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California, the most populous U.S. state, covers 155,959 square miles, with a 2019 estimated population of 39,512,223 people – 837,284 living in rural California (USDA-ERS). Sacramento, the capital, is located in the north-central region of the state. The state's largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco. According to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 72.1% of the state's population is white, 6.5% is African-American, 15.3% is Asian, 1.6% is American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.5% is Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 39.3% is of Hispanic or Latino origin.

California Rural Healthcare Facilities

California Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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According to, as of January 2020 California had:

  • 34 Critical Access Hospitals
  • 267 Rural Health Clinics
  • 252 Federally Qualified Health Center sites located outside of Urbanized Areas
  • 28 short term hospitals located outside of Urbanized Areas

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural California

Most Californians have some form of health insurance coverage, although 7% of its residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2017). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per capita income for Californians in 2018 was $63,557, although rural per capita income lagged at $48,765. The ERS reports, based on 2018 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural California is 15.7%, compared with 12.8% in urban areas of the state. 11.9% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 17.2% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2014-2018 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural California is 4.7%, while in urban California, it is 4.0% (USDA-ERS, 2019).

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

Data Sources
Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


California State Office of Rural Health
Phone: 916.449.5770
Collaborates with public and private entities statewide and at the regional and national levels to increase rural access to health care and to link small rural communities with state and federal resources.
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There are more organizations related to California in the organizations section.

Last Reviewed: 9/28/2018