The Census Bureau Updates Criteria for Defining Urban Areas

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau published its final criteria for defining urban areas based on the results of the 2020 Decennial Census.  Rather than distinctions for urbanized area or an urban cluster, all areas with a population of at least 5,000 and containing at least 2,000 housing units will be designated urban areas. The notice defines rural as territory not defined as urban. Some federal and state agencies use the Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification for allocating funds, setting standards, and implementing aspects of their programs. Stakeholders should be aware that the changes to the urban area criteria also might affect the implementation of these programs.