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Rural Health
Resources by Topic: Rural definitions

Geography of Frontier America: The View at the Turn of the Century
Discusses the definition of frontier. Provides an overview of frontier issues, including health care resources, land ownership, and the frontier economy.
Date: 01/2000
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Frontier Communities
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Definitions of Rural: A Handbook for Health Policy Makers and Researchers
Describes the two major methods of defining rurality, the Office of Management and Budget metropolitan-nonmetropolitan classification of counties and the U.S. Census Bureau classification of areas and population, as well as major variations on those methods.
Author(s): Thomas C. Ricketts, Karen D. Johnson-Webb, Patricia Taylor
Date: 06/1998
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: North Carolina Rural Health Research Program
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Frontier: A New Definition
Discusses the definition of frontier, based on population density, distance to the closest market for services, and travel time. Also describes the process by which this definition was developed. Includes a matrix that can be used to determine frontier status.
Date: 04/1998
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Frontier Communities
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Improving the Operational Definition of "Rural Areas" For Federal Programs
Describes the methodology of the Goldsmith rural modification for metropolitan counties designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Author(s): Harold F. Goldsmith, Dena S. Puskin, Dianne J. Stiles
Date: 1993
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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SC Rural Healthcare Resource Dashboard
Dashboard providing a summary table and interactive maps of public health data for South Carolina by county and zip code. Covers topics including provider distribution, health facilities, demographics, diseases and chronic conditions, health behaviors, healthcare utilization patterns, rural definitions, primary care provider need, obstetric service need, and more.
Type: Database
Sponsoring organization: South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare
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Area and Road Ruggedness Scales
Provides measures of topographic variation for 2010 census tracts, showing the ruggedness of terrain and roads. Identifies rurality and primary Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) code of each census tract along with ruggedness data. Also provides documentation, descriptions of each scale, and national maps.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Health Professional Shortage Areas: Louisiana
Provides information and definitions on Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs), and Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs), as well as related HPSA opportunities and healthcare facilities. Includes county-level maps of primary care, dental, and mental HPSAs in Louisiana.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organizations: Louisiana Department of Health, Well-Ahead
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Defining Rural for Wisconsin
Explains rural classification systems of Wisconsin counties. Includes maps that define or illuminate rural areas via rural-urban continuum codes, index of relative rurality, rural population by Census tract, rural-urban commuting areas, housing density, location of Wisconsin hospitals, and drive time to emergency care.
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Wisconsin Office of Rural Health
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USAC Rurality Tier Search Tool
Allows users to determine the applicable rural tier for a specific site location to calculate the rural rate for telecommunications support through the RHC Telecom Program. Tiers include extremely rural, rural, less rural, and non-rural. Tool provides general information; rurality tiers are formally assigned through the review and approval of FCC forms.
Additional links: How to: Use the Rurality Tier Search Tool
Type: Tool
Sponsoring organization: Universal Service Administrative Company
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Data for Rural Analysis
A collection of resources to help policymakers and researchers identify and describe rural and urban areas. Lists tools that can be used to determine rural status and degree of rurality and find county-level socioeconomic data. Also identifies other sources of rural data.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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