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Rural-Urban Continuum Codes: 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003

a PSC Data Resource

Resource Source:U.S. Department of Agrculture


Rural-Urban Continuum Codes form a classification scheme that distinguishes metropolitan (metro) counties by the population size of their metro area, and nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) counties by degree of urbanization and adjacency to a metro area or areas. This scheme was originally developed in 1974. The codes were updated in 1983 and 1993, and slightly revised in 1988.


Metro counties are distinguished by population size of the Metropolitan Statistical Area of which they are part. Nonmetro counties are classified according to the aggregate size of their urban population. Within the three urban size categories, nonmetro counties are further identified by whether or not they have some functional adjacency to a metro area or areas. A nonmetro county is defined as adjacent if it physically adjoins one or more metro areas, and has at least 2 percent of its employed labor force commuting to central metro counties. Nonmetro counties that do not meet these criteria are classed as nonadjacent.


Rural data and definitions:1973,1983,1993,2003 (Source: U.S. Department of Agrculture)

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