Is the United States becoming more urbanized? What percentage of the population now lives in an urban area (as opposed to a rural environment)? Are there ways to define and measure where and to what extent urban expansion is taking place? To answer these questions, we must first have a consensual definition of what it means to be urban or rural. This article will analyze the Census Bureau's official definitions of urban and rural, as well as identify resources for determining how various geographical areas are classified. We will also explore how and where to obtain census and other data that can help us understand the differences between the two types of areas (in terms of population size, age distribution, income levels, poverty, etc.).Vandala, Missouri is composed of 114 counties, with only 33 classified as completely rural. However, only 30.6% of the population is considered to live in rural areas.
This means that nearly 70% of the state's population lives on approximately 2.6% of the land. On a national level, 97.4% of the land surface is classified as rural, but only about 21% of the population lives in these rural areas. The Census Bureau's definition of rural areas includes all territory, population and housing units located outside Urbanized Areas (UAs) and Urban Clusters (UCs). The rural component encompasses both local and non-local territory. Geographic entities such as census districts, counties, metropolitan areas and territory outside metropolitan areas are often divided between urban and rural territory; the population and housing units they contain are often classified partly as urban and partly as rural.
More recently, micropolitan areas - which are metropolitan on a smaller scale - have been included. It is important to note that these two concepts are significantly different. Metropolitan and micropolitan areas comprise entire counties; counties that lie on the periphery of metropolitan areas (exurbs) tend to have most of their land areas and significant parts of their population classified as rural. The metropolitan concept has more to do with whether you live in an area where you have access to an urban center - meaning you can go to work there (this is the main criterion for being included in a metropolitan area), access local radio and television stations, subscribe to local newspapers, etc. There are websites where the definition of rural is presented as outside an MSA (metropolitan statistical area). While some agencies may find it convenient to use these definitions, it is important to remember that they are not official definitions; their widespread use only contributes to confusion.
It may be easier to just say rural than not metropolitan - but this may not be accurate when someone wants to know how many people live in those rural areas. You can get all other detailed tables such as income measures, poverty level tables, averages and distributions of home value, propensity to live in mobile homes etc., all broken down not only by urban and rural but also by several subcategories of urban and rural such as Urbanized Areas (UAs), Urban Clusters (UCs), not in a central place (which could be considered suburban). Summaries of geographical components in summary census files are not new; The Office has always published these summaries although the number of categories has increased. Urban and rural categories have always been the most important and most accessible. However, keep in mind that definitions have changed over time so data isn't entirely comparable. The American Community Survey provides us with summaries of larger geographical areas over a decade.
Hopefully we will be able to obtain summary data on geographical components that will allow us to find out how many people now live in urban areas compared to rural areas and what their characteristics are. What many people think of when they think of a rural lifestyle is one in which going to the city involves an important trip that can only happen once a week or less. But this isn't really true for most of today's rural population. If you're looking for this group, the best category would be people who live in white areas on maps; most of today's rural population (at least in Missouri) may have septic tanks and may not have access to public services or other services in cities but they do live a short drive from a population center; we suspect that most have easy access to a Super Walmart. Most don't live on farms; only about 2.5% of Missouri's population lived on farms in 2000; that's about 1 in 12 rural residents. Most live in areas that look a lot like suburbs or small towns like Hermann or Osage Beach. As urban and rural communities become increasingly differentiated along demographic lines they are also becoming more politically polarized.
Americans in urban and rural communities have very different views when it comes to social and political issues - from feelings toward President Donald Trump to views on immigration.