Federal definitions of rurality and the impact on nursing research

Res Nurs Health. 2007 Apr;30(2):175-84. doi: 10.1002/nur.20194.


In rural health research, the measurement of rural residence is commonly dichotomized as urban or rural, even though researchers encourage the use of more descriptive categories to capture rural diversity. Federal categorization schemes for operationalizing rural locations include United States Census Bureau definitions, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) classifications, and categorizations developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)--Rural-Urban Continuum Codes (RUCC), Urban Influence Codes (UIC), and Rural-Urban Commuting Areas. When categorizing states by rurality, the choice of the measure used influences which states are identified as most rural. We demonstrate this premise in a study of rural home healthcare.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Censuses*
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Federal Government*
  • Government Regulation
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Nursing Research / organization & administration*
  • Population Density
  • Research Design
  • Residence Characteristics / classification*
  • Rural Health
  • Rural Health Services
  • Rural Population / classification*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Vulnerable Populations / classification