By MIKE SCHNEIDER
Hundreds of the urban areas in the U.S. are becoming rural, and it’s not because of anything they’ve done. The U.S. Census Bureau is changing the definition of an urban area. If the new criteria were applied to those places designated urban areas a decade ago, more than 1,300 places wouldn’t qualify. It’s the biggest change in decades. For starters, the statistical agency is switching to housing units instead of people for the calculation. Under the old criteria, a place had to have at least 2,500 people to be urban. Now, it will need at least 2,000 housing units, which is the equivalent to about 5,000 people.
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