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Definitions of Rural - Bureau of the Census

By Betty Austin,2015-02-24 14:14
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Definitions of Rural - Bureau of the Census

    Rural: Where Is It Anyway?

    There are almost as many definitions of "rural" as there are persons who use the definition. Most often rural is identified by default when defining that which is urban.

    To help clarify the most commonly used definitions of "urban" and "rural," the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health has compiled this resource list. What follows are the definitions developed by the organizations that provide the authoritative definitions of rural and urban: the U.S. Census Bureau, the Office of Management and Budget, the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Maps showing how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is defined using the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census data are provided to allow for comparison.

    The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania for developing the maps and provided updated information. Thanks also are extended to key staff within the Bureau of Health Planning in the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration for their careful review of the content.

    For more information, please contact the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health at 814-863-8214 or to porh@psu.edu

    PLEASE NOTE

    The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human

     Services' Health Resources and Services Administration has funded the development of the

    Rural Urban Commuting Area Codes (RUCAs), by the WWAMI Rural Research Center at the

    University of Washington and the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, to

    designate "Rural" areas within Metropolitan Areas. Census tracts with RUCA codes 4

    through 10 are considered to be rural for the purposes of grants administered through

    the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The WWAMI Rural Research Center has

     mapped Census Tracts to ZIP codes. Organizations whose headquarters are in the

    designated ZIP codes are eligible to apply for grants administered through the Federal Office

    of Rural Health Policy, provided they meet all other requirements. More information on

    RUCAs is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbanCommutingAreas/

    or at http://www.fammed.washington.edu/wwamirhrc/rucas/rucas.html

    Source: http://ruralhealth.hrsa.gov/funding/eligibilitytestv2.asp

What is Urban and What is Rural?

    Source: Bureau of the Census

    http://www.census.gov/geo/www/ua/ua_2k.html

    For Census 2000, the Census Bureau classifies as "urban" all territory, population, and housing units located within an urbanized area (UA) or an urban cluster (UC). It delineates UA and UC boundaries to encompass densely settled territory, which consists of:

    ; core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000

    people per square mile and

    ; surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per

    square mile

    In addition, under certain conditions, less densely settled territory may be part of each UA or UC.

    The Census Bureau's classification of "rural" consists of all territory, population, and housing units located outside of UAs and UCs. The rural component contains both place and nonplace territory. Geographic entities, such as census tracts, counties, metropolitan areas, and the territory outside metropolitan areas, often are "split" between urban and rural territory and the population and housing units they contain often are partly classified as urban and partly classified as rural.

    What are Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)?

Source: Office of Management and Budget

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/metroareas122700.pdf

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/pubpress/2003-18.pdf

    The general concept of a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Micropolitan Statistical Area is that of an area containing a recognized population nucleus and adjacent communities that have a high degree of integration with that nucleus. The Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards do not equate to an urban-rural classification; all counties included in Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas and many other counties contain both urban and rural territory and populations. All other areas not included in a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Micropolitan Statistical Area are considered to be non-metropolitan.

    Metropolitan Statistical Areas have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population. Micropolitan Statistical Areas have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but not less than 50,000 population. These areas also include adjacent counties that have a minimum of 25 percent commuting to the central counties. Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas are defined in terms of whole counties (or equivalent entities). One or more principal cities are identified within each Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area. These cities are the population and employment centers and are used in titling the areas.

What Are Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs)

    Source: USDA Economic Research Service and the WWAMI Rural Health

     Research Center

    http://www.fammed.washington.edu/wwamirhrc/rucas/rucas.html

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbanCommutingAreas/

     The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and

    Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration has funded the

    development of the Rural Urban Commuting Area Codes (RUCAs), by the WWAMI

    Rural Research Center at the University of Washington and the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, to designate "Rural" areas within Metropolitan Areas. Census tracts with RUCA codes 4 through 10 are considered to be rural for the purposes of grants administered through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The WWAMI Rural Research Center has mapped Census Tracts to ZIP codes. Organizations whose headquarters are in the designated ZIP codes are eligible to apply for grants administered through the Federal Office of Rural Health

