Summary of key findings
- CCIS is one of the largest surveillance efforts in Massachusetts to capture the experience of rural communities, with over 4,200 respondents from rural towns. This is an important step towards filling a critical gap in COVID-19 data.
- CCIS data shows clear racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities among rural residents and their COVID-19 concerns, ability to access testing, ability to work from home, ability to access medical care, and mental health status.
- Rural communities saw higher levels of job loss compared to urban communities. Among rural communities, residents of more isolated communities and those from lower income populations were more likely to report changes in job status and less likely to be able to work from home.
- The most isolated rural communities lacked adequate access to information and COVID-19 testing sites.
- Compared to urban areas, rural communities reported higher rates of concern for accessing nearly every basic need category captured within the survey, including food, housing, utilities and broadband.
- Within rural communities, residents of color and residents with lower incomes were more likely to be very worried about getting COVID-19, experience higher rates of delayed medical care, and experience poor mental health outcomes compared to white Non-Hispanic/non-Latinx residents or residents with higher incomes.
- It is important to consider both the unique and shared experiences of rural residents across multiple subgroups, including rural context, race, ethnicity, age, income, and education level.