If you live in a very large or very small community you might have no difficulty answering the question “Are you rural”? But if you’re like many of us here on the Commons team, you live somewhere in between. Many local, state, and federal grants and programs use different definitions of rural so it pays to know them. Let’s explore a few in detail.
One definition, Far and Remote Areas (FAR) comes from the USDA Economic Research Service and is updated every 10 years with the decennial Census. The definition looks at ZIP codes and how far they are from an urban area. This particular map uses Level 1 FAR Areas, or areas consisting of rural and urban areas up to 50,000 people that are 60 minutes or more from an urban area of 50,000 or more people. Additional FAR levels are also available in the Commons map data list.
Also from the USDA Economic Research Service, the Rural-Urban Continuum Codes are a classification which codes counties by the size of their metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan counties by the degree of urbanization and adjacency to a metro area. There are nine different codes. This definition allows more of a range of rural rather than a binary definition.
Other ways to look at rural/urban in the Commons include:
Another great resource is the Am I Rural tool on the Rural Health Information Hub. Use that tool to input your location and get a report detailing whether or not your location is defined as rural and whether you might qualify for specific Office of Rural Health grant opportunities.
So, are you rural?