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Overview

The rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes classify U.S. census tracts using measures of population density, urbanization, and daily commuting. The most recent RUCA codes are based on data from the 2010 decennial census and the 2006-10 American Community Survey. The classification contains two levels. Whole numbers (1-10) delineate metropolitan, micropolitan, small town, and rural commuting areas based on the size and direction of the primary (largest) commuting flows. These 10 codes are further subdivided based on secondary commuting flows, providing flexibility in combining levels to meet varying definitional needs and preferences. Descriptions of the codes are found within the data files, and also in the Documentation.

State and county names included on the file provide initial help in locating census tracts of interest (all census tracts are nested within counties). To determine the census tract for a particular location within a county, please go to http://www.ffiec.gov/Geocode/ and type in the address information.

Earlier versions of the RUCA codes (1990 and 2000) are also available. All three versions use the same primary classification scheme (1-10) but are not directly comparable because many census tracts are reconfigured during each decade. Also, changes to census methodologies significantly affected the RUCA classifications. Between 1990 and 2000, changes to methods for defining urban areas decreased rural population and territory. Between 2000 and 2010, the data source for daily commuting patterns switched from the decennial census (measuring one point in time during 2000) to the American Community Survey (providing a 5-year average during 2006-10). See data source information within the individual data files for details.

The files below give RUCA codes for census tracts. A ZIP code approximation of the 2010 RUCA codes is available on the Center for Rural Health website.

    Data Set      Download as Excel    
    Downloads     Last Updated     Next Update    
    2010 Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes Download as Excel       12/31/2013   
    2000 Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes Download as Excel       3/11/2005   
    1990 Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes Download as Excel       1/20/2004   

    Last updated: Monday, June 02, 2014

    For more information contact: John Cromartie

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