     Policy, provided they meet all other requirements. More information on RUCAs is

     available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbanCommutingAreas/ or

     at http://www.fammed.washington.edu/wwamirhrc/rucas/rucas.html

    Source: http://ruralhealth.hrsa.gov/funding/eligibilitytestv2.asp

    A flexible approach to delineating components of the U.S. settlement system has been developed using census tracts instead of counties. Like the widely used metropolitan areas, the rural-urban commuting area code is based on measures of urbanization, population density, and daily commuting. Census tracts are used because they are the smallest geographic building block for which reliable commuting data are available. The classification contains 10 primary and 30 secondary codes. Tracts are included if more than 20 percent of the tract's population is in the urbanized area. For non-metro cities and towns, the cores similarly include census tracts with more than 20 percent of the population in places that make up the agglomerationeither an incorporated town or an

    unincorporated (census designated) place.

Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs) Codes

    1 Metropolitan-area core: primary flow within an urbanized area (UA) 2 Metropolitan-area high commuting: primary flow 30 percent or more to a UA 3 Metropolitan-area low commuting: primary flow 5 percent to 30 percent to a UA 4 Large town core: primary flow within a place of 10,000 to 49,999

    5 Large town high commuting: primary flow 30 percent or more to a place of

    10,000 to 49,999

    6 Large town low commuting: primary flow 5 percent to 30 percent to a place of

    10,000 to 49,999

    7 Small town core: primary flow within a place of 2,500 to 9,999

    8 Small town high commuting: primary flow 30 percent or more to a place of 2,500

    to 9,999

    9 Small town low commuting: primary flow 5 percent to 30 percent to a place of

    2,500 to 9,999

    10 Rural areas: primary flow to a tract without a place of 2,500 or more 99 Not coded: Tracts with little or no population and no commuting flows

Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) Codes 2000

What is the Pennsylvania Definition of Rural?

Source: The Center for Rural Pennsylvania

    http://www.ruralpa.org/rural_urban.html

    In 2003, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania adopted a definition of rural and urban based on population density. Population density was calculated by dividing the total population of a specific area by the total number of square land miles of that area. In 2000, the population of Pennsylvania was 12,281,054 and the number of square miles of land in Pennsylvania 44,820, for a population density of 274 persons per square mile.

    By basing the definition on population density, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania was able to identify counties, municipalities, and school districts as either rural or urban.

County or school district definition

    A county or school district is rural when the number of persons per square mile within the county or school district is less than 274. Counties and school districts that have 274 persons or more per square mile are considered to be urban.

Municipal definition

    A municipality is rural when the population density within the municipality is less than 274 persons per square mile or the municipality's total population is less than 2,500, unless more than 50 percent of the population lives in an urbanized area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. All other municipalities are considered urban.

Applying the definition

    When applying the definition to counties, 48 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are rural. In 2000, nearly 3.4 million residents called these counties home, or 28 percent of the state's 12.3 million residents.

    At the school district level, 243 of the state's 501 public school districts are rural. During the 2000-2001 school year, more than 522,000 public school students attended school in rural districts, or 29 percent of the state's nearly 1.8 million public school students.

    At the municipal level, 1,655 municipalities are rural or 64 percent of the state's 2,576 municipalities. Rural municipalities are found in every county except Delaware and Philadelphia. Forest, Fulton, Juniata, Pike, and Sullivan counties have no urban municipalities. In 2000, more than 2.8 million people lived in a rural municipality or 24 percent of the state's 12.3 million residents.

A slight difference in numbers

    The numbers suggest that there are more rural county residents than rural municipal residents. This difference has to do with the different levels of government. The county definition includes every resident living in every municipality in the county, both rural and urban. At the county level, when the county is considered to be rural, then all residents in the county are to be considered rural.

    On the other hand, the municipal definition only includes those residents who live in a rural municipality, regardless of whether the county is considered rural or urban. Using this definition, it's possible to have an urban municipality in a rural county and a rural municipality in an urban county.

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