The majority of studies reported older people in rural areas experienced reduced rates of mortality compared to other areas, with some contradictory evidence.
However, a number of studies found poorer physical health in rural and coastal populations, again with some contradictory evidence. There is some evidence of a slight increase in the prevalence of widespread musculoskeletal pain with greater rurality. Evidence indicates that mental health problems are associated with living in a rural or coastal area, and that neurological problems are associated with living in a rural area.
However, in both cases there is some contradictory evidence. The main drivers of inequalities included social exclusion and isolation, access to and awareness of health and other community services, financial difficulties including fuel poverty and housing issues, a lack of transport and distance from services, low levels of physical activity, and mobility or existing poor health as the healthiest populations were those of working age moving out of rural areas.