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Thread: Difference between urban area and urban clusters?

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    Difference between urban area and urban clusters?

    What's the difference and urban area and urban clusters?

    examples of each?

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    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    What's the difference and urban area and urban clusters?

    examples of each?

    Definition of urban area by U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/cen...qa2cdt.htm#q24

    Examples of Urban Areas: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet...s=271841131565 (select Urban Area from drop down menu - third from bottom. It may take a second to load).

    Definition of urban cluster by U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/cen...qa2cdt.htm#q26

    Examples of urban clusters: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/maps/uc2kmaps.htm (scroll through the long list to find examples near you).
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

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    Okay, and in general there is rural census designated places, urbanized census designated places, and cities?

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    So am I right to say the three types of communities in California are rural census designated places, urbanized census designated places, and cities?

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    Yes and no.

    If you are referring to “census geography”, cities and census designated places are two, among many, units of census geography. They do represent communities, but do not include all communities.

    Cities (and ‘towns”, which are the same thing for purposes of state law, being alternative names for an incorporated municipality) are exactly that – incorporated municipalities, with set boundaries and a government. Census designated places are identified by the Census Bureau, using Census Bureau boundaries – basically, visible features. The criteria for identification of census designated places changed significantly with the 2000 census. Local input is important in what is identified as a census designated place.

    To meet local data needs, my county – Plumas (with one city) – obtained 44 census designated places for the 2000 census. We tried for more, but some were disallowed, as not meeting the criteria. To meet local data needs, we pushed the criteria as far as we could, and a little more. We tried to get a census designated place for every hamlet, and a few other communities. Lassen County, an adjoining county with a larger population, and somewhat different geography, has far fewer places, and its census designated places do not include some that I would have proposed. I figured my counterparts in Lassen County knew their data needs and pursued those to the extent they thought necessary.

    The Census Bureau distinguishes urban from rural. Within urban are included urbanized areas and urban clusters. Rural is not subdivided.

    Examples from the 2000 census:

    Chico city (Butte County)
    Population 59,954
    Urban 59,954
    Inside urbanized areas 59,954

    Portola city (Plumas County)
    Population 2,227
    Urban 2,151
    Inside urban clusters 2,151
    Rural 76

    Quincy census designated place (Plumas County)
    Rural 1,879

    C-Road census designated place (Plumas County)
    Rural 152

    Tract 1 (Plumas County)
    Rural 5,441

    Tract 1 includes the census designated places of Quincy and East Quincy and the rest of American Valley. The census designated places approximate the community service districts for Quincy and East Quincy while census tract 1 approximates the Quincy fire district, which covers both designated places and most of the rest of the valley in which they are located. In some ways, the two census designated places function as separate communities, in others, they function – along with additional area -- as a single community.

    Thus, the “no”.

    And that is only one example of the “no”. Before the change in criteria for the 2000 census, tracts and block groups functioned well for community data in Plumas County. When the criteria changed for the 2000 census, and the block groups had to cover larger areas, including multiple communities (from the local perspective), it was to local benefit that the criteria for designated places were expanded and those could be used for smaller communities, meeting local data needs.

    Then, of course. There are the larger areas. Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

    All these are Census Bureau terms, along with block, block group, and tract. They are not specific to California. There are some census Bureau terms that do apply to specific areas, such as New England Metropolitan County Area, reflecting a different political geography.

    So, County (also used by the Census Bureau, Metropolitan Statistical Area, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, City, Census Designated Place, Tract, Block Group and even Block (in some rural areas) can be units of census geography that represent communities, depending on what one cares to define as a community. And all those can be either urban, further subdivided into urbanized areas and urban clusters, or rural – with the possibilities of some of both – see Portola.

    Political geography is a bit different. In California, there are Counties, Cities (Towns) and City and County (San Francisco). There are other political entities with fewer, more specific powers – special districts. Community service districts have the broadest range of powers after cities and often represent communities.

    Transguy gave you links for your original question. The latest is more complex.

    Maybe.

    For Census Bureau definitions, I recommend the bureau’s website, census.gov. ; for data, American Factfinder, accessible through the website.

    Are you working with census and American Community Survey data and need to understand the geography, or is this a general question?

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    Quote Originally posted by S. Allen View post
    Yes and no.

    If you are referring to “census geography”, cities and census designated places are two, among many, units of census geography. They do represent communities, but do not include all communities.

    Cities (and ‘towns”, which are the same thing for purposes of state law, being alternative names for an incorporated municipality) are exactly that – incorporated municipalities, with set boundaries and a government. Census designated places are identified by the Census Bureau, using Census Bureau boundaries – basically, visible features. The criteria for identification of census designated places changed significantly with the 2000 census. Local input is important in what is identified as a census designated place.

