Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Proposed Urban Area Criteria for the 2010 Census

The Census Bureau announces publication of the "Proposed Urban Area Criteria for the 2010 Census" in the Federal Register of August 24, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 163), available HERE or HERE (PDF). The Census Bureau is seeking public comment on these proposed criteria. Comments, suggestions, or recommendations regarding the criteria should be submitted in writing, no later than November 22, 2010, to Timothy Trainor, Chief, Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233-7400.

The Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification is fundamentally a delineation of geographical areas, identifying individual urbanized areas of 50,000 or more people and urban clusters of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people; “rural” encompasses all population and territory not included in urban areas. The Census Bureau’s urban areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses. Additional information about the Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification, including proposed urban area criteria for the 2010 Census, as well as summaries of the proposed changes is available on the Census Bureau’s website.

Changes proposed for the 2010 Census include:

• Use of census tracts as analysis units in the initial phase of delineation
• Potential return to a maximum jump distance of 1.5 miles (the distance was increased to 2.5 miles in the Census 2000 criteria).
• Use of land use/land cover data to identify territory containing non-residential urban land uses or land cover that restricts urban development, such as marshland and wetlands.
• Lowering the minimum number of enplanements (departing passengers) from 10,000 to 2,500 to qualify airports for inclusion in urban areas.
• Elimination of the central place concept.
• Requirement that, in addition to at least 2,500 total population, an area must contain at least 1,500 persons residing outside institutional group quarters to qualify as urban.
• Splitting urban agglomerations of 1,000,000 or more population based on metropolitan statistical area boundaries, or, in New England, along metropolitan New England city and town area boundaries.

For further information about the Census Bureau urban-rural classification, or the proposed criteria for the 2010 Census, please contact Vincent Osier, Chief, Geographic Standards and Criteria Branch, Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau, via e-mail at vincent.osier@census.gov or telephone at 301-763-9039.

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