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).
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.
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
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