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Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Data Files

In the interest of making information on the FORHP Rural Areas more easily usable for Researchers and other Government Agencies, FORHP has created a crosswalk of ZIP Codes identifying the set of Non-Metro Counties and rural Census Tracts (CTs) that comprise rural areas as defined by FORHP. The information in these files does not replace the use of the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer for determination of eligibility for Rural Health Grants or Medicare Payments. The ZIP code files are for use where local addresses are not known or for analysis of data where ZIP codes are the only available geographic unit.

A full description of the FORHP definition of rurality can be found at Defining Rural Population. FORHP collected comments from stakeholders and issued a Federal Register Notice on 1/12/2021 responding to comments and describing a change to the definition of rural for the determination of geographic areas eligible to apply for or receive services funded by rural health grants. The change will go into effect for new rural health grant opportunities in Fiscal Year 2022. The change does not apply to Fiscal Year 2021 grant opportunities. Counties that were not eligible or which were only partially designated as rural will instead be fully eligible for Fiscal Year 2022 grants. The list of 295 counties can be downloaded (XLS - 20 KB).

The data files below have been updated to match the Metropolitan Areas of 0MB Bulletin No. 20-01

Non-Metro Counties (Micropolitan and non-core based counties) and Eligible Census Tracts in Metropolitan Counties (XLS - 178 KB)

This Excel file contains Non-Metro Counties (Micropolitan and non-core based counties), along with eligible Census Tracts in Metropolitan Counties. In a limited set of counties, all Census Tracts in the county are eligible. These counties are noted in the memo field with the notation: “This county is eligible even though it is designated as a Metropolitan County. All census tracts in the county qualify as rural.”

If there are no entries in the Census Tract cell or Memo field, then the entire county is eligible. (This file contains rural areas in Puerto Rico and the US Territories. The ZIP code files do not include Puerto Rico or US Territories.)

FORHP Eligible ZIP Codes (XLS - 304 KB)

Because matching geographic areas with different boundaries can never be perfect, there are ZIP codes with urban population included in the list and there are ZIP codes with rural population that are not included. Any ZIP code where more than 50% of its population resides in either a Non-Metro County and/or a rural Census Tract was included in the list.

The ZIP code files were produced using Census Bureau files that Crosswalk Census Tracts to ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs). The ZIP Code to ZCTA Crosswalk was used to identify individual ZIP codes within the ZCTAs.

This Excel file contains 18,677 ZIPs in numeric order, with only the State where the ZIP is located identified.

FORHP ZIP Codes by County (XLS - 882 KB)

This file contains 25,964 records by State, County and ZIP with the percentage of the ZIP codes’ population that resides in that county (not census tract), the FIPS code for the county and its OMB designation. Some ZIPs are for businesses or PO boxes or have unknown population totals. These are marked by a “U” in the population field. ZIP Codes can include area and population in more than one county so there can be multiple records for one ZIP Code in this file.

For further information, contact Steven Hirsch at or (301) 443-7322.

Date Last Reviewed:  January 2021