What Is Rural?
Definitions of "rurality" vary greatly and can be complex, taking into account population size, population density, travel to work or commerce, distance from a metropolitan center, and other measures important to rural living. Depending on the definition used, it is estimated that anywhere from 17 percent to 63 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas. Find resources in this section that provide differing definitions of "rural" including Rural Urban Continuum Codes (RUCC) of the Economic Research Service that may provide the best way for child welfare practitioners to understand and serve children, youth, and families in rural areas.
Rural Child Welfare Practice: Issue Brief
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2012)
Highlights the diverse needs, strengths, and resources of children and families from rural areas, the challenges these families and those who work with them may face, and the cultural sensitivity required of child welfare staff as they work to achieve well-being, permanency, and safety for rural children.
United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service
Provides measures of rurality including RUCC, population and migration, rural poverty, and well-being.
Am I Rural?
Rural Assistance Center
Provides a searchable database to help determine if any city or county within a zip code is rural by specific definitions, eligible for specific rural funding, and/or has a health professional shortage designation.
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Main
U.S. Census Bureau
Provides the U.S. Office of Management and Budget definitions of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas according to published standards that are applied to Census Bureau data.
Rural Definitions–National and State Indicator Tables
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Compares nine varying definitions of basic population and social data.
2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification and Urban Area Criteria
United States Census Bureau
Provides the Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification, which is fundamentally a delineation of geographical areas, identifying both individual urban areas and the rural areas of the nation.