Compendium of “Rural” Definitions

There are almost as many definitions of “rural” as there are persons who use the term. Most often, rural is identified by default when defining that which is not urban. Although this vaguely defined description of rural is adequate to serve the needs of the layperson, it is not specific enough to be used in the administration of public programs or when conducting research.

Rural Pennsylvania: Where Is It Anyway?

To help clarify the most commonly used definitions of “rural” and “urban,” the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health has compiled Rural Pennsylvania: Where Is It Anyway?, a compendium of the definitions of rural and urban for Pennsylvania. This resource uses the definitions from the agencies that are the authorities on the definitions of rural and urban: the U.S. Census Bureau, the Office of Management and Budget, the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

Am I Rural?

The following tool has been developed to assist with determining whether or not a specific location is considered rural. Several definitions of rural are considered, including the definitive definitions of rural for purposes related to determination of eligibility criteria for programs operated by the federal government. All agencies interested in applying for federal rural health funding are encouraged to use this tool to determine eligibility.

Am I Rural?