We had a hypothesis that pricing trends will likely differ from very urban to very rural areas because of issues related to supply chain, different levels of demand, and because the competitive dynamics are different with generally fewer stores over a large area.
We also found out that the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) had defined a six-level urban-rural classification scheme for all U.S. counties and that we could align our store and pricing data to that scheme. This allowed us to see pricing trends across these different urban/rural segments and we found some very interesting variances that you can see within the index.
The following is detailed description of the six segments:
Counties in MSAs (metropolitan statistical area) of 1 million or more population that: 1. Contain the entire population of the largest principal city of the MSA, or 2. Have their entire population contained in the largest principal city of the MSA, or 3. Contain at least 250,000 inhabitants of any principal city of the MSA.