The rural health context in the United States presents unique ethical challenges to its approximately 60 million residents, who represent about one quarter of the overall population and are distributed over three-quarters of the country’s land mass. The rural context is not only identified by the small population density and distance to an urban setting but also by a combination of social, religious, geographical, and cultural factors. Living in a rural setting fosters a sense of shared values and beliefs, a strong work ethic, self-reliance, and a tendency for close-knit extended social structures where overlapping relationships are commonplace.
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