The framework for a state definition was created in 2002. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health - State Office of Rural Health worked with its advisory council, the Massachusetts Rural Council on Health to develop this definition. This framework is updated with the release of new census data every ten years. Every update is reviewed to make sure it still meets the needs of our office and advisory council. The Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health’s rural definition is used for assessment and planning purposes.
A note about rural definitions
There is no single definition of Rural. In fact there are many rural definitions recognized within federal, state and regional organizations. No single definition can fulfill all programmatic and policy needs. This is why different definitions are used based on the individual needs of a program or policy.