Definition of Rural and Urban Municipalities Updated 

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania revised their definitions to identify rural and urban counties, school districts, and municipalities in Pennsylvania following the 2020 Census results. In May 2022, the Center’s Board of Directors approved the following updated definition of rural/urban municipalities:  

Municipal Definition – A municipality is rural when the number of people per square mile in the municipality is fewer than 291 or the municipality is in a rural county and has fewer than 2,500 residents. Other municipalities are considered urban.  

Out of 2,560 municipalities, this definition categorizes 1,649 municipalities (64%) as rural and 911 municipalities (36%) as urban.  

This is a change from the previous definition following the 2010 Census which defined a municipality as rural when the municipality’s population density is less than 284 persons per square mile, or the total population is less than 2,500, unless more than 50 percent of the population lives in an urbanized area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. This previous definition categorized 1,592 (62%) municipalities as rural and 970 (38%) as urban.  

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