According to the CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, COPD prevalence is nearly double in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas. The report found age-adjusted prevalence of diagnosed COPD increased from 4.7% among populations living in large metropolitan centers to 8.2% among adults living in rural areas.

Additional findings include:

  • Medicare hospitalizations (per 1,000 enrollees) for COPD were 11.4 among enrollees aged ?65 years living in large metropolitan centers and 13.8 among those living in rural areas.
  • Age-adjusted death rates (per 100,000 population) for COPD as the underlying cause also increased with less urbanicity from 32.0 for U.S. residents living in large metropolitan centers to 54.5 for those living in rural areas.

The report also reemphasized the reality that states in the Midwest and Southern US bear the brunt of the COPD burden:

  • State-specific age-adjusted prevalence of COPD among adults aged ?18 years in 2015 ranged from 3.8% in Utah to 12.0% in West Virginia.
  • State-specific age-adjusted death rates (per 100,000 population) in 2015 ranged from 15.8 in Hawaii to 64.3 in Oklahoma.
  • Of the seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia) that were in the highest quartiles for all three measures in 2015, four states (Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and West Virginia) were also in the highest quartile (?18%) for percentage of rural residents.

Read the full report at