Urbanized Area and Urban Cluster Populations
Data are now included in the RUCA ZIP Version 2 download files on the populations of the Census Bureau defined Urbanized Areas and Urban Clusters associated with the RUCA codes. These data were not made available for Version 1 of the RUCAs. The data are available for: a) the population of the primary work commuting flow destination, b) the population of the secondary (second largest) work commuting flow destination, and c) the origin ZIP code (if it is within a defined Urbanized Area or Urban Cluster).
These data are provided so that they can be used in combination with the RUCA codes to refine their use. Here is a list of some but not all of the ways in which these data can be used with the RUCA codes:
- RUCA code 4s (large rural cities/towns with populations from 10,000-49,999) can be divided into subcategories (e.g., smaller and larger than 20,000) – this is often useful for policies and research because the 4s have a wide range of populations.
- While in the past the 1s (Urbanized Area cores with 50,000 or greater population) had to be treated simply as one category, the new information allows them to be subdivided into subcategories (e.g., less than 100K, 100K-499K, and 500K or greater).
- The population data allows the user to better target ZIP code areas by dividing ZIPs within RUCA codes based on the size of the cities/towns to which they are commuting (e.g., 4.1 ZIPs can be divided based on the size of the Urbanized Area to which they commute per their secondary flows and/or based on the size of the 4 Urban Clusters to which they belong).
- If a ZIP code is within a Census Bureau defined Urbanized Area or Urban Cluster, the data indicates the size of that city/town (keep in mind that ZIPs can be in one type of Census Bureau defined unit and have their primary work commuting flow to another – for instance, a ZIP could be part of an Urban Cluster of population 15,000 and have 90% of its work commuters commuting to an Urbanized Area – in such a case the ZIP would be given a RUCA code of 2 – thus, the new information allows the user to know the size of the independent city/towns).