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Mapping Urban/Rural Patterns by Census Block
  ... using GIS tools & resources

This section is companion to related Mapping Census Blocks section. It is focused on use of GIS tools and resources for visual, mapping and geospatial analysis of urban/rural patterns by census block. Applications illustrated here make use of the Austin-Round Rock, TX metro; similar views/applications may be developed for any county or metro. Members of the ProximityOne User Group ( join now, no fee) may use the GIS software and project files to create similar and more detailed views/analyses.

Defining Urban/Rural Geography and Census Blocks
For Census 2010, an urban area is a densely settled core of census tracts and/or census blocks that meet minimum population density requirements, along with adjacent territory containing non-residential urban land uses as well as territory with low population density included to link outlying densely settled territory with the densely settled core. To qualify as an urban area, the territory identified according to criteria must encompass at least 2,500 people, at least 1,500 of which reside outside institutional group quarters. Rural encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.

A census block is the smallest geographic tabulation area and is classified as either all urban or all rural. More about census blocks.

GIS Tools & GIS Project Resources
The urban/rural patterns by census block GIS applications use the CV XE GIS software. To use the urban/rural patterns by census block GIS project,
  • install the Windows CV XE GIS softwareon your computer.
  • expand the GIS project fileset to c:\cvxe\1\ folder (User Group userid required).
  • start CV XE GIS.
  • open the GIS project c:\cvxe\1\austinblks1_tract.gis (File>Open>Dialog).

About the Census Block Shapefile
Each of the "TIGER2014 Blocks" layers shown in the map graphic legend panel uses the same Austin metro 5-county TIGER 2014 census block shapefile (TL_2014_48_TABBLOCK10_12420.SHP). The shapefile dBase file field attributes are shown in the scroll section below.
Fields from TIGER census block shapefile
1STATEFP10 C 22010 Census state FIPS code
2COUNTYFP10 C 32010 Census county FIPS code
3TRACTCE10 C 62010 Census census tract code
4BLOCKCE10 C 42010 Census census block
5GEOID10 C15state+county+tract+block code
6NAME10 C10Census block name
7MTFCC10 C 5MAF/TIGER feature class code (G5040)
8UR10 C 12010 Census urban/rural indicator
9UACE10 C 52010 Census urban area code
10UATYP10 C 12010 Census urban area type
11FUNCSTAT10 C 1Functional status (NA)
12ALAND10 C14Land area square meters
13AWATER10 C14Water area square meters
14INTPTLAT10 C11Internal point latitude
15INTPTLON10 C12Internal point longitude
Fields from Census 2010 Summary File 1 geosegment view documentation
17STUSAB C 2State/U.S. Abbreviation (USPS)
18SUMLEV C 3Summary Level
19GEOCOMP C 2Geographic component
20CHARITER C 3Characteristic iteration
21CIFSN C 2Characteristic iteration + sequence
22LOGRECNO C 7Logical record number
23REGION C 1Region code
24DIVISION C 1Division code
25STATE C 2State code FIPS
26COUNTY C 3County code FIPS
27COUNTYCC C 2County code class
28COUNTYSC C 2County size code
29COUSUB C 5County subdivision code
30COUSUBCC C 2County subdivision class code
31COUSUBSC C 2County subdivision size code
32PLACE C 5Place FIPS code
33PLACECC C 2Place class code
34PLACESC C 2Place size code
35TRACT C 6Census tract code
36BLKGRP C 1Block group code
37BLOCK C 4Census block code
38IUC C 2Internal use code
39CONCIT C 5Consolidated city FIPS
40CONCITCC C 2Consolidated city class
41CONCITSC C 2Consolidated city size
44AIANHHCC C 2AIANHH class code
45AIHHTLI C 1American Indian Trust Land/Hawaiian Home Land Indicator
46AITSCE C 3American Indian Tribal Subdivision (Census)
47AITS C 5American Indian Tribal Subdivision (FIPS)
48AITSCC C 2FIPS American Indian Tribal Subdivision Class Code
49TTRACT C 6Tribal Census Tract
50TBLKGRP C 1Tribal Block Group
51ANRC C 5Alaska Native Regional Corporation (FIPS)
52ANRCCC C 2FIPS Alaska Native Regional Corporation Class Code
53CBSA C 5Metropolitan Statistical Area/Micropolitan Statistical Area
54CBSASC C 2Metropolitan Statistical Area/Micropolitan Statistical Area Size Code
55METDIV C 5Metropolitan Division
56CSA C 3Combined Statistical Area
57NECTA C 5New England City and Town Area
58NECTASC C 2New England City and Town Area Size Code
59NECTADIV C 5New England City and Town Area Division
60CNECTA C 3Combined New England City and Town Area
61CBSAPCI C 1Metropolitan Statistical Area/Micropolitan Statistical Area Principal City Indicator
62NECTAPCI C 1New England City and Town Area Principal City Indicator
63UA C 5Urban Area
64UASC C 2Urban Area Size Code
65UATYPE C 1Urban Area Type
66UR C 1Urban/Rural
67CD C 2Congressional District (111th)
68SLDU C 3State Legislative District (Upper Chamber) (Year 1)
69SLDL C 3State Legislative District (Lower Chamber) (Year 1)
70VTD C 6Voting District
71VTDI C 1Voting District Indicator
72RESERVE2 C 3Reserved
73ZCTA5 C 5ZIP Code Tabulation Area (5-Digit
74SUBMCD C 5Subminor Civil Division (FIPS)
75SUBMCDCC C 2FIPS Subminor Civil Division Class Code
76SDELM C 5School District (Elementary)
77SDSEC C 5School District (Secondary)
78SDUNI C 5School District (Unified)
79AREALAND C14Area (Land) SqMeters
80AREAWATR C14Area (Water) SqMeters
81NAME C90Area Name-Legal/Statistical Area Description (LSAD) Term-Part Indicator
82FUNCSTAT C 1Functional Status Code
83GCUNI C 1Geographic Change User Note Indicator
84POP100 N9Census 2010 population
85HU100 N9Census 2010 housing units
86INTPTLAT N11,6Internal point latitude
87INTPTLON N12,6Internal point longitude
88LSADC C 2Legal/Statistical Area Description Code
89PARTFLAG C 1Part Flag
90RESERVE3 C 6Reserved
91UGA C 5Urban Growth Area
94COUSUBNS C 8County Subdivision (ANSI)
96CONCITNS C 8Consolidated city (ANSI)
98AITSNS C 8American Indian Tribal Subdivision (ANSI)
99ANRCNS C 8Alaska Native Regional Corporation (ANSI)
100SUBMCDNS C 8Subminor Civil Division (ANSI)
101CD113 C 2Congressional District (113th)
102CD114 C 2Congressional District (114th)
103CD115 C 2Congressional District (115th)
104SLDU2 C 3State Legislative District (Upper Chamber) (Year 2)
105SLDU3 C 3State Legislative District (Upper Chamber) (Year 3)
106SLDU4 C 3State Legislative District (Upper Chamber) (Year 4)
107SLDL2 C 3State Legislative District (Lower Chamber) (Year 2)
108SLDL3 C 3State Legislative District (Lower Chamber) (Year 3)
109SLDL4 C 3State Legislative District (Lower Chamber) (Year 4)
110AIANHHSC C 2American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land Size Code .
111CSASC C 2Combined Statistical Area Size Code
112CNECTASC C 2Combined NECTA Size Code
113MEMI C 1Metropolitan/Micropolitan Indicator
114NMEMI C 1NECTA Metropolitan/Micropolitan Indicator
115PUMA C 5Public Use Microdata Area
116RESERVED C18Reserved;

