In 1949, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started the rural housing program guaranteeing no-money-down mortgages to help lower-income Americans living in rural areas.

However, this rural program eventually expanded to places that are not so rural: Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; Seattle, Wa.; and Tampa, Fla., according to Reuters. 

According to the 2000 U.S. Census definition of urban, the USDA guaranteed at least 51,600 mortgages for people who lived in urban areas, the article said.

A spokesperson for the USDA addressed the issue, noting that lending in some urban areas is allowed under the USDA's own definition of rural, which differs from the Census Bureau's and is based in part on rules established by Congress.