This website contains historical information on the RUCAs - an update is in progress
Rural Health Research Center Center for Workforce Studies Regional Information Center


Map Classifications

We have created several maps which show different ways of classifying RUCA codes. Because the RUCA codes are assigned at the ZIP code level (as shown here), they reveal greater variation in the extent of rural and urban differences than can be achieved when codes are assigned at the level of the county (e.g. metro/non-metro county distinctions and Urban Influence Codes). Further, because RUCA codes are divided into 33 different categories, they capture more variation in the type of rurality/urbanity.

Four category classification, Census Division. In these maps, the 33 RUCA codes are aggregated into four cateogries: urban, large rural, small rural, and isolated. The classification is as follows:

Seven category classification. In these maps (created for each state), the 33 RUCA codes are aggregated into seven categories: urban, other urban, large rural core, other large rural, small rural core, other small rural,and isolated. The purpose of the classification method is to highlight the distinction between core areas and their peripheries, with the exception of the isolated areas, which are not defined by a core area. This classification method is useful for understanding the hierarchies within different levels of urbanity (i.e. large urban, large rural, small rural). The RUCA codes are classified as follows: