Although historians disagree about the meaning and derivation of the place name Arizona, it is believed to have derived from the words "Al Shon" of the Tohono O'odham/Pima Indian Nation meaning "Place of the Little Spring." The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is located in the northern part of the state. Arizona covers 113,635 square miles, with a 2015 estimated population of 6,828,065 people – 346,718 living in rural Arizona (USDA-ERS). Phoenix, the capital, is located in the south-central region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 83.5% of the state’s population is white, 5.3% is American Indian and Alaska Native, 4.8% is African American/Black, 3.4% is Asian and 30.7% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2015).

Arizona Rural Healthcare Facilities

Arizona Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 72 hospitals in Arizona (Kaiser, 2014), 20 of which are located in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Dec. 2008). The state has 14 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 12/2015). There are 21 Rural Health Clinics in Arizona (CMS, 2015), and 19 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 134 sites in the state (NACHC, 2014).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Arizona

Most Arizonans have some form of health insurance coverage, although 12% of the state’s residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2014). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Arizonans in 2014 was $37,895, although rural per-capita income lagged at $29,645. The ERS reports, based on 2010-2014 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Arizona is 27.6%, compared with 17.7% in urban areas of the state. 20.4% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 13.8% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2010-2014 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural Arizona is at 9.8%, while in urban Arizona it is at 6.0% (USDA-ERS, 2015).

For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.

Data Sources
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Rural Health Clinic List; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; National Association of Community Health Centers: Key Health Center Data By State; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Arizona Center for Rural Health
Phone: 520.626.2254
Promotes the health of rural and medically underserved individuals, families, and communities through service, education, and research.
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