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A 'health gap' exists between rural and metropolitan Australia, with poorer health outcomes and higher death rates evident outside major cities, especially in our remote communities
About the rural health gap

Medical research and rural health

Since 2013, the Garvan Research Foundation has been promoting awareness of health and medical research in Australia’s rural communities, and has published two reports examining the federal government’s National Health Priority Areas in relation to the rural health gap.

Key statistics

  • Death rate
    There is a 40% higher death rate in remote areas than in major cities
  • 2.5 years
    Life expectancy is 2.5 years lower for males in outer regional, remote and very remote areas compared with major cities and inner regional areas
  • 1.3 years
    Life expectancy is 1.3 years lower for females in outer regional, remote and very remote areas compared with major cities and inner regional areas
  • Cancer
    5 year relative survival for cancer decreases with increasing remoteness
  • Diabetes
    Diabetes ranks higher as a cause of death among people living in remote and very remote areas compared with regional and major city areas
  • Asthma
    The prevalence of asthma is significantly higher in people living in inner regional areas compared with those living in major cities or outer regional and remote areas
  • Obesity
    Adults living in outer regional and remote areas of Australia are more likely to be overweight or obese (69.5%) compared with adults living in major cities (60.2%)

Closing the health gap

Medical research has an important role to play in addressing the rural health gap in Australia.

Breakthroughs in diagnosis, treatment and prevention – through approaches including genomics, personalised medicine and cancer immunotherapy – are changing the way we think about diseases and are improving outcomes for all Australians, whether they live in remote, rural or metropolitan areas.

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