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What is Rural? Resources

Selected recent or important resources focusing on What is Rural?.

Rural America at a Glance, 2017 Edition
Provides an overview of social and economic factors affecting rural America. Includes statistics and data on trends in employment, infrastructure, population, poverty, and income.
Date: 11/2017
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Rural America Story Map
A set of interactive maps, information, and images that explains how the Census Bureau defines "rural", identifies Census Bureau sources of rural data, and shares selected rural statistics.
Date: 12/2016
Type: Video/Multimedia
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Defining Rural at the U.S. Census Bureau
An overview of how the Census Bureau has defined rural in the past, the current way urban/rural areas are identified by the Census, and the relationship between decennial censuses, the American Community Survey (ACS), and geography.
Author(s): Michael Ratcliffe, Charlynn Burd, Kelly Holder, Alison Fields
Date: 12/2016
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Rationalizing Rural Area Classifications for the Economic Research Service: A Workshop
Summarizes an April 2015 workshop that explored the data, estimation, and policy issues related to rural classifications currently in use by the Economic Research Service (ERS): Rural Urban Continuum Codes (RUCCs), Urban Influence Codes (UICs), Rural Urban Community Area (RUCA) codes, and Frontier and Remote (FAR) codes.
Author(s): Committee on National Statistics
Date: 2016
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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Micropolitan America: A New and Critical Part of the Nation’s Geography
Provides an overview of the micropolitan designation, highlighting important features and demographics. Also presents a preliminary agenda for future research and seeks to engage others in a national initiative that will further the understanding of micropolitan areas.
Author(s): Sam M. Cordes, J. Matthew Fannin
Date: 11/2015
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute
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List of Rural Counties and Designated Eligible Census Tracts in Metropolitan Counties
Identifies areas with geographic eligibility for Federal Office of Rural Health Policy grant programs. Lists rural counties and, within metropolitan counties, census tracts that are considered rural.
Date: 11/2015
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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Overview of Urban-Rural Classification Schemes Including the 2013 NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties
Slides from a presentation given at the 2015 National Conference on Health Statistics. Reviews major urban-rural classification schemes, with examples of health data presented using different approaches. Focuses on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Urban-Rural Classification Scheme.
Author(s): Deborah D. Ingram
Date: 2015
Type: Presentation Slides
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Health Statistics
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2013 NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties
Updates the CDC's 2006 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) urban-rural county classification. Uses the classification to analyze selected National Vital Statistics System and National Health Interview Survey data, to show the utility of this classification method in identifying rural-urban differences.
Author(s): Deborah D. Ingram, Sheila J. Franco
Date: 04/2014
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Health Statistics
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Metropolitan and Micropolitan Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs): Office of Management and Budget CBSA Designations by County, 2013
Map of the U.S. delineating the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan and micropolitan core based statistical areas (CBSAs) by county for 2013.
Date: 2014
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
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Metropolitan and Micropolitan Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs): Office of Management and Budget CBSA Designations by County (Puerto Rico included), 2013
Map of the U.S. delineating the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan and micropolitan core based statistical areas (CBSAs) by county and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico for 2013.
Date: 2014
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
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Metropolitan and Micropolitan Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs): Office of Management and Budget CBSA Designations by County, 2013 and 2009
Maps of the U.S. delineating the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan and micropolitan core based statistical areas (CBSAs) by county for the years 2013 and 2009.
Date: 2014
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
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What Is Rural in the WWAMI States? Why Definitions Matter?
Discusses the definitions of rural and the impacts of using the differing definitions in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
Author(s): Susan M. Skillman, Davis G. Patterson, Denise M. Lishner, Mark P. Doescher, Meredith A. Fordyce
Date: 07/2013
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: UW Center for Health Workforce Studies
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The Utility of Rural and Underserved Designations in Geospatial Assessments of Distance Traveled to Healthcare Services: Implications for Public Health Research and Practice
Reviews the different definitions of rurality and their purposes and examine common resident profile characteristics associated with each designation using an eight-county sample from Central Texas. Discusses the impact that the selection of rural definitions can have on research findings and resulting health policy.
Author(s): Matthew Lee Smith, Justin B. Dickerson, Monica L. Wendel, et al.
Location: Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2013, 1-11
Date: 06/2013
Type: Document
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How is Rural America Changing?
An overview of rural population trends, with presentation slides that includes maps and charts, and a link to a May 24, 2013 "America by the Numbers" C-SPAN recording, Demographics of Rural America.
Author(s): John Cromartie
Date: 05/2013
Type: Presentation Slides
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Report on the Definition of "Rural"
Discusses the various definitions of the term "rural" and "rural area" that are used with respect to programs administered by the Secretary of Agriculture and the effects those variations in definition have on USDA Rural Development programs. Recommends ways to better target funds provided through rural development programs.
