Month/Year of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)



First Advisor

Sarah Dunsmore, PhD


As there has been minimal research done on the correlation between communities identified as rural or metropolitan and their mortality rates, this research aims to provide baseline evidence that mortality rates associated with non-infectious and infectious diseases are connected to an area’s rural or metropolitan classification. This study analyzed public data from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control to compare mortality rates related to the top two causes of death in both rural and metropolitan health districts of the state of Nebraska, United States. This data was then compared to mortality rates from the current SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic as of January 13, 2021. Within this paper, metropolitan was be defined as any area containing at least one urbanized area/city of 50,000 residents or more, including the adjacent areas with high social and economic integration; rural will be defined as anything not metropolitan. Although underlying factors such as access to health care or quality of care may be relevant, they go beyond the scope of this study. Further research is needed to determine if the variations in mortality rates between Nebraska’s rural and metropolitan health districts are statistically significant.