Poorer health outcomes in rural and remote areas compared with metropolitan areas may be due to a range of factors, including a level of disadvantage related to education and employment opportunities, income and access to, and less use of, health services. People living in rural and remote areas may also face more occupational and physical risk, for example, from farming or mining work and transport-related accidents. The proportion of adults engaging in behaviours associated with poorer health, such as tobacco smoking and alcohol misuse, are also higher in these areas.

The higher death rates and poorer health outcomes experienced by people living outside Major cities, especially in remote areas, may also reflect the higher proportion of the population in those areas who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australians—as a population group, Indigenous Australians generally have a poorer health status than non-Indigenous Australians.

Despite poorer health outcomes for some, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey found that Australians living in small towns (fewer than 1,000 people) and non-urban areas generally experienced higher levels of life satisfaction than those living in Major cities [1].


  1. Wilkins R 2015. The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: selected findings from waves 1 to 12. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.