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Rural Health
Resources by Topic: Rural definitions

Wisconsin Core-Based Statistical Areas
Map displaying the Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) of Wisconsin. Highlights rural counties not within a CBSA and counties with more than 50% of the population considered rural and within a Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Date: 04/2021
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Wisconsin Office of Rural Health
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Redefining Rural: Towards a Better Understanding of Geography, Demography, and Economy in America's Rural Places
Offers a hybrid definition of rurality based on metro and non-metro definitions from the Office of Management and Budget, Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, and considers outlying communities in metro and micropolitan counties as rural. Compares rural and non-rural poverty rates, economic well-being, population changes, and other characteristics to represent counties in economic distress.
Author(s): Kennedy O'Dell
Date: 03/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Economic Innovation Group
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Determining Rural Communities: Current Changes and Updated Federal Program Eligibility
Provides an overview of the various definitions of rural used by the federal government. Discusses revisions to the eligibility for grant programs administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), as well as a proposal from the U.S. Census Bureau to reclassify certain counties as rural. Describes implications for FORHP funding programs.
Additional links: Presentation Slides
Date: 03/2021
Type: Video/Multimedia
Sponsoring organizations: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
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The New 'Rural'? The Implications of OMB's Proposal to Redefine Nonmetro America
Provides an analysis of a new proposal from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that seeks to increase the population threshold for the core of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) from 50,000 to 100,000. Describes and compares the potential changes in nonmetro and metro counties. Discusses potential demographic and financial implications from the proposed policy change.
Author(s): Anthony Pipa, Natalie Geismar
Date: 03/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: Brookings Institution, Center for Sustainable Development
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Counties by Metro/Micro Area Status: 2019
Map of the United States displaying metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas by county using data from the Office and Management and Budget (OMB).
Date: 12/2020
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Social Determinants of Health: Challenges and Opportunities in Rural America
Recorded presentation by Jan Probst on social determinants of health in rural America. Offers definitions of social determinants of health and rurality, and discusses economic dynamics of rural areas, education, and the importance of cooperative efforts to make change, with examples of such efforts in South Carolina.
Date: 12/2020
Type: Video/Multimedia
Sponsoring organization: Rural Health Research Gateway
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Population Denominator Data Sources and Data for Use with HCUP Databases (Updated with 2019 Population Data)
Identifies sources of population data that can be used with Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) databases to calculate rates of hospital care events per population. Includes rural-urban population data sources. Appendix A, Tables A.6 and A.7 provide U.S. population figures from 2000 through 2019 for a 4-category urban-rural definition and a 6-category urban-rural definition.
Additional links: Appendix A: Population Data Tables
Author(s): Marguerite Barrett, Rosanna M. Coffey, Katharine Levit
Date: 12/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know
An overview of what data users need to know about working with American Community Survey (ACS) data for rural areas. Addresses how rural is defined, the use of 5-year estimates, strategies to produce reliable estimates for rural communities, where to access rural ACS estimates, and case studies of rural data use.
Date: 10/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Is Rural America Failing or Succeeding? Maybe Both
Policy brief examining Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reclassification of rural counties as metropolitan due to population growth. Provides visual data on counties that transitioned from nonmetropolitan to metropolitan since 1970, including a U.S. map representing reclassified counties. Discusses the implications of reclassification for economic policy and interpretations of rural demographics.
Author(s): Kenneth M. Johnson and Daniel T. Lichter
Date: 09/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Carsey School of Public Policy
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What is Rural?
Provides an overview of the different ways the federal government describes areas as rural. Discusses confusion that can arise from multiple definitions of rural areas. Compares how different urban-rural designations classify each county in South Carolina.
Author(s): Samantha Renaud, Kevin Bennett
Date: 08/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare
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