Urban Vaccination Rate Climbs Two Times Faster than Rural Rate

Daily Yonder | By Tim Murphy and Tim Marema | May 26, 2021

An additional 394,000 rural Americans completed their Covid-19 vaccination last week, raising the rural vaccination rate to 30.2% of the rural population.

Last week’s vaccinations increased the rural rate by 0.9 percentage points, up from 29.3% two weeks ago, according to a Daily Yonder analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, the vaccination rate in metropolitan counties grew at twice the pace of growth in rural vaccinations. Metropolitan counties reported an additional 5.3 million completed vaccinations last week, representing a 2.1 percentage point increase from the week before. The metropolitan rate of completed vaccinations was 37.4% as of May 23.

The gap between the national rural and metropolitan vaccinations rates has been growing since the Daily Yonder began analyzing vaccination data five weeks ago. Last week, the metropolitan rate was 7.2 percentage points higher than the rural rate, an increase from 6.1 percentage points two weeks ago. (See graph below.)

  • Connecticut led the nation in rural vaccinations last week, with 50.3% of its rural population completely vaccinated. But Connecticut has only one rural county, containing just 5.1% of the state’s 3.6 million residents.
  • Maine, where 46.6% of rural residents are fully vaccinated, had the second highest rural vaccination rate in the country. The state has completed vaccinations for 254,000 of its 545,000 rural residents.
  • Other states with more than 40% of rural residents completely vaccinated are Arizona (43.5%), New Hampshire (42.9%), Alaska (42.0%), Maryland (41.9%), and New York (40.5%).
  • Six states, all in the South or Southeast, have rural vaccination rates under 25%. These are Georgia, (10.3%), Virginia (15.9%), West Virginia (16.7%), Louisiana (22.5%), Alabama (22.9%), and Missouri (23.6%). But actual rural rates in Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia may be higher because of methodological issues.
  • The CDC did not provide vaccination for Texas or Hawaii, so these states are not included in the map or the rural-urban analysis.

The table below provides a sortable list of vaccination rates and raw numbers for rural, urban, and unallocated vaccinations through May 23, 2021. Rural and metropolitan designations are based on the Office of Management and Budget definition of Metropolitan Statistical Areas.