    To meet local data needs, my county – Plumas (with one city) – obtained 44 census designated places for the 2000 census. We tried for more, but some were disallowed, as not meeting the criteria. To meet local data needs, we pushed the criteria as far as we could, and a little more. We tried to get a census designated place for every hamlet, and a few other communities. Lassen County, an adjoining county with a larger population, and somewhat different geography, has far fewer places, and its census designated places do not include some that I would have proposed. I figured my counterparts in Lassen County knew their data needs and pursued those to the extent they thought necessary.

    The Census Bureau distinguishes urban from rural. Within urban are included urbanized areas and urban clusters. Rural is not subdivided.

    Examples from the 2000 census:

    Chico city (Butte County)
    Population 59,954
    Urban 59,954
    Inside urbanized areas 59,954

    Portola city (Plumas County)
    Population 2,227
    Urban 2,151
    Inside urban clusters 2,151
    Rural 76

    Quincy census designated place (Plumas County)
    Rural 1,879

    C-Road census designated place (Plumas County)
    Rural 152

    Tract 1 (Plumas County)
    Rural 5,441

    Tract 1 includes the census designated places of Quincy and East Quincy and the rest of American Valley. The census designated places approximate the community service districts for Quincy and East Quincy while census tract 1 approximates the Quincy fire district, which covers both designated places and most of the rest of the valley in which they are located. In some ways, the two census designated places function as separate communities, in others, they function – along with additional area -- as a single community.

    Thus, the “no”.

    And that is only one example of the “no”. Before the change in criteria for the 2000 census, tracts and block groups functioned well for community data in Plumas County. When the criteria changed for the 2000 census, and the block groups had to cover larger areas, including multiple communities (from the local perspective), it was to local benefit that the criteria for designated places were expanded and those could be used for smaller communities, meeting local data needs.

    Then, of course. There are the larger areas. Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

    All these are Census Bureau terms, along with block, block group, and tract. They are not specific to California. There are some census Bureau terms that do apply to specific areas, such as New England Metropolitan County Area, reflecting a different political geography.

    So, County (also used by the Census Bureau, Metropolitan Statistical Area, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, City, Census Designated Place, Tract, Block Group and even Block (in some rural areas) can be units of census geography that represent communities, depending on what one cares to define as a community. And all those can be either urban, further subdivided into urbanized areas and urban clusters, or rural – with the possibilities of some of both – see Portola.

    Political geography is a bit different. In California, there are Counties, Cities (Towns) and City and County (San Francisco). There are other political entities with fewer, more specific powers – special districts. Community service districts have the broadest range of powers after cities and often represent communities.

    Transguy gave you links for your original question. The latest is more complex.

    Maybe.

    For Census Bureau definitions, I recommend the bureau’s website, census.gov. ; for data, American Factfinder, accessible through the website.

    Are you working with census and American Community Survey data and need to understand the geography, or is this a general question?
    It's a general question. I am now more confused before.

    So there is towns and cities in California? They can be classified as rural, and urban and subdivided into urban cluster or urban area?

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    I thought that would be the result.

    There are three basic units of local government in California (political geography).
    Urban and rural are not components of the definitions of any of them.

    There are counties, of which there are fifty eight.

    There are cities, which may also be called towns. Under state law, the terms are synonymous. The last I checked, there were about 480.

    One of the counties is also a city. The City and County of San Francisco.

    There are special districts. These can range of more or less single purpose – such as fire districts or cemetery districts– to community service districts, which are only a few powers short of being cities. There are many.

    There are various state statues that use the terms urban and rural. Some of them have definitions specific to the statute, others reference definitions used by the Census Bureau or the Office of Management and Budget, depending on the purpose of the use of the term.

    “Urban area” (“urbanized area”) and “urban cluster” are most often used in the meanings established by the Census Bureau. “Rural” is most often used in the meaning established by the Census Bureau, but is more frequently used with other meanings, since “rural” is of long standing common use while “urbanized area” and “urban cluster” are of more recent vintage and retain the flavor of technical jargon. “Urban” is used almost as freely as “rural”. Outside technical use, much depends on context.

    “Census Designated Places”, often casually referred to as “designated places”, are a component of Census geography, established by the Census Bureau.

    In its data collection, compilation, and publication, the Census Bureau uses the boundaries of counties and cities(towns). It does not use the boundaries of special districts. The Census Bureau also uses other units of Census geography.

