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Area Resource File (ARF)


The Area Resource File (ARF) is a data set comprised of data collected from more than 50 sources and contains more than 6,000 variables related to health care access at the county level.


Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions (HRSA/BHPr)

Data Years Available

Maintained annually since the mid-1970s; the 2005 file primarily has data from 1980 to 2004 but some fields have information dating back to 1950. Historical versions of the file can be purchased.




Compilation of other data sources.

Selected Content

The ARF includes information on geographic codes and classifications; health professions supply and demographics; health facility numbers and types; hospital utilization; population characteristics and economic data; land use and housing density; and health professions training resources.

Population covered

The ARF includes one record for each county and independent city in the U.S. and one for each county equivalent in the U.S. territories Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


The ARF integrates data from numerous data sources including: the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the US Census Bureau, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Bureau of Labor Statistics, InterStudy, and the Veteran’s Administration.

Response rate and sample size


Interpretation Issues