Urban and rural differences in risk of admission to a care home: a census-based follow-up study

Mark McCann*, Emily Grundy, Dermot O'Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Research on admissions to care homes for older people has paid more attention to individual and social characteristics than to geographical factors. This paper considers rural-urban differences in household composition and admission rates. Cohort: 51,619 people aged 65 years or older at the time of the 2001 Census and not living in a care home, drawn from a data linkage study based on c.28% of the Northern Ireland population.Living alone was less common in rural areas; 25% of older people in rural areas lived with children compared to 18% in urban areas. Care home admission was more common in urban (4.7%) and intermediate (4.3%) areas than in rural areas (3.2%). Even after adjusting for age, sex, health and living arrangements, the rate of care home admission in rural areas was still only 75% of that in urban areas.People in rural areas experience better family support by living as part of two or three generation households. Even after accounting for this difference, older rural dwellers are less likely to enter care homes; suggesting that neighbours and relatives in rural areas provide more informal care; or that there may be differential deployment of formal home care services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalHealth and Place
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2014


  • Aged
  • Nursing home
  • Residence characteristics
  • Rural population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Health(social science)


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