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Q:  

I'm writing to see if you know how I can obtain a variable that indicates the "urbanicity" (a binary "urban" versus "rural" variable would be fine) of all U.S. counties. This variable should be fairly recent (around 2000 is good). I thought it would be easy to track down on the web but haven't had luck.

A:  

Here's what you need.

It's from the USDA Economic Research Service:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/RuralUrbanContinuumCodes.

This is a scale with 9 values. You can decide how to collapse this code; 1-3 is urban and 4-9 are rural. It is a good thing to have on hand. Sometimes, you might want the additional detail.

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