Beale Codes

About Beale Codes

Beale Codes (also known as Rural-Urban Continuum Codes) were developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)External Web Site Policy.

Rural-Urban Continuum Codes form a classification scheme that distinguishes metropolitan (metro) counties by the population size of their metro area, and nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) counties by degree of urbanization and adjacency to a metro area or areas. For more information from the USDA or to download the original data, go to their section on Rural-Urban Continuum CodesExternal Web Site Policy.

Beale Codes are available for the following years: 2003, 1993, 1983 and 1974. In concept, the 2003 version of the Rural-Urban Continuum Codes is comparable with that of earlier decades. However, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) made major changes in its metro area delineation procedures for the 2000 Census, and the Census Bureau changed the way in which rural and urban are measured. Therefore, the new Rural-Urban Continuum Codes are not fully comparable with those of earlier years. OMB's changes added some additional metro areas by no longer requiring that a metro area must have at least 100,000 population if its urbanized area has no place of at least 50,000 people. More importantly, simplifying the worker commuting criteria that determine outlying metro counties had the effect of both adding numerous new outlying counties to metro status while deleting a smaller number that were previously metro (see: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbCon/External Web Site Policy ).

This coding scheme was originated in 1975 by David L. Brown, Fred K. Hines, and John M. Zimmer, then of the Economic Research Service (ERS), for a report Social and Economic Characteristics of the Population in Metro and Nonmetro Counties: 1970. It was updated after both the 1980 and 1990 censuses, with a somewhat more restrictive procedure for determining metro adjacency. The versions based on the 1970, 1980, and 1990 Censuses are all found on this ERS website.

Using Beale Codes with SEER*Stat

Due to county changes over time and to make this data available for use with SEER*Stat, modifications were made to the county Beale Codes when necessary. Most of the Beale codes match identically with the codes from the USDA. Codes that do not match the codes provided by the USDA can be found here.

Download Beale Code Spreadsheet

The following spreadsheet has the Beale Codes for 1974, 1983, 1993 and 2003 that are used in SEER*Stat (with modifications): [PDF File] [MS Excel File]

Beale Code Definitions for 2003

Metro counties:

  • 1 (Counties in metro areas of 1 million population or more)
  • 2 (Counties in metro areas of 250,000 to 1 million population)
  • 3 (Counties in metro areas of fewer than 250,000 population)

Nonmetro counties:

  • 4 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, adjacent to a metro area)
  • 5 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, not adjacent to a metro area)
  • 6 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, adjacent to a metro area)
  • 7 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, not adjacent to a metro area)
  • 8 (Completely rural or less than 2,500 urban population, adjacent to a metro area)
  • 9 (Completely rural or less than 2,500 urban population, not adjacent to a metro area)
  • 88 (Unknown-Alaska State/not official USDA Beale code)
  • 99 (Unknown/not official USDA Beale code)

Beale Code Defintions for 1974, 1983, and 1993

Metro counties:

  • 0 (Central counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more)
  • 1 (Fringe counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more)
  • 2 (Counties in metro areas of 250,000 to 1 million population)
  • 3 (Counties in metro areas of fewer than 250,000 population)

Nonmetro counties:

  • 4 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, adjacent to a metro area)
  • 5 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, not adjacent to a metro area)
  • 6 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, adjacent to a metro area)
  • 7 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, not adjacent to a metro area)
  • 8 (Completely rural or less than 2,500 urban population, adjacent to a metro area)
  • 9 (Completely rural or less than 2,500 urban population, not adjacent to a metro area)
  • 88 (Unknown-Alaska State/not official USDA Beale code)
  • 99 (Unknown/not official USDA Beale code)

Differences

Due to county changes over time and to make this data available for use with SEER*Stat, modifications were made to the county Beale Codes when necessary. Most of the Beale codes match identically with the codes from the USDA. When county geographies change, however, we have provided estimated Beale code values for the old geographic areas after the change and for the new geographic areas before the change in order to allow analysis throughout the time period. Refer to Geographic Boundary Change Notes on the US Census BureauExternal Web Site Policy web site for details.

For example, in 1983, Yuma County, Arizona split into Yuma and La Paz Counties. Separate death records for the two counties were first reported in 1994. The USDA provided a Beale code for the combined county in 1974 and separate Beale codes in 1983, 1993 and 2003. We try to follow this methodology when possible in regards to other county situations. We provide an estimated 1974 Beale code for the separate counties (equal to the combined county Beale code). We also provide estimated 1983, 1993, and 2003 Beale codes for the combined counties (equal to the Beale code of Yuma County - the larger of the two). Here is the complete set of Beale codes for these counties:

  Beale 1974 Beale 1983 Beale 1993 Beale 2003
La Paz/Yuma Combined (1969-1993) 5 5 3 3
La Paz (1994+) 5 7 7 6
Yuma (1994+) 5 5 3 3

It is important to note that the Beale code value for deaths that occur in the geographic area of the current La Paz county may shift from a relatively urban Beale code before the split (for the combined county) to a more rural Beale code after the split (for the more rural La Paz county). In this example, the Beale code will change for the deaths in La Paz county for all sets of Beale codes except for Beale 1974 (which as a common value of 5 for all areas). This shift occurs starting in 1994 when separate deaths for La Paz County were first reported. To minimize the impact of these shifts, the estimated values of the combined county is set to the value of the larger county (the county with the most deaths).

Alaska

Since incidence and mortality data is only available at the state level for this submission, we had to treat Alaska as a state (not counties). We decided to code the state (02900) with a Beale Code that we created of 88 - Alaska unknown. You are able to group Alaska with other Beale Values using a user defined variable.

