DATA SOURCES

Census Bureau – Population and Housing Unit Estimates Tables

Census Bureau – Urban Rural Classification, 2010

Census Bureau – Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Delineation

 

DATA BACKGROUND

Census of Population and Housing. Also known as the Census of Population and Housing, the Decennial U.S. Census is designed to count every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.

The Census 2010 determined that 308,745,538 people resided in the United States on April 1, 2010. The Census Bureau is expected to announce the new population counts for Census 2020 by December 31, 2020.

For each years in between decennial census counts, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program (PEP) produces estimates of the population for the United States, states, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, counties, cities, and towns.

Delineation of urban and rural areas. In addition to conducting a Census every ten years and preparing inter-censal population estimates, the Census Bureau delineates urban and rural areas in the United States. The Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification is fundamentally a delineation of geographical areas, identifying both individual urban areas and the rural areas of the nation.

The Census Bureau’s urban areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. An urban area comprise a densely settled core of census tracts and/or census blocks that meet minimum population density requirements, along with adjacent territories to link surrounding densely settled areas with the densely settled core.

To qualify as an urban area, the territory identified according to criteria must encompass at least 2,500 people (at least 1,500 of which reside outside institutional group quarters). The Census Bureau identifies 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” areas encompass all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines urban and rural status at the census block level. Therefore, a local government jurisdiction, such as a municipality, may be urban (located wholly within an urban area), rural (located entirely outside an urban area), or contain both urban and rural territory (for instance, with only the densely settled portion of the city being classified as being within an urban area).

Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas. Metropolitan and micropolitan areas are regions consisting of a densely populated urban core and their less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. Collectively, metropolitan and micropolitan areas are referred to as Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs).

Urbanized areas and urban clusters form the urban cores of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, respectively. Each metropolitan statistical area contains at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more people; each micropolitan statistical area contains at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 and less than 50,000 people.

The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delineates metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, according to published standards that are applied to Census Bureau data. Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas represent the functional regions (defined as one or more counties) associated with urban centers.