Note that the geographic area codes are Census 2010 vintage. For example, the CBSA code is 2009 vintage and does not reflect the February 2013 CBSA designations. Notable geographies potentially affected: city/place, school district, congressional district, state legislative district, PUMA.

Developing GIS Project Applications for Other Areas
The following notes summarize general steps to develop the above applications for any area. The 1) Census 2010 Summary File 1 (SF1) Urban/Rural Update Files and 2) TIGER 2014 census block shapefiles are packaged for download as a single zip file for each state. It is recommended that the "target" geographic area be one county or a set of counties (e.g., a metro) rather than an entire state.

1. Demographic Data Access and File Development
  • Census 2010 Summary File 1 (SF1) Urban/Rural Update Files
  • Access the Census 2010 Summary File 1 Urban/Rural Update files via
  • State by state folders contain a state zip file with the geoheader file, 48 data segments.
  • Expand the *geoheader segment only* from the state zip file of choice to the folder c:\cvxe\1\.
    - this is normally the last file listed in the zip file and has name ??geo2010.ur1 where ?? is the state USPS abbreviation.
    - after the file is expanded, rename ??geo2010.ur1 to ??geo2010.txt.
  • Create state SF1 geoheader dBase file: use CV XE Database>dBrowse: open sf1geo.dbf (download here and save to c:\cvxe\1\); User Group ID required) and import the geoheader file (??geo2010.txt).
  • Extract block records only
    - with dBrowse still open, set Filter to sumlev="100" (selecting only block level records)
    - use CopyTo (button below table) to copy the table to c:\cvxe\1\??sf1geo.dbf where ?? is the state USPS abbreviation.
  • Upon successful completion of this task, and for applications discussed here, the zip file and expanded files may be deleted.
  • Step 1 is complete. Close CV XE and restart when needed.

2. TIGER Census Block Shapefile
  • Access the TIGER 2014 census block shapefile via
  • Download and open the state zip file with an unzip program.
  • Open state TIGER 2014 census block shapefile with CV XE File>Open>Dialog
  • Use CV XE File>Export Shapefile to reduce the scope of the statewide file to one county or a set of counties.
    - the Export Layer form appears; enter the county selection query in the "Query statement" edit box.
    - for example, the query statement for the Austin-Round Rock metro is:
        countyfp10='021' or countyfp10='055' or countyfp10='209' or countyfp10='453' or countyfp10='491'
    - click OK and you are prompted for the output file name.
        ... it is suggested that the output file name be structured like c:\cvxe\1\TL_2014_??_TABBLOCK10_12420.shp
        ... where ?? is the state FIPS code and "_12420" is added to the original state level shapefile name
        ... in this example, "12420" is the Austin-Roundrock CBSA code.
    - click OK and the export begins.
  • Step 2 is complete. Close CV XE and restart when needed.

3. Integrating SF1 Geoheader into Block Shapefile
  • Proceed after steps 1 and 2 completed.
  • Use CV XE Database>dBMerge
  • Open file 1 as dbf output from step 2; select all; move all.
  • Set key for file 1 as GEOID10
  • Open file 2 as dbf output from step 1; select all; move all.
  • Set key for file 2 as state+county+tract+block
  • Click Merge button and wait for completion.

4. Add the Augmented TIGER Census Block Shapefile to GIS Project

This completes the this subsection.

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