The Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification is a delineation of geographic areas, identifying both individual urban areas and the rural area of the nation. The Census Bureau’s urban areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. The Census Bureau delineates urban areas after each decennial census by applying specified criteria to decennial census and other data. Rural encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.
For the 2020 Census, an urban area will comprise a densely settled core of census blocks that meet minimum housing unit density and/or population density requirements. This includes adjacent territory containing non-residential urban land uses. To qualify as an urban area, the territory identified according to criteria must encompass at least 2,000 housing units or have a population of at least 5,000.
For comparable information for 2010 urban areas, go to the Federal Register Notice webpage.
There are currently two ways to access the 2020 Census Urban Area TIGER/Line Shapefile:
Additionally, the 2020 Census Tabulation Block TIGER/Line Shapefiles contain urban and rural information. There are currently two ways to access the 2020 Census Tabulation Block TIGER/Line Shapefiles:
Access the 2020 Census Urban Area TIGER/Line Geodatabase on the 2020 tab, by selecting the Urban Areas National Geodatabase [507 MB].
Access the 2020 Census Urban Area relationship files on the 2020 tab.
For questions regarding urban areas or the urban-rural classification, contact the Census Bureau by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the history of Urban and Rural Classification, please see: