NORC Announces New Rural Health Mapping Tool to Inform COVID-19 Response 

NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) has released an interactive mapping tool that will help guide rural communities’ strategies around COVID-19. The publicly available tool provides information on COVID-19 vaccination rates, including newly released data on bivalent boosters, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and other health and sociodemographic information for communities across the United States.

Rural communities and decision-makers can use this vital data, which is supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to inform ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts, particularly those related to encouraging boosters. The tool also enables free county-level exploration of data across the United States.

“The Rural Health Mapping Tool will be an invaluable resource for rural communities that are looking for accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19 so they can choose public health strategies that best meet their needs,” said Alana Knudson, director of the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis.

In addition, the Rural Health Mapping Tool offers benefits far beyond the pandemic. It integrates several measures of health and prosperity into a single tool, providing a comprehensive picture of the well-being of rural communities. The tool is the first to display a publicly available county-level map of the NORC-developed prosperity index, which provides a single numerical measure designed to reflect the prosperity of a county, based on 16 indicators. With this new tool, users can observe the associations between the prosperity of a county and a range of health and other factors, including the leading causes of death, sociodemographic factors, and physical environment and access to healthcare indicators.

“We know that rural Americans face significantly more health disparities compared with their urban counterparts,” said Dr. Georgina Peacock, Director of CDC’s Immunization Services Division. “The Rural Health Mapping Tool will give communities access to crucial information that will help direct resources and ensure COVID vaccinations are reaching critical populations in rural areas.”

The Rural Health Mapping Tool has several features that are particularly useful for rural communities.

  • Users can create a map view that displays only the rural counties in the United States, which will highlight areas of need and resources.
  • Every county also has an individual fact sheet, which compares all county-level data to the rest of their state and to the nation.
  • All data included in the tool can be downloaded for free and used by local leaders, decision-makers, researchers, and the public.

The tool is being released in observation of National Rural Health Day, which recognizes the importance of the health and well-being of our rural communities.

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

NORC is home to the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, a research center dedicated to improving health and well-being in all of our nation’s rural and remote communities. You can find more information on the center here.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).

This initiative is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).