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County map of a a portion of Tennessee showing the Development Districts

2023 Tennessee County Geographic Classifier Reference File

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Looking to supercharge your county-level data analysis? Our Tennessee geographic classifications file provides essential county categorizations that can be easily integrated with your existing data.

When working with county-level data it can be useful to limit the records shown in a table to include only counties within a Tennessee metro, or to create regional tabulations using the state’s nine development districts. But often, these classifications are not included with the source data.

We’ve got a solution—a single file containing the “greatest hits” of geographic classifications that can be added to data files using the ubiquitous county geographic identifier, or GEOID. A GEOID is a unique 5-character code composed of the state and county Federal Information Processing Code (FIPS).

The list of designations included in the county-based file includes:

  • Urban/Rural Classification from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Tennessee Development Districts
  • Metropolitan/Micropolitan Statistical Areas (2023)


Public Domain Mark

This work (Geographic Classifications for Tennessee Counties by Tennessee State Data Center), identified by Tennessee State Data Center, is free of known copyright restrictions.


This utility file contains several geographic classifications that are useful when compiling statistics about counties in Tennessee. The classifications include data from three sources and can be joined to other county-level data using the GEOID field.

2020 Urban and Rural Counties; Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

According to TNECD policy, Rural counties have less than 50 percent of their population living within a 2020 Census Urbanized Area with a population of more than 50,000. Urban area delineations were released by the U.S. Census Bureau in January 2022. Tennessee has 17 urban counties and 78 rural counties in the delineations.

Development Districts

Each Tennessee county is assigned to one of nine Development Districts. They act as regional planning and economic development organizations. Cities and towns within each district provide oversight of district activities. Boundaries of Area Agencies on Aging and Disability coincide with the development districts but use different names.

2023 Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) are county-based regions defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and are used for statistical purposes. Metropolitan Statistical Areas include central counties with a Census Urbanized area of at least 50,000 people. Micropolitan Statistical Areas include counties with a central urbanized area of 10,000 to 50,000 people. Outlying counties with a high-degree economic integration, measured by commuting are also included in the delineation. 66 Tennessee counties are included in a core-based statistical area.

Included Fields

Tennessee County Geographic Classifier:  Field names, description and type
Name Description Type
GEOID Geographic Identifier Text
DEV_DIST_NAME Development District Short Text
DEV_DIST_ACRONYM Development District Short Text
CBSA_Code CBSA Code Text
CBSA_Title CBSA Title Text
CBSA_Type CBSA Type Text
CBSA_CType CBSA County Type Text
ECD_RURAL TNECD Urban Rural Text