Stronger Economies Together
Definition of Rural:
Calculations and Resources to Assist Applicants

The list of counties/parishes provided for your state is intended to give you an overview of how counties or parishes are defined by the Census Bureau in terms of their metro or nonmetro status (with nonmetro being composed of micropolitan and noncore counties). Our intent is to have the SET program launched in regions that are made up, in large part, of nonmetro areas (micro and/or noncore counties). But, a metro county CAN BE included in a region -- we simply don't want metro counties to dominate the region being created by the applicants for the SET program.

The key is to provide evidence that the regions that are applying for the SET programs are able to meet one of the following two conditions:

  1. 51% or more of the region's population is classified as rural; OR
  2. 75% of the region's land area is located in rural areas of that region. We don't have data on the land area, but would urge the regions to use your own state data resources to help make the case that the regions applying for the SET program have met the land area condition (if this is the criterion the region is using to qualify for the SET program).

Let us provide you with an example. Let's assume that a regional team from MS was putting an application together and these are the counties that they selected to be part of their region:

County County Type 2000 Pop. 2000 Rural Pop.
Rankin Metro 115,327 46,148
Scott Noncore 28,423 19,948
Smith Noncore 16,182 16,182
Leake Noncore 20,940 17,167
TOTAL   180,872 99,445
As you can see, 3 of the 4 counties are nonmetro/noncore counties and the percent of the total population that is rural is 99,445/180,872 = 55%. So, it meets the rural population criterion for the region. If you have access to additional information for your counties/parishes that provides the rural population numbers, feel free to use those data.

State Data

Other Resources