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Measuring Rurality: 2004 County Typology Codes

Contents
 
Contents
 

An area's economic and social characteristics have significant effects on its development and need for various types of public programs. To provide policy-relevant information about diverse county conditions to policymakers, public officials, and researchers, ERS has developed a new set of county-level typology codes that captures differences in economic and social characteristics. This 2004 County Typology is a major update and revision of ERS's 1989 County Typology.

In contrast to earlier ERS county typologies, the 2004 County Typology Codes were developed for all 3,141 counties, county equivalents, and independent cities in the United States. Their primary function is to help differentiate among nonmetro counties, but metro counties are also coded to facilitate comparisons. Metropolitan and nonmetropolitan (micropolitan and noncore) are those designated by the Office of Management and Budget in 2003, based on population and commuting data from the 2000 census.

The 2004 County Typology (download data) classifies all U.S. counties according to six non-overlapping categories of economic dependence and seven overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes. Click the links that follow to view maps of each of the types.

More on methods, data sources, and documentation.

Download the 2004 County Typology Codes.

Access the 1989 County Typology Codes.

 

 

Economic Type—Codes and definitions of the categories are as follows:

Farming-dependent (440 total, 403 nonmetro) counties—either 15 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors' earnings derived from farming during 1998-2000 or 15 percent or more of employed residents worked in farm occupations in 2000. Note that a few counties have changed farm dependency status from the preliminary group posted in May 2004. See methods, data sources, and documentation for an explanation of these changes.

Mining-dependent (128 total, 113 nonmetro) counties—15 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors' earnings derived from mining during 1998-2000.

Manufacturing-dependent (905 total, 585 nonmetro) counties—25 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors' earnings derived from manufacturing during 1998-2000.

Federal/State government-dependent (381 total, 222 nonmetro) counties—15 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors' earnings derived from Federal and State government during 1998-2000.

Services-dependent (340 total, 114 nonmetro) counties—45 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors' earnings derived from services (SIC categories of retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; and services) during 1998-2000.

Nonspecialized (948 total, 615 nonmetro) counties—did not meet the dependence threshold for any one of the above industries.

 
Policy Types—These indicators are not mutually exclusive; definitions of the types are as follows:

Housing stress (537 total, 302 nonmetro) counties—30 percent or more of households had one or more of these housing conditions in 2000: lacked complete plumbing, lacked complete kitchen, paid 30 percent or more of income for owner costs or rent, or had more than 1 person per room. See methods for more details.

Low-education (622 total, 499 nonmetro) counties—25 percent or more of residents 25-64 years old had neither a high school diploma nor GED in 2000.

Low-employment (460 total, 396 nonmetro) counties—less than 65 percent of residents 21-64 years old were employed in 2000.

Persistent poverty (386 total, 340 nonmetro) counties—20 percent or more of residents were poor as measured by each of the last 4 censuses, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000.

Population loss (601 total, 532 nonmetro) counties—number of residents declined both between the 1980 and 1990 censuses and between the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

Nonmetro recreation (334 designated nonmetro in either 1993 or 2003, 34 were designated metro in 2003) counties—classified using a combination of factors, including share of employment or share of earnings in recreation-related industries in 1999, share of seasonal or occasional use housing units in 2000, and per capita receipts from motels and hotels in 1997. See methods for more details.

Retirement destination (440 total, 277 nonmetro) counties—number of residents 60 and older grew by 15 percent or more between 1990 and 2000 due to inmigration.

More on methods, data sources, and documentation.

Download the 2004 County Typology Codes.

Access the 1989 County Typology Codes.

 

For more information, contact: Tim Parker

Web administration: webadmin@ers.usda.gov

Updated date: June 26, 2005