The National Advisory Committee of Rural Health and Human Services recently published a policy brief titled ‘Mortality and Life Expectancy in Rural America’. Life expectancy at birth for the population as a whole has been increasing for over a century. In the past few decades, urban-rural disparities in mortality and life expectancy have been increasing. However, rural counties overall have seen smaller increases and some have seen actual declines in life expectancy during that period. The largest disparities in mortality and life expectancy can be found in Appalachia, long a region of persistent rural poverty. Though this brief has a focus on the Appalachian region, it will offer information and recommendations on the topic of rural mortality and life expectancy that are relevant across the nation.