California is nicknamed "The Golden State" because of its rich history of gold mining that includes the infamous California Gold Rush of 1848. Known for its beautiful landscapes, California is where you will find the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe, and the giant Sequoia and Redwood trees. California covers 155,959 square miles, with a 2015 estimated population of 39,144,818 people – 831,562 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 the U.S. Census Bureau, 72.9% of the state’s population is white, 6.5% is African American/Black, 14.7% is Asian, 1.7% is American Indian and Alaska Native, and 38.8% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2015).

California Rural Healthcare Facilities

California Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 344 hospitals in California (Kaiser, 2014), 34 of which are located in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Dec. 2008). The state has 34 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 12/2015). There are 285 Rural Health Clinics in California (CMS, 2015), and 151 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 1,219 sites in the state (NACHC, 2014).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural California

Most Californians have some form of health insurance coverage, although 10% of its residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2014). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Californians in 2014 was $49,985, although rural per-capita income lagged at $39,500. The ERS reports, based on 2010-2014 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural California is 17.8%, compared with 16.4% in urban areas of the state. 12.6% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 18.7% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2010-2014 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural California is at 7.1%, while in urban California it is at 6.2% (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


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.