I have a question regarding the Urban Areas Rural Areas (UARA) code field in the Postal Code Conversion File. A researcher would like to find out the best way to determine whether a postal code is rural or urban. He wanted to use the UARA field, but is unclear about what a "0" value means. In the guide it states that "This field will be '0000' for postal codes linked to dissemination areas only (Rep_Point = 3)." Would these be rural, urban or either? When looking at the PCCF file there are a lot of postal codes with 0's in the UARA.
Would it be better to use the fact that rural postal codes have a "0" in the 2nd digit of the FSA? Would it be more accurate to use the DMT (Delivery Mode Type) field and assume that it is rural when DMT=H or DMT=W?
I realize that Canada Post and Statistics Canada may have different definitions of rural. The researcher would prefer to use Statistics Canada's definition as they will be linking their research records to census dissemination area data.
Any help with this would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Here is Geography Division's response to your questions:
"According to the PCCF reference guide, the "0" value indicates a rural area for the UARAType. Rural postal codes are identifiable by the presence of a zero (0) in the second position of the FSA code. Urban postal codes are composed of FSAs with numerals 1 to 9 in the second position of the code.
Urban area codes are unique four-digit codes that are assigned sequentially upon the UA creation. These codes remain constant between censuses. If an urban area is retired due to amalgamation or failure to meet the population or density thresholds, then its code is retired.
Rural area codes are unique four-digit codes which are a concatenation of '99' plus the two-digit province/territory code. For example, records in rural areas in Manitoba are assigned '9946'. This field will be '0000' for postal codes linked to dissemination areas only (Rep_Point = 3).
For urban areas, the type code indicates the relationship of the urban area to the CMA/CA structure.
0 Rural area
1 Urban core
2 Urban fringe
4 Urban areas outside CMA/CAs
6 Secondary urban core
This field will be '9' for postal codes linked to dissemination areas only (Rep_Point = 3). There is no UARAtype available for postal codes linked at the dissemination area level. UARAtype is only available for postal codes linked at the more detailed dissemination block or block-face level.
Statistics Canada definition of Rural Area (http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/reference/dictionary/geo042.cfm)
Rural areas include all territory lying outside urban areas. Taken together, urban and rural areas cover all of Canada.
Rural population includes all population living in the rural fringes of census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs) , as well as population living in rural areas outside CMAs and CAs.
More information on Rural area (RA) is available at: http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/reference/dictionary/geo042a.cfm"
I hope this answers your question sufficiently. If you need further clarification, please let me know.