Intended for healthcare professionals


Poverty in rural areas

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:722

Is more hidden but no less real than in urban areas

  1. Jim Cox (, General practitioner
  1. Caldbeck, Wigton, Cumbria CA7 8DP

    Rural societies are diverse, with a greater proportion of both people in higher socioeconomic groups and those with low pay than in urban populations. 1 2 Scattered among the relatively wealthy landowners, commuters, and professionals are rural dwellers living on very low incomes. 3 4 A recent BMJ editorial exhorted doctors to “combat the damage” of poverty.5 In doing so, doctors should look beyond the rural idyll and recognise that, as elsewhere in the world, poverty in Britain is not confined to cities.

    Carr-Hill et al emphasised the importance of looking at very small units—individuals and their families—when considering health needs.6 This is particularly important in rural areas. In cities generalised observations about a street or electoral ward may be reasonably accurate, but in the …

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