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Data Sets

Rural-Urban Continuum Codes


The 2003 Rural-urban Continuum Codes form a classification scheme that distinguishes metropolitan counties by size and nonmetropolitan counties by degree of urbanization and proximity to metro areas. The standard Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metro and nonmetro categories have been subdivided into three metro and six nonmetro categories, resulting in a 9-part county codification. This scheme was originally developed in 1974. The codes were updated in 1983 and 1993, and slightly revised in 1988. The 1988 revision was first published in 1990. This scheme allows researchers to break county data into finer residential groups, beyond metro and nonmetro, particularly for the analysis of trends in nonmetro areas that are related to population density and metro influence. See the Rural-Urban Continuum Code Chapter in the measuring rurality briefing room for more information.

Data Files

Release Date

August 2003.

Instructions/Helpful Hints

The 2003 Rural-Urban Continuum Codes are not directly comparable with the codes from previous years because of the new methodology used in developing the 2003 Metropolitan areas.

Related Resources

For more information, contact: Tim Parker

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Updated date: November 3, 2004