    The boundaries of counties and cities (towns) used as political geography and Census geography correspond.

    Cities typically include “urbanized areas” and “urban clusters”, but can also include rural areas. Counties typically include “rural” areas and can include “urban areas” “urbanized areas” and “urbanized clusters”. Not all areas that one might consider urban are included within the bounds of a city(town).

    Census designated places can include “urban areas”, “urbanized areas”, “urban clusters” and “rural”. Since Census designated places are identified with local input, what constitutes a census designated place, within Census Bureau criteria, can vary widely from county to county.

    Not all areas are included within cities(towns) or census designated places. Those areas not included in cities(towns) or census designated places can include “urban areas”, “urbanized areas”, “urban clusters” and “rural”

    Mixing political geography, as defined by a state, and census geography, as defined by the federal government, makes a fruit salad. You have apples and oranges, grapes and kiwi, and sometimes some nuts

    You were given good references for the definitions of “urban area” and “urban cluster”.

    In answer to your second question: yes there are rural census designated places; urbanized (urban area or urbanized cluster, or both) census designated places; and cities(also known as towns) which can contain any combination of rural, urbanized area, and urbanized cluster.

    Your third question is where the greater complications come in: “the three types of communities in California are rural census designated places, urbanized census designated places, and cities? “

    Yes and no.

    First because there you have introduced another term –“community”. Yes, there are three such types of communities, in Census geography, but there are other variations just within those terms, plus other units of Census geography that also represent communities, depending on what one means by a “community”.

    Add political geography to that, and it gets more complex.

    If one were to compile data based on Census geography, that data could be compiled by census designated place and city (town) with rural and urban options within both, with the urban areas further subdivided into “urbanized area” and “urban cluster” . That would not include the territory or persons who live outside the census designated places and cities (towns). Throw those in as “other”

    One would have:

    Census designated places
    Urban
    Inside urbanized areas
    Inside urban clusters
    Rural
    Cities(towns)
    Urban
    Inside urbanized areas
    Inside urban clusters
    Rural
    Other
    Urban
    Inside urbanized areas
    Inside urban clusters
    Rural
    This probably just makes it more confusing..

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    Wow, okay. So basically any community can be urban or rural. How can a city be rural though?

    Would this make sense then:

    incorporated communities
    non-incorporated communities

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    The Census Bureau’s criteria for identifying urbanized areas and urban clusters are lengthy. Their summary version is:

    For Census 2000, the Census Bureau classifies as "urban" all territory, population, and housing units located within an urbanized area (UA) or an urban cluster (UC). It delineates UA and UC boundaries to encompass densely settled territory, which consists of:

    • core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile and

    • surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile

    In addition, under certain conditions, less densely settled territory may be part of each UA or UC.

    The certain conditions are also lengthy, but include such things as putting airports in urban areas.

    Rural is everything else.

    Cities can have areas of low density. Sometimes extensive areas of low density. I know of one instance where a city annexed an area of a few thousand acres, roughly increasing its area three fold. The annexed area had two or three houses on it. If those areas do not meet the “certain conditions”, they end up “rural.”

    A distinction between incorporated and non-incorporated can be made and is legitimate. In California, an incorporated area would be called a city or a town, or a city and county.

    The value of the distinction depends on how one wants to use it. There are densely populated areas meeting the definitions of urbanized area and urban clusters that are not within incorporated areas. Some of those will be included in census designated places.

    On American FactFinder, data for individual cities can be found under “places” with the suffix “city”. Census designated places have the suffix “CDP”.

    The different states have different methods of municipal organization. The Census Bureau recognizes some political boundaries -- States, counties, incorporated areas (typically cities) among them -- but not others. The broad variation in those among the states is one reason the Census Bureau has its own “geography”.

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    so just to recap,

    city (incorporated community: urbanized area or urban cluster, or some parts rural
    non-incorporated community: urban cluster and rural

    what is a metropolitan division? I heard Los Angeles is in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and the "Greater Los Angeles Area" is what is called a metropolitan division. Would Pasadena, Burbank, and Glendale also be in the metropolitan division?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    so just to recap,

    city (incorporated community: urbanized area or urban cluster, or some parts rural
    non-incorporated community: urban cluster and rural

    what is a metropolitan division? I heard Los Angeles is in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and the "Greater Los Angeles Area" is what is called a metropolitan division. Would Pasadena, Burbank, and Glendale also be in the metropolitan division?
    I think the easiest way to conceptualize urban vs. rural as far as the Census Bureau is concerned is to ignore all other legal or administrative boundaries, as they are irrelevan to how the Bureau calculates urban vs. rural areas. Urban areas/clusters can cross any administrative boundary, including county lines.

