Defining Rural, Urban and Underserved Areas in Minnesota

Rural and Urban Areas

There are many ways to define Minnesota's rural and urban areas. One is to use the Rural and Urban Commuting Areas (RUCA), which provide an alternative method for analyzing health care workforce data by geography. The RUCA categories are based on size of the city or town and the daily commuting of the population to identify urban cores and adjacent territory economically integrated with those cores. Additional information on RUCA is available from the University of Washington's RUCA site.

Rural Urban Commuting Area Maps:

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care also defines rural to urban areas by referring to the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, which use a county designation. Then, by default, defines other counties as rural if they are not in a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area.

Underserved Areas

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care prepares applications for federal shortage area designation and maintains Minnesota maps of the Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations, which are defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Updated Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:28PM