Inequalities in terms of life expectancy between rural and urban areas have widened over the past 30 years. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Association of Rural Mayors of France (AMRF) and the Macif group, in partnership with France Bleu, published Wednesday, December 16.
The study, which is based on figures from INSEE, sheds light on the life expectancy of men and women depending on whether they live in rural or hyper rural, urban or hyper urban, or in an area said composite in terms of urban density. In 2019, a man in a hyper-rural environment lives on average 2.2 years less than a hyper-urban one. The gap was 3 months in 1990. A hyper urban had a life expectancy of 73.2 years 30 years ago when a hyper rural could only hope to live to 72.9 years. Thirty years later, the hyper urban can live up to 80.7 years on average against 78.5 years for a hyper rural.
Likewise, a woman living in hyper-rural areas lives on average 9 months less than a woman living in hyper-urban areas. The difference was 3 months in 1990. A French woman from 1990 living in a hyper-urban environment had a life expectancy of 81.1 years while a Frenchwoman living in the countryside could only hope to live up to 80.9 years. . In 2019, the hyper urban lives up to 85.8 years on average and the hyper rural up to 84.9 years.
Note that the inequalities are greater for the inhabitants of the overseas departments and regions. The difference in life expectancy in 2019 is 2.8 years for men and 1.3 years for women. In 2000, it was 2.6 years for men and 1.9 years for women.
How to explain these inequalities? For the AMRF and the Macif group, the study shows that rural areas, if they are “attractive, prevention and access to hospital care are degraded”. For them, “geographical distance provides proof of territorial inequalities in terms of access to healthcare”. They believe that there is “a strong correlation with the absence of attending physicians “.
Where there are no liberal doctors who screen and refer the patient to the hospital, fewer patients go to the hospital.
The Association of Rural Mayors and Macif
According to the authors of the study, the health crisis “highlighted the importance of proximity in the organization of the health service”. They consider that the State, “entangled in its model of regional planning, centered on the development of metropolitan areas, continues to weaken the countryside with a lot of statistical arguments”.
AMRF and the Macif group believe that ‘the state has given up “ in the face of territorial fractures, and “that nothing is done to fight them”. Faced with this, the Association of Rural Mayors of France and the insurer highlight their role as “proximity”. The study thus intends to provide rural elected officials with “new arguments in the face of centralizing dogma and bring new data to the public debate to form an enlightened opinion on the reality of the French health disaster “.