More than 30 million adults, about 10 percent of the population, have diabetes; 97 percent of them have Type 2 diabetes. It's the seventh most common cause of death in the country, with nearly 80,000 related deaths in 2015. This study focused on diabetes deaths in hospitals in 2009-2014. Of the 38,075 diabetes-related deaths in hospitals, 20.3 percent occurred in rural areas. Death rates were highest in rural areas of the South and Midwest (21.0 and 15.1 per 100,000 population, respectively) compared to the Northeast and West (11.1 and 10.8, respectively). Nationally, a rural-urban difference of 3.4 percentage points amounted to a 17 percent difference in rural and urban rates.
The researchers speculated that the difference in death rates could be attributed to factors such as access to primary and endocrinology care, health literacy, trust in the health-care system, access to good nutrition, and lifestyle choices. They recommend that more research be done to explore the role of these factors in mortality discrepancies.