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Rural Health
Resources by Topic: Rural definitions

Delineating Rural Areas in the United States
A poster presentation identifying the common federal rural definitions useful for addressing rural-urban disparities. Demonstrates, by using population characteristics including poverty, uninsured, and disabled data, how each rural definition can affect the sensitivity of the disparity.
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: North Carolina Rural Health Research Program
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What Is a Rural Hospital?
Explains the different definitions of rural and how they impact the number of hospitals in Texas considered rural.
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals
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Urban Influence Codes: Documentation
Explains the 12 categories of rural/urban classification included in the 2013 Urban Influence Codes from the Economic Research Service, which are used to categorize counties and county equivalents in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Includes a table showing population estimates and the number of counties in each category using 2010 Census data.
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification and Urban Area Criteria
Explains the U.S. Census Bureau's classification of rural and urban areas for the 2010 Census. Features tables comparing 2000 and 2010 Census data for rural and urban areas, including Urbanized Areas and Urban Clusters. Offers links to data files which provide the percent rural/urban by state and county for 2010.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Defining Rural Population
Explains the major federal government definitions of rural and how they are used by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP).
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties
Provides information on a six-level urban-rural classification scheme for U.S. counties and county-equivalent entities developed by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Includes access to data files and reports describing the classification scheme.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Health Statistics
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Urban Influence Codes
A list of Urban Influence Codes (UICs) data sets. The 2013 UICs are a classification scheme that further subdivides metropolitan counties by the population size of their metro area, and nonmetropolitan counties by the size of their largest city or town, and includes their proximity to metro and micropolitan areas. This scheme allows researchers to break down county data into finer residential groups for the analysis of trends in nonmetro areas.
Type: Database
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Data Files
A set of 4 Excel files identifying nonmetro counties and rural census tracts (CTs) that comprise rural areas as defined by the FORHP including: nonmetro counties (micropolitan and non-core based counties) and eligible census tracts in metropolitan counties, outlying metro counties with no Urbanized Areas, FORHP eligible ZIP Codes, and FORHP ZIP codes by county.
Additional links: FORHP Eligible ZIP Codes, FORHP ZIP Codes by County, List of 295 Outlying Metro Counties with No Urbanized Areas, Non-Metro Counties (Micropolitan and non-core based counties) and Eligible Census Tracts in Metropolitan Counties
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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County Rurality Level: 2010
Spreadsheet that identifies, for each county in the U.S., the total, urban, and rural population, as well as the percent of the county population that is rural, based on 2010 Census data.
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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USAC Rural Health Care Eligible Rural Areas Search
Determines if an organization is located in an eligible rural area for Universal Service Administrative Company's (USACs) Rural Health Care Program. Identifies a county by urban, rural or partly rural status as defined by the program rules.
Type: Tool
Sponsoring organization: Universal Service Administrative Company
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