Rural area

In general, a rural area or countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and cities.[1] The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines the word rural as encompassing "...all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area. Whatever is not urban is considered rural."[2]

Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements. Agricultural areas are commonly rural, as are other types of areas such as forest. Different countries have varying definitions of rural for statistical and administrative purposes.

Barossa Valley South Australia
The Barossa Valley in South Australia is an area noted for vineyards.

North America


In Canada, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development defines a "predominantly rural region" as having more than 50% of the population living in rural communities where a "rural community" has a population density less than 150 people per square kilometre. In Canada, the census division has been used to represent "regions" and census consolidated sub-divisions have been used to represent "communities". Intermediate regions have 15 to 49 percent of their population living in a rural community. Predominantly urban regions have less than 15 percent of their population living in a rural community. Predominantly rural regions are classified as rural metro-adjacent, rural non-metro-adjacent and rural northern, following Ehrensaft and Beeman (1992). Rural metro-adjacent regions are predominantly rural census divisions which are adjacent to metropolitan centres while rural non-metro-adjacent regions are those predominantly rural census divisions which are not adjacent to metropolitan centres. Rural northern regions are predominantly rural census divisions that are found either entirely or mostly above the following lines of parallel in each province: Newfoundland and Labrador, 50th; Quebec 54th; Ontario, 54th; Manitoba, 53rd; Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, 54th. As well, rural northern regions encompass all of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Statistics Canada defines rural for their population counts. This definition has changed over time (see Appendix A in du Plessis et al., 2002). Typically, it has referred to the population living outside settlements of 1,000 or fewer inhabitants. The current definition states that census rural is the population outside settlements with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants and a population density below 400 people per square kilometre (Statistics Canada, 2007).

United States

84% of the United States' inhabitants live in suburban and urban areas,[3] but cities occupy only 10 percent of the country. Rural areas (villages) occupy the remaining 90 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau, the USDA's Economic Research Service, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have come together to help define rural areas. United States Census Bureau: The Census Bureau definitions (new to the 2000 census), which are based on population density, defines rural areas as all territory outside Census Bureau-defined urbanized areas and urban clusters.

  • An urbanized area consists of a central surrounding areas whose population ("urban nucleus") is greater than 50,000. They may or may not contain individual cities with 50,000 or more; rather, they must have a core with a population density generally exceeding 1,000 persons per square mile; and may contain adjoining territory with at least 500 persons per square mile (other towns outside an urbanized area whose population exceeds 2,500).
  • Thus, rural areas comprise open country and settlements with fewer than 2,500 residents; areas designated as rural can have population densities as high as 999 per square mile or as low as 1 person per square mile.[4]


  • The USDA's Office of Rural Development may define rural by various population thresholds. The 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171, Sec. 6020) defined rural and rural area as any area other than (1) a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants, and (2) the urbanized areas contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town.
  • The rural-urban continuum codes, urban influence code, and rural county typology codes developed by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) allow researchers to break out the standard metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas into smaller residential groups.[4] For example, a metropolitan county is one that contains an urbanized area, or one that has a twenty-five percent commuter rate to an urbanized area regardless of population.


Under the Core Based Statistical Areas used by the OMB (commonly referred to as 'CBSA Codes'),[5]

  • a metropolitan county, or Metropolitan Statistical Area,(MSA) consists of (1) central counties with one or more urbanized areas (as defined by the Census Bureau) and (2) outlying counties that are economically tied to the core counties as measured by worker commuting data (i.e. if 25% of workers living there commute to the core counties, or if 25% of the employment in the county consists of workers coming from the central counties).
  • Non-metro counties are outside the boundaries of metro areas and are further subdivided into Micropolitan Statistical Areas centered on urban clusters of 10,000–50,000 residents, and all remaining non-core counties.[4][6]

In 2014, the USDA updated their rural / non-rural area definitions based on the 2010 Census counts.[5]

Rural schools

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) revised its definition of rural schools in 2006 after working with the Census Bureau to create a new locale classification system to capitalize on improved geocoding technology.

Rural health

Rural health definitions can be different for establishing under-served areas or health care accessibility in rural areas of the United States. According to the handbook, Definitions of Rural: A Handbook for Health Policy Makers and Researchers, "Residents of metropolitan counties are generally thought to have easy access to the relatively concentrated health services of the county's central areas. However, some metropolitan counties are so large that they contain small towns and rural, sparsely populated areas that are isolated from these central clusters and their corresponding health services by physical barriers." To address this type of rural area, "Harold Goldsmith, Dena Puskin, and Dianne Stiles (1992) described a methodology to identify small towns and rural areas within large metropolitan counties (LMCs) that were isolated from central areas by distance or other physical features." This became the Goldsmith Modification definition of rural. "Bhoomeet rural education The Goldsmith Modification has been useful for expanding the eligibility for federal programs that assist rural populations—to include the isolated rural populations of large metropolitan counties."

Health care delivery in rural areas of the United States can be challenging. From 2005-2011, the rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations for acute conditions was highest in rural areas (as compared to large metropolitan, small metropolitan, or micropolitan areas).[7]

South America


In Brazil, there are different notions of rural area and countryside. Rural areas are any place outside a municipality's urban development (buildings, streets) and it's carried by informal usage. Otherwise, countryside (interior in Portuguese) are officially defined as all municipalities outside the state/territory capital's metropolitan region. Some states as Mato Grosso do Sul doesn't have any metropolitan region, thus all of the state, except its capital is officially countryside. Rio de Janeiro is singular in Brazil and it's de facto a metropolitan state, as circa 70% of its population are located in Greater Rio. In the Federal District it's not applicable and there's no countryside as all of it is treated as the federal capital. Brasília is nominally the capital, but