Sixty Percent of Rural Americans Served by Rural Health Clinics


According to a recent survey performed by the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC), over 60% of rural Americans are served by Rural Health Clinics.

“We know that there are over 5,200 RHCs across the country but it is important for us to better understand the impact of these rural health clinics in the context of patients served,” said Nathan Baugh, Executive Director of NARHC. “RHCs have significant variability in terms of their size, but our survey reveals that the average RHC serves just over 7,150 patients per year - a tremendously valuable statistic that helps give policymakers a sense of scale of the RHC program.”

NARHC conducted the survey between March 20th and March 31st and received responses from 1,143 RHCs, representing 22% of RHCs across the country. In this survey, respondents were asked to identify how many RHCs they represent and how many patients those RHCs served in calendar year 2022. Unique patients were defined as anyone who had at least one in-person encounter or virtual service such as telehealth/chronic care management with the RHC. The average of 7,150 patients served per RHC substantiates earlier survey data NARHC collected on this topic in January.

The survey shows that the RHC program, as a whole, serves approximately 37.7 million patients per year which is more than 11% of the entire population and approximately 62% of the 60.8 million Americans that live in rural areas.

“As we are relying on survey data, there are limitations to this result,” said Sarah Hohman, Director of Government Affairs for NARHC. “However, we are confident that a substantial majority of rural America gets their care through a federally certified Rural Health Clinic which underscores the importance of the program across rural America.”

NARHC thanks all RHCs that participated in this survey and remains proud of the work that every RHC does for its patients and communities each day.