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What is "Rural"?

Depends on who you ask. There are many rural-urban classification schemes, each with their own purpose and way of defining “rural”. The resources below explain the differences and describe things to consider when selecting a definition.

Defining Rural for Wisconsin – A discussion of how different definitions are used for different decisions.

Putting Rural Wisconsin on the Map – A WisCONTEXT article describing how defining rural can help us better understand rural-urban differences.

Wisconsin Divided Ten Ways: A Review of Rural-Urban Classification Systems – A report defining rural Wisconsin according to ten commonly-used classification systems.

Appendix A – County Classifications
Appendix B – Census Tract Classifications
Appendix C – ZIP Code Classifications
Appendix D – Municipal Classifications

Am I Rural? – The Rural Health Information Hub’s Am I Rural? tool can be used to determine whether a specific location is considered rural based on multiple definitions.

Municipal-level Urban-Rural Classification (MURC) – MURC was developed  by the Office of Rural Health to identify the level of rurality of each of Wisconsin’s 1,850 cities, towns, and villages.

Penny Black
Staff Contact:

Penny Black
Data and Evaluation Program Manager
(608) 261-1887

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