The Index of Urbanicity

This measure comes from the understandings developed by Losch (1933/1954) and Christaller (1933/1966). Again the Germans seem to have given us all a marvelous foundation in urban studies.

When the Index of Urbanicity is used in the United States, the preferred areal/administrative unit is the county because it is not so large as to prevent interlocking organizations and informal ties, and its multiple organizations and administrative issues are not terribly divisive or too far divided.

The four parts of the Index of Urbanicity
  1. County's metropolitan status as used by the U.S. Census Bureau.
    1. Four ranges of county population size.
    2. Four ranges of county's adjacency to metropolitan counties.
  2. County's centric order (Christaller 1933/1966.)
    1. Extent to which a county evinces the "market principle" of having a central city central to the county.
    2. Extent to which a county evinces the "transportation principle" of having good arteries directly connecting urban centers.
  3. County's urban units having larger cities (as measured by size categories.)
  4. County's percent urban.
The raw numbers of each of the four parts are coded with scores from highest to lowest of four level. These scores are summed, and this gives the county score, its Index of Urbanicity.

The Index of Urbanicty was validated (and it has very high reliability) with Cronbach's Alpha and Heise and Bornstadt's Omega, and also validated with various criterion variables both in 1976 and later (e.g., W. Allen Martin and John H. Spurgin. 1983, "Urbanization and Political Party Competition: A Reanalysis." Texas Journal of Political Studies 5:2.

Suggested citation: The term urbanicity or the Index of Urbanicity

Martin, W. Allen 1976. The Conceptualization and Measurement of Urbanization. Dissertation,
The University of Texas at Austin, 1976.

Copyright W. Allen Martin, 2004.