Tag Archives: urban/rural

Urban Area Demographic Trends 2010-15

.. tools and analytics to examine all urban areas with particular focus on Urbanized Areas and demographic change between 2010 and 2015 .. examining urban areas in context of metropolitan areas .. the four fastest growing Urbanized Areas (UAs) from 2010 to 2015 were in Texas. McKinney, TX UA led the nation with an increase of 27.5% in total population. View, rank, compare 2010 and 2015 demographic characteristics for UAs using the interactive table in this related section. Urban areas (Urbanized Areas and Urban Clusters) are important for many reasons. More than metros and cities, urban area geography better reflects how the urban and rural population is changing. Both metros and cities can change geographic boundary over the years. Urban areas are based on Census 2010 and unchanging between 2010 and 2020. Annual demographic updates are available from the American Community Survey (ACS 2015).

This section is focused on tools and analytics to examine all urban areas with particular focus on Urbanized Areas and demographic change between 2010 and 2015. Use the interactive table >in the related section to view, rank, query urban areas and demographic change for larger urban areas. Use the related GIS tools and data to develop related thematic and relationship maps. Perform geospatial analysis of geographic and demographic-economic characteristics using the resources we have developed. Gain insights into patterns that might affect you. Use these resources to collaborate on how, where, what, when and why of change.

McKinney TX Urbanized Area in Context of City
The McKinney, TX UA (bold orange pattern) is shown in context of McKinney city (cross-hatched area) and other urban areas (lighter orange pattern). It is easy to see that some parts of the city are rural and that the UA extends beyond the city in many areas. See more about the McKinney UA and in comparison to other urban areas using the interactive table.


– view created using CVGIS software and related GIS project.

Most Urbanized Areas (UAs, 435 of 487) have population 65,000 population or more resulting in the availability of annual demographic-economic estimates. Data are fresher than available for smaller urban areas (ACS 5-year estimates for areas under 65,000). This means more current data to assess more recent characteristics. As annual data are available UAs enabling analysis of change over time. The “2010s” marks the first time these refreshed, time series-like data have been available for urban areas. Businesses and those examining change performing market analysis benefit from the ability to examine characteristics or urban areas in combination with counties and metros.

Houston Urbanized Area in Context of Houston Metro
The Houston metro has a bold brown boundary. It is easy to see how the Houston UA (darker orange fill pattern) geographically relates to the metro. Other urban areas (all) are shown with a lighter orange fill pattern. It is easy to see the urban/pattern character of the general region. While the Houston UA is the largest, there are four UAs that intersect with Houston metro. Use the interactive table below to view their names and characteristics.


– view created using CVGIS software and related GIS project.

Urbanized Areas tend to be associated with metropolitan areas having a similar name. But very often there are multiple UAs within a metro; sometimes one is not dominant. Often there are several UAs in a metro having similar size. Use the interactive table below to view the relationship of UAs and metros (CBSAs).

Using Interactive Table
Use the interactive table to view, rank, compare, query urban areas based on a selection of demographic measures. The following graphic illustrates how the table can be used. Click graphic for larger view.

The graphic shows the urbanized areas ranked in descending order based on 2010-2015 population. The rightmost column shows the area percent change in population over the period.

Fastest Growing Urbanized Areas, 2010-15

Try it yourself. Use the table to examine urban area patterns and characteristics based on your selected criteria.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

Mapping Urban/Rural Patterns by Census Block

Knowing about a geographic area by its urban/rural status is important for many reasons … the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires service providers to identify their deployment areas by census block. Internet service provider incentive programs exist that are geared toward rural areas. Telcom businesses increasingly use census block geography to determine/analyze markets. The related FCC E-Rate program uses urban/rural status to manage rate structures. Many Federal transportation programs rely on a clear distinction between urban and rural areas. Businesses might be interested in reaching markets that are predominantly rural versus suburban versus urban. Emergency service operations may differ by urban/rural status for many regions; being able to plan for low density population areas can be essential. There is a long list of reasons for importance, not the least of which are the societal implications as the U.S. continues to become more urban and less rural.

Based on the Census Bureau urban/rural definition, the Census 2010 U.S. urban population was 249,253,271 (80.7%) and the rural population was 59,492,276 (19.3%). The Census Bureau urban-rural classification is a delineation of geographical areas identifying both individual urban areas and rural areas of the nation. Urban areas are densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. The Census Bureau does not identify geographic areas as “suburban.” There is no Census Bureau classification for suburban areas or suburban population. We will cover the topic of suburban areas and suburban population in the near future. More about the urban population.

About this Section
This section is focused on use of GIS resources to visually analyze patterns of urban/rural geography based on Census 2010 census blocks. We review census block level geography and urban/rural status in the context of a metro, an urbanized area, a city/place, a school district, and census tract. Applications illustrated here make use of the Austin-Round Rock, TX metro; similar views/applications may be developed for any county or metro. Members of the ProximityOne User Group ( join now, no fee) may use the GIS software and project files to create similar and more detailed views/analyses. After installing CV XE GIS Windows CV XE GIS installer, expand the GIS project (userid required) to c:\cvxe\1\; start CV XE GIS; open the GIS project c:\cvxe\1\austinblks1_tract.gis.

See related Web page for more details about the GIS project.

Defining Urban/Rural Geography and Census Blocks
For Census 2010, an urban area is a densely settled core of census tracts and/or census blocks that meet minimum population density requirements, along with adjacent territory containing non-residential urban land uses as well as territory with low population density included to link outlying densely settled territory 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. There are two types of urban areas:
• Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people
• Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people
As of Census 2010, there were 3,573 urban areas comprised of 486 urbanized areas (UAs) with population 219,922,123 and 3,087 urban clusters (UCs) with population 29,331,148.

Rural encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.

A census block is the smallest geographic tabulation area and is classified as either all urban or all rural. More about census blocks.

Austin-Round Rock Metro by Census Block
In the following view, blocks with the orange fill pattern shows all census blocks classified as urban in the metro; rural blocks have a gray fill pattern.
This view is developed by setting the block layer query to UR10=’U’.

Click graphic for larger view. View created using CV XE GIS and related GIS project. Use the GIS project to create similar views. Zoom to an area of interest. Add name, codes, or data values as labels. Add other geography. A selection of possibilities is shown below.

Austin-Round Rock Urbanized Area by Census Block
Blocks with the orange fill pattern comprise the Austin-Round Rock Urbanized Area. This view is developed by setting the block layer query to UACE10=’04384′ (urban section).

Click graphic for larger view.

Austin City by Census Block
Blocks with the orange fill pattern are urban blocks within Austin city.
This view is developed by setting the block layer query to UR10=’U’ and place=’05000′ (urban section).

Click graphic for larger view.

Austin ISD School District by Census Block
Blocks with the orange fill pattern are urban blocks with the Austin ISD school district.  This view is developed by setting the block layer query to SDUNI=’08940′ and ur10=’U’ (urban section).

Click graphic for larger view.

Travis County Census Tract “19.14” by Census Block
The next view shows a zoom-in to census tract “19.14” in Travis County, TX. See more about census tracts. Blocks with the orange fill pattern are urban blocks; rural blocks have a gray fill pattern. This view is developed by setting the block layer query to SDUNI=’08940′ and ur10=’U’ (urban section). The Census 2010 total population is shown as a label for each census block.

Click graphic for larger view.

Support Using these Resources
Learn more about accessing and using decision-making data; examine characteristics and patterns for your study areas and applications. Join us in a Decision-Making Information Web session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants.