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Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes

posted on 2024-06-04, 22:37 authored by USDA Economic Research Service
The rural-urban commuting area codes (RUCA) classify U.S. census tracts using measures of urbanization, population density, and daily commuting from the decennial census. The most recent RUCA codes are based on data from the 2000 decennial census. 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 to permit stricter or looser delimitation of commuting areas, based on secondary (second largest) commuting flows. The approach errs in the direction of more codes, providing flexibility in combining levels to meet varying definitional needs and preferences. The 1990 codes are similarly defined. However, the Census Bureau's methods of defining urban cores and clusters changed between the two censuses. And, census tracts changed in number and shapes. The 2000 rural-urban commuting codes are not directly comparable with the 1990 codes because of these differences. An update of the Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes is planned for late 2013.

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Data contact name

John Cromartie

Data contact email


Economic Research Service, Department of Agriculture


  • Not specified

Geographic location - description

United States

ISO Topic Category

  • economy

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

economics; agricultural economics

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:13 - Economic Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:041 - Economic Research, Market Outlook, and Policy Analysis

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

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