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2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification and Urban Area Criteria

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.

For the 2010 Census, an urban area will comprise 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.  The Census Bureau identifies 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.

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

Urban, Urbanized Area, Urban Cluster, and Rural Population, 2010 and 2000: United States

Area Number of 2010
Urban Areas
Population Percentage of Total Population
2010 2000 2010 2000
United States 3,573 308,745,538 281,421,906

Urban
249,253,271 222,360,539 80.7% 79.0%
Urbanized Areas 486 219,922,123 192,323,824 71.2% 68.3%
Urban Clusters 3,087 29,331,148 30,036,715 9.5% 10.7%
Rural
59,492,267 59,061,367 19.3% 21.0%

Urban, Urbanized Area, Urban Cluster, and Rural Population, 2010 and 2000: Puerto Rico

Area Number of 2010
Urban Areas
Population Percentage of Total Population
2010 2000 2010 2000
Puerto Rico 19 3,725,789 3,808,610    
Urban   3,493,256 3,590,994 93.8% 94.3%
Urbanized Areas 11 3,379,977 3,476,691 90.7% 91.3%
Urban Clusters 8 113,279 114,303 3.0% 3.0%
Rural   232,533 217,616 6.2% 5.6%

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