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Rural Health
Resources by Topic: Rural definitions

Which Definition of Rurality Should I Use?: The Relative Performance of 8 Federal Rural Definitions in Identifying Rural-Urban Disparities
Study comparing 8 definitions of rural used by the federal government in order to understand how often the same areas were identified as rural and to measure rural-urban disparities related to socioeconomic status, demographics, healthcare access, and health outcomes. Analyzes 20210 census tract-level spatial data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2019 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) population estimates, the Provider of Services file, and the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System files from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Author(s): Julianna C. Long, Paul L. Delamater, George M. Holmes
Citation: Medical Care, 59, S413-S419
Date: 10/2021
Type: Document
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2020 Census Results: Regional Tribal Land Data Summary
Presents a summary of changes in tribal areas as a result of the 2020 census. Highlights geographic changes, such as the addition of tribal lands, and population changes by region.
Date: 09/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center
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Comments on Proposed Criteria for Defining Urban Areas
Comment letter responding to the U.S. Census Bureau on proposed changes to criteria used to define urban areas. Discusses how the proposed changes could impact the delivery of healthcare services in rural communities, including potential implications on the certification of Rural Health Clinics.
Date: 05/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services
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Indicators of Rurality: How Should We Define "Rural" and "Urban" Communities?
Provides an overview of six federal datasets and how each is used to classify urban and rural communities. Offers recommendations for how to use each indicator of rurality.
Date: 05/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Institute for People Place and Possibility
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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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Oregon Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) Facilities
Shows a county-level map of Oregon identifying the locations of hospitals participating in the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP), whether they are type A or B, and whether they are located in a frontier county.
Date: 01/2021
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Oregon Office of Rural Health
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Colorado: County Designations, 2021
Map of Colorado identifying counties based on urban, rural, or frontier designation.
Date: 2021
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Colorado Rural Health Center
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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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