Rural Definitions

Methods of designating the urban periphery range from the use of municipal boundaries to definitions based on counties. Definitions based on municipal boundaries may classify as rural much of what would typically be considered suburban. Definitions that delineate the urban periphery based on counties may include extensive segments of a county that many would consider rural.

We have selected a representative set of nine alternative rural definitions and compare social and economic indicators from the 2000 decennial census across the nine definitions. We chose socioeconomic indicators (population, education, poverty, etc.) that are commonly used to highlight differences between urban and rural areas.


Data Set Last Updated Next Update
Data sources from the U.S. Census Bureau
List of all places in the U.S. and their 2000 population 9/4/2006
List of urban areas in the U.S. and their 2000 population 9/4/2007
National and State Indicator Tables
Download the National and State Indicator Tables 9/4/2007
State-Level Maps
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