"Urban/Rural" Classification of Schools and
Local Education Agencies
The "urban/rural" status of Schools and Local Education
Agencies (LEA), are indicated in the Excel files containing the locale codes
available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The Excel
files are located in the links below.
The locale codes are from the NCES's Common Core of Data
(CCD) Public Elementary/Secondary School Locale Code File and the Local
Education Agency (School District) Locale Code File. Local Education Agency
locale codes are based on the School locale codes.
The urban-centric locale code system of 12 locale codes
replaced the 8 metro-centric locale codes. The urban-centric categories include
'city' and 'suburban' classified by population size into small, midsize and
large, and 'town' and 'rural' classified by proximity to an urbanized area into
fringe, distant and remote.
The codes are explained on the reference sheet in the excel
The NCES Web site provides more details about locale codes as
well as school district rural locale status at Identification
of Rural Locales.
The NCES Web site for "Navigating
Resources for Rural Schools" discusses urban/rural classification systems,
and provides tables for state-by-state comparisons.
You can also use the
NCES Web site to do a Search for Public Schools and display the characteristics
from the Common Core of Data (CCD) for a particular school. The search will
include the Locale Code as part of the display. Search
for public schools
The method of classification of the community type may
vary from one survey to another, typically collapsing the locale codes into the
four major categories of city, suburban, town and rural, according to The
Condition of Education 2008, Appendix 2 Supplemental Notes, Supplemental Note 1:
Commonly Used Variables, under Community Type, page 193.
The NCES makes available other School District
Demographics from the 2000 Census. Files can be downloaded. Census
school district files
For example: Select State, Select
Universe: Total Population and Households, Select a Table Classification: Population Items, Select a Table Category: Basic Population
Totals, Select P5 Urban and Rural,
Click Export to Excel,
Save it on your
For additional information, please contact:
Division of Data Quality
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.2644 | Fax: 717.787.3148