Arizona

La Paz County (04012) and Yuma County (04027)
Since county data is not available in our data until 1994, we needed to create a code for the grouped county La Paz/Yuma (04910) 1969-1993. We coded the Beale Code for the grouped county the same as the county with the greater population (Yuma). The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 5 (Nonmetro county with urban population of 20,000 or more, not adjacent to a metro area) for 1974 and 1983
  • 3 (County in metro area of fewer than 250,000 population) for 1993 and 2003

Hawaii

All of Hawaii is coded as 2 (County in metro area of 250,000 to 1 million population) for all years. This decision was made due to the fact that to show an incidence or mortality rate we must group Hawaii as a state because we do not have populations at the county level. So it was most effective to code all Hawaii as a Beale Code of 2.

Montana

Yellowstone National Park County, Montana (30113) dissolved in 1997 and is no longer listed as a valid county. We have coded this county to a 9 (Completely rural or less than 2,500 urban population, not adjacent to a metro area) to match with the current mortality data. In the upcoming releases of data, all of the data for this county will be combined for all years with Gallatin County, Montana (30031) to resemble NCHS Mortality coding practices. Then Yellowstone National Park County, Montana (30113) will not be listed individually in the Beale Codes.

New Mexico

Cibola County (35006) and Valencia County (35061)
Since county data is not available in our data until 1982, we needed to create a code for the grouped county Cibola/Valencia (35910) 1969-1981. We coded the Beale Code for the grouped county the same as the county with the greater population (Valencia). The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 6 (Nonmetro county with urban population of 2,500-19,999, adjacent to a metro area) for 1974
  • 4 (Nonmetro county with urban population of 20,000 or more, adjacent to a metro area) for 1983
  • 2 (County in metro area of 250,000 to 1 million population) for 1993 and 2003

New York

New York City (Combined) (36910)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we needed to create a code for the grouped county New York City (36910) 1969-1979. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 0 (Central counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1974, 1983, 1993
  • 1 (County in metro area with 1 million population or more) for 2003

Virginia

Alleghany County with Clifton Forge City, Virginia (51005); Covington City, Virginia (51580)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Alleghany/Clifton Forge/Covingto (51916) 1969-1979. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 6 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, adjacent to a metro area) for 1974
  • 7 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, not adjacent to a metro area) for 1983
  • 6 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, adjacent to a metro area) for 1993 and 2003

Arlington County, Virginia (51013); Alexandria City, Virginia (51510); Fairfax City, Virginia (51600); Fairfax County, Virginia (51059); Falls Church City (51610)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Arling/Alexan/Fairfax/Falls Church (51918) 1969-1979. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 1 (Fringe counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1974 and 1983
  • 0 (Central counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1993
  • 1 (Counties in metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 2003

Bedford City, Virginia (51515); Bedford County, Virginia (51019)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Bedford City and County (51917) 1969-1979. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 6 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, adjacent to a metro area) for 1974 and 1983
  • 3 (Counties in metro areas of fewer than 250,000 population) for 1993 and 2003

Henry County, Virginia (51089); Martinsville City, Virginia (51690)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Henry/Martinsville (51913) 1969-1979. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 5 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, not adjacent to a metro area) for 1974 and 1983
  • 4 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, adjacent to a metro area) for 1993 and 2003

James City County, Virginia (51095); York County, Virginia (51119); Poquoson City, Virginia (51735); Williamsburg City, Virginia (51830)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1982, we need to create a code for the grouped county, James/York/Poqouson/Williamsburg (51911) 1969-1981 The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 2 (Counties in metro areas of 250,000 to 1 million population) for 1974
  • 1 (Fringe counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1983
  • 0 (Central counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1993
  • 1 (Counties in metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 2003

Prince William County, Virginia (51153); Manassas City, Virginia (51683); Manassas Park City, Virginia (51685)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1982, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Prince William/Manassas (51910) 1969-1981. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 1 (Fringe counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1974 and 1983
  • 0 (Central counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1993
  • 1 (Counties in metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 2003

Rockingham County, Virginia (51165); Harrisonburg City, Virginia (51660)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Rockingham/Harrisonburg (51914) 1969-1979. The Beale Codes for the grouped county match identically to the individual counties for all years. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 7 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, not adjacent to a metro area) for 1974
  • 5 (Urban population of 20,000 or more, not adjacent to a metro area) 1983 and 1993
  • 3 (Counties in metro areas of fewer than 250,000 population) for 2003

Spotsylvania County, Virginia (51177); Stafford County, Virginia (51179); Fredericksburg, Virginia (51630)
Since individual county data is not available in our data until 1980, we need to create a code for the grouped county, Spotsylvan/Stafford/Fredericksburg (51915) 1969-1979. Due to the significant changes in population for these counties, the codes are a combination of the county values. The Beale Codes are as follows:

  • 6 (Urban population of 2,500 to 19,999, adjacent to a metro area) for 1974
  • 1 (Fringe counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1983
  • 0 (Central counties of metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 1993
  • 1 (Counties in metro areas of 1 million population or more) for 2003

Counties not included in the SEER*Stat version of the Beale Code data

  • Broomfield, Colorado (08014) became a county in November 2001. Since we do not have any data (populations or deaths) for Broomfield, this county will not be in our Beale file.
  • Since Clifton Forge, Virginia (51560) changed from an independent city to a dependent town and their data is no longer stored in SEER*Stat individually, we did not include their Beale Code data separately but rather it is included with Alleghany County, Virginia (51005).
  • Since South Boston City, Virginia (51780) changed from an independent city to a dependent town and their data is no longer stored in SEER*Stat individually, we did not include their Beale Code data separately but rather it is included with Halifax County, Virginia (51083).