commercial zip code database

Rural Urban Suburban Data

This database classifies ZIP Codes as being predominately Rural, Urban, or Suburban geographical areas (as opposed to the Census which just has urban vs rural). This classification is based on three key factors: population density (people per square mile), distance from nearest city, and size of the nearest city (urban and suburban areas extend farther for larger cities). rural urban Please note that some ZIP Codes are borderline and therefore there is a degree of subjectivity inherent in this database.

We use Census counts and estimations to calculate the population per ZIP Code based on a ZCTA (Zip Code Tabulation Area). It is an approximation of a ZIP Code derived from U.S. Census Bureau databases and in-house research.

This database is updated regularly as ZIP Codes are added and we receive population updates. It is released quarterly. The price includes an initial download and any updates made during the one year subscription period.

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Rurual Urban Suburban Codes

Around the time of this product’s inception, we found that the Census only had urban vs rural classifications, but nobody had suburban. The Department of Defense had established the following designations for a ZIP Code:
  • Urban: 3,000+ persons per square mile
  • Suburban: 1,000 ‐ 3,000 persons per square mile
  • Rural: less than 1,000 persons per square mile
This was a good starting point, but it soon became apparent that this was inadequate. A lightly populated ZIP Code adjoining a major metropolitan area might have been classified as “Rural” based on population counts alone. To improve it for marketing and other uses, we began factoring in additional information beyond urban vs rural including population of an adjoining city and distance from nearest major city.

Records without a Rural, Urban, or Suburban classification may include: ZIP Codes without population counts or estimates, regular and military PO Boxes, and areas such as Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the South Pacific territories.

Learn more: view the Product Documentation / Watch our Rural, Urban and Suburban video / Watch our Accuracy Matters video

Database Sources

We are licensees of USPS database products, but we enhance our databases based on decades of experience to provide you with the most accurate product available.

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Database Specs & Features

  • Immediate Download

    Download is available immediately upon purchase and for the duration of the annual subscription.

  • Quarterly Updates

    A monthly update of this database is not necessary, so we update the database quarterly and recommend that you download quarterly as well.

  • Free FTP (upon request)

    To update your database without human intervention, we can provide you will your own FTP site that you can write a script to access. Just request it after purchase.

  • Data Format - CSV

    Comma-Separated Values (CSV) Text File

  • 5 Digit ZIP Code

    Official U.S. Postal Service five digit ZIP Code

  • ZIP Type (Business, Military, etc.)

    U.S. Postal Service type codes:
    B = Single High-volume Address
    M = APO/FPO Military
    E = P.O. Box Only
    No value indicates standard general delivery

  • State

    Official U.S. Postal Service state abbreviation

  • County

    The name of the county in which the ZIP Code is found.

  • City

    Official city name used by the U.S. Postal Service

  • Rural Codes

    Locale Indicator:
    R=Rural ZIP Code
    U=Urban ZIP Code
    S=Suburban ZIP Code