Date: 02/2013
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: USDA Rural Development
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The Frontier Definitions List
Describes all the major definitions of frontier currently in use.
Date: 10/2012
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Frontier Communities
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Frontier/Remote, Island, and Rural Literature Review
Highlights the evolution of the term frontier as it applies to remote, sparsely settled territory in the U.S. and discusses related definitions of rural that are relevant to creating a national frontier/remote and island geographic taxonomy.
Author(s): L. Gary Hart
Date: 08/2012
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health
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Rurality in the United States
Research brief presenting data and findings to describe rural America using data from the 2010 Census and American Community Survey.
Date: 11/2011
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Housing Assistance Council
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Why Definitions Matter: Rural Definitions and State Poverty Rankings
Illustrates the importance of understanding the various definitions of rural, by showing the differences in state poverty rates when the two definitions of rural are employed.
Author(s): Kathleen Miller
Date: 03/2010
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute
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Frontier Counties
Printable map that shows the location of frontier counties nationwide. Data source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010.
Date: 2010
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: Rural Health Information Hub
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Definitions of Rural: A Handbook for Health Policy Makers and Researchers
A 1998 technical issues paper prepared for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration. This publication describes the two major methods of defining rurality, as well as principal variations used in federal policy.
Author(s): Thomas C. Ricketts, Karen D. Johnson-Webb, Patricia Taylor,
Date: 06/1998
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Health Resources and Services Administration
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Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Data Files
A set of 3 Excel files identifying Non-Metro Counties and rural Census Tracts (CTs) that comprise rural areas as defined by FORHP including: Non-Metro Counties (Micropolitan and non-core based counties) and Eligible Census Tracts in Metropolitan Counties, FORHP Eligible ZIP Codes, and FORHP ZIP Codes by County.
Additional links: FORHP Eligible ZIP Codes, FORHP ZIP Codes by County, 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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USAC Rural Health Care Eligible Rural Areas Search
A tool designed to determine if an organization is located in an eligible rural area for Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) 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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Medicare Telehealth Payment Eligibility Analyzer
Helps providers determine geographic eligibility for Medicare telehealth services. Identifies HPSAs located in rural census tracts, consistent with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s definition of rural.
Type: Tool
Sponsoring organization: Health Resources and Services Administration
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Frontier Areas from 2010 U.S. Census
List of frontier counties, by state, with county population and population density information based on 2010 Census data. Includes total state population and percent of population in frontier areas for each state.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: National Center for Frontier Communities
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Rural Classifications
Describes several classifications and provides data to measure rurality and assess the economic and social diversity of rural America. These classification schemes have been used to determine eligibility for federal programs that assist rural areas.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Frontier and Remote Area Codes: Data Sets
Access to ZIP-code-level frontier and remote (FAR) area codes to meet the need for delineation that is geographically detailed and adjustable for application in diverse research and policy contexts.
Type: Database
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America
An online, interactive mapping tool that captures a broad range of demographic, economic, and county classification data on rural areas across the United States.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Rural Health Grants Eligibility Advisor
Determines if a community is rural according to the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s (FORHP) definition.
Type: Tool
Sponsoring organization: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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Am I Rural?
Helps determine whether a specific location is considered rural based on various definitions of rural, including definitions that are used as eligibility criteria for federal programs. Definitions covered include Rural Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs), Core Based Statistical Areas, Rural Urban Continuum Codes (RUCC), and Urban Influence Codes (UICs).
Type: Tool
Sponsoring organization: Rural Health Information Hub
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RUCA Data: Travel Distance and Time, Remote, Isolated, and Frontier
Discusses how Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes, travel times and distances can be used together to create needed definitions of remote and isolated areas.
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
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RUCA Maps
State and regional maps that use Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) data to show levels of rurality.
Type: Map/Mapping System
Sponsoring organization: WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
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Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) Codes
A list of rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes. RUCA codes classify U.S. census tracts using measures of population density, urbanization, and daily commuting. The most recent RUCA codes are based on data from the 2010 decennial census and the 2006-10 American Community Survey decennial census.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Urban and Rural Classification
Provides an explanation of the urban and rural classification systems used currently and historically to identify individual urban areas and the rural areas of the nation.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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Metropolitan and Micropolitan
An information page that defines and explains the metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas for purposes of collecting, tabulating, and publishing federal data. Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area definitions result from applying published standards to Census Bureau data.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Census Bureau
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What is Rural?
Describes the primary methods the federal government uses to define rural areas. Includes links to additional resources addressing this issue.
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: Rural Information Center
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Amber Waves
Monthly publication of the Economic Research Service. Covers the ERS research and analysis on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America. Coverage includes topics related to the social determinants of health for rural people.
Type: Journal/Newsletter
Sponsoring organization: USDA Economic Research Service
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Last Updated: 12/8/2017