What is Rural


The definition of “Rural” from the Census Bureau encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area. According to the U.S. 2010 Census Bureau there are two types of urban areas: Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people and Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people.

Rural America At A Glance, 2014 Edition (PDF brochure 6 pages, USDA) Click Here


DNC Rural Americans — Throughout our country’s history, Democrats have been a strong and united voice for rural Americans, recognizing the important bond between our nation’s heritage and its future. DNC Rural Council, printed fact sheet (PDF), ‘What the Democratic Party has done for rural Americans’.


urbanrural-uscensus2012From the Department of Agriculture:

Researchers and policy officials employ many definitions to distinguish rural from urban areas, which often leads to unnecessary confusion and unwanted mismatches in program eligibility. However, the existence of multiple rural definitions reflects the reality that rural and urban are multidimensional concepts. Sometimes population density is the defining concern, in other cases it is geographic isolation. Small population size typically characterizes a rural place, but how small is rural? Population thresholds used to differentiate rural and urban communities range from 2,500 up to 50,000, depending on the definition.

Because the U.S. is a nation in which so many people live in areas that are not clearly rural or urban, seemingly small changes in the way rural areas are defined can have large impacts on who and what are considered rural. Researchers and policymakers share the task of choosing appropriately from among alternate rural definitions currently available or creating their own unique definitions.