- The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) funded a three-year project to create a standardized national rural frontier/remote definition. This project started in fall 2008. The project includes an internal technical advisory group (Mike Ratcliff, Bureau of Census; Eric Larson, University of Washington; Richard Morrill, University of Washington; and David Plane, University of Arizona), an internal stakeholder group (nine members), and four regional stakeholder meetings (DC, Seattle, Omaha, and Albuquerque). The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is a full partner in this project and is also providing significant in-kind funding. The core project team members are Gary Hart (University of North Dakota), John Cromartie (ERS), and Richard Morrill (University of Washington). The ORHP project officer is Steve Hirsch.
- An introduction to RUCA Version 2.0 is being written which explains the methodology; provides some basic demographic data; and explains how the taxonomy can be utitilized for health related policy, regulation, and research. This is an ongoing project.
- Some sections of this web site are in the process of development or improvement. This is an ongoing ORHP-funded project.
- Information is beiing added to the download files that allows the “large rural” (4’s, 5’s, 6’s) to be subdivided by the core town’s population (e.g., 10,000-24,999, 25,000-49,999). This is an ongoing project.
- Selected demographic data are being added to the download files (e.g., population categories, age categories, and sex). This is an ongoing project.
- RUCA codes for Puerto Rico are being added to the web site and will be downloadable. Economic Research Service and University of Washington Rural Health Research Center investigators had to use the available data to approximate the RUCA codes for both the Census tract and ZIP code area versions because of less complete Census Bureau data for Puerto Rico. This is an ongoing project.
- The RUCA codes are being added to the Bureau of Health Profession’s 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN). COMPLETED.
- Information is being added to the download files that allows RUCA codes to be differentiated by their Urbanized Area populations (e.g., 50,000-99,999). This is an ongoing project.
- Information is being added to the download files that provide the population of the city/town of the primary work commuting flow and secondary commuting flow for each ZIP code area. This is an ongoing project.
- The federal Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) funded a project to create a telehealth frontier definition. That definition is now under federal review. COMPLETED.
- It is possible that a version of the RUCA codes will be available that allows the codes to be used in work that involves aspects of regionalization. For example, identifiers would be available so that code 5 places could be linked to their large rural cities (code 4 places) and in the case of 5.1 codes be linked to their secondary commuting urbanized areas (code 1 places). The data are available for this but funding has not been available. We may wait until the 2010 Census data are available.
- It is possible that an income index may be developed as a tool for use with the RUCAs. The ZIP code, Census tract, and county income estimates do not seem to meet the needs of researchers. We may provide income estimates as an average for each ZIP code per all the ZIPs within a certain distance. The data are available for this but funding has not been available. We may wait until the 2010 Census data are available.