Census 2010 Urbanized Areas/Urban Clusters Released

Posted on: March 26th, 2012 by Carrie Kissel

On Monday, March 26, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the list of urbanized areas and urban clusters defined on the basis of the 2010 Census.

Urban areas—defined as densely developed residential, commercial and other nonresidential areas—now account for 80.7 percent of the U.S. population, up from 79.0 percent in 2000. Although the rural population—the population in any areas outside of those classified as “urban”—grew by a modest amount from 2000 to 2010, it continued to decline as a percentage of the national population.

The official announcement of urbanized areas will occur via the Federal Register, with the notice providing lists of urbanized areas and urban clusters and their respective 2010 Census populations.  The official publication date for the notice is Tuesday, March 27; however, the notice was available for public viewing as of the morning of March 26.  View the notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-27/pdf/2012-6903.pdf (http://www NULL.gpo NULL.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-27/pdf/2012-6903 NULL.pdf).  The announcement of urban and rural areas also occurred via a press release http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb12-50.html (http://www NULL.census NULL.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb12-50 NULL.html) providing information about the 2010 urban areas as well as urban and rural population in the United States and Puerto Rico.

In conjunction with the announcement, the Census Bureau’s Geography Division released the following items:

  • Lists of urbanized areas and urban clusters with 2010 population, land area, and population density
  • Urbanized area/urban cluster TIGER/Line shapefiles
  • Updated 2010 census block shapefiles with urban/rural flag and urban area code
  • Files providing relationships between urbanized areas/urban clusters and counties, places, county subdivisions, ZCTAs, and metro/micro areas
  • A 2010 urban area to 2000 urban area relationship file
  • Census 2000 to 2010 Census population and land area change for urbanized areas
  • Urban/rural population by state
  • Urban/rural population by county
  • Thematic maps:
    • Distribution of urbanized areas and urban clusters
    • New urbanized areas
    • Percentage of population that is urban by county
    • Percentage of population in urbanized areas by county
    • Ten most populous urbanized areas

These items and other information about the Census Bureau urban-rural classification and urban area delineations can be found on the Census Bureau’s website at http://www.census.gov/geo/www/ua/2010urbanruralclass.html (http://www NULL.census NULL.gov/geo/www/ua/2010urbanruralclass NULL.html).

Regions with MPOs or populations nearing the current MPO population threshold of 50,000 or TMA threshold of 200,000 may wish to also consult the Federal Highway Administration’s Frequently Asked Questions about transportation planning agency designation, at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/census_issues/urbanized_areas_and_mpo_tma/faq (http://www NULL.fhwa NULL.dot NULL.gov/planning/census_issues/urbanized_areas_and_mpo_tma/faq/).  Unless a surface transportation authorization is passed that changes the process, new MPOs would have to be designated by their governors (or existing MPOs expanded) to cover the new urbanized areas 12 months after tomorrow’s Federal Register notice, in March 2013.

New TMAs will be designated through a separate Federal Register notice, expected in about 6 weeks, according to FHWA.

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