Mapping Sites to an Area Type


In the Projects and Activity Results module in annual report, N-PEARS automatically codes each project site with an area type: Urban, Suburban, Rural, or Frontier. The following document details the algorithm that N-PEARS uses to assign each site to an area type, and lists the data sources used for mapping. N-PEARS uses Rural-Urban Community Area (RUCA) codes, and Frontier and Remote Area (FAR) codes to map sites to an area type.

Mapping Algorithm

To code each site as Urban, Suburban, Rural, or Frontier, N-PEARS uses the following algorithm:
  1. Map the site’s zip code to the corresponding RUCA code.
    • Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes – “2010 Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes, ZIP code” file; sourced from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) website.
    • N-PEARS uses RUCA2 with the primary and secondary codes.
  2. Map the RUCA code from step 1 to the Urban, Suburban, or Rural area type based on the “RUCA Codes Categorization” mapping document.
  3. Use the FAR codes (specifically level 4) to overwrite the area type from step 2 for any sites with a Frontier designation.
    • Frontier and Remote Area Codes – “EXCEL file containing ZIP-code-level FAR codes and related data” file under the “2010 Frontier and Remote Area Codes Data Files” section; sourced from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) website.