an ACSC hospitalization was significantly lower in rural than among their urban counterparts. However, this rural advantage declines as the level of deprivation increases, suggesting the effect of rurality becomes more important as social and economic advantage deteriorates. We also found ACSC hospitalization to be much higher among racial/ethnic minority children and those with Medicaid or self-pay as an anticipated source of payment. These findings further contribute to the existing body of evidence documenting racial/ethnic disparities in important health related outcomes.