    The only thing that the Census Bureau is measuring with their urban and rural definition is the actual, existing development pattern in an area. It has nothing to do with cities, counties, towns, or any other legal or administrative boundary.

    FWIW, I recently attended a meeting where the upcoming changes to how the Bureau will be measuring urban areas. They will likely be adding elevation data to the definition process (removing areas with steep slopes, for example) and will be taking advantage of more advanced satellite imagery to accurately locate the edges of urban development. It's a very interesting process.

    As far as Metropolitan Divsions, they are portions of larger Metropolitan Statistical Areas. This PDF document describes metropolitan areas:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets...2009/09-01.pdf

    Currently, the MSA that contains LA is broken down into two divisions:

    31100 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area
    - 31084 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division (Los Angeles County)
    - 42044 Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division (Orange County)
    Last edited by JimPlans; 04 Nov 2009 at 9:45 AM. Reason: Wrong link

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    My town of Templeton used to have 4,000 population and had less than 1.000 ppl per square mile. 989 ppl square in 1996 when my parents moved us there. In 2000, the town had 6,000 population and over 1,000 ppl square mile. Would it have been considered rural in 1996 and in 2000 it got classified as urban cluster?

    With the new census urban measuring, would they still keep urban cluster and urbanized area? In the new definitions would areas like Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria still be considered urbanized areas?

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    My town of Templeton used to have 4,000 population and had less than 1.000 ppl per square mile. 989 ppl square in 1996 when my parents moved us there. In 2000, the town had 6,000 population and over 1,000 ppl square mile. Would it have been considered rural in 1996 and in 2000 it got classified as urban cluster?

    With the new census urban measuring, would they still keep urban cluster and urbanized area? In the new definitions would areas like Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria still be considered urbanized areas?
    You can check out the truly awful Census GIS map for Templeton's urban area here (the Bureau is changing this system, and the new system will be much better):

    Templeton Urban Area

    and compare it to the Place boundary here:

    Templeton Place Boundary

    Similar, but not the same.

    As far as places like Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria retaining their urbanized status, unless their internal development patterns change, they should retain their urban status. The boundaries might change a bit, but that's about it.

    Edited to add: Forgot the 1990 Urban Area map, which doesn't show any urban areas in Templeton:

    Templeton 1990 Urban Areas

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    So the biggest changes will be for rural and urban clusters which are still developing areas?

    So look likes Templeton is urban cluster now, and used to be rural.

    Napa, Hanford, and Yuba City are also urbanized areas right?

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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    So the biggest changes will be for rural and urban clusters which are still developing areas?

    So look likes Templeton is urban cluster now, and used to be rural.

    Napa, Hanford, and Yuba City are also urbanized areas right?
    Also, would the Paso Robles and Atascadero urbanized area remain considered an urbanized area?

  16. #16
    Just about any settlement of size ends up being classified as urban, at least in part. Even what most people would consider to be small towns or medium sized towns. Only rural crossroads fall out of the urban definition. Even with this definition, about 20% of the US population is considered rural.

    Is this going to be on the final?

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    So Atascadero and Paso Robles would still be considered urbanized areas in the new definition of urbanized areas? I have another question, are the new definitions going to make areas that are urban clusters be considered rural?

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    So Atascadero and Paso Robles would still be considered urbanized areas in the new definition of urbanized areas? I have another question, are the new definitions going to make areas that are urban clusters be considered rural?
    First of all, the "new" definitions were created for the 2000 Census, and they haven't been changed since then, so any land area that was considered "urban" in 2000 is still defined as such.

    Whatever changes the Census Bureau is looking at for the future (and they are only looking right now, no actual changes have been made) will be refinements to the current system, so the basic definition will not change.

    I gave you a link to the Census Bureau's online mapping system so you could use it to map whatever area you wanted. If you don't know how to use it, you can also download urban area maps as PDFs here:

    http://www.census.gov/geo/www/maps/ua2kmaps.htm

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    so is templeton urban cluster? can non-incorporated communities be urban cluster or rural?

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    How can I see if Templeton is an urbanized area, rural, or urban cluster?

    I need to know how I can check to see what an non-incorporated community looks like.

    Thanks.

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    the list of all urbanized areas and urban clusters only lists cities and certain non-incorporated areas. for example, some cities and non-incorporated communities are not listed in the los angeles urbanized area. so does that mean all communities in the area are all urbanized? same goes for templeton. it's under the paso robles-atascadero urbanized area so does that make it rural?

    please help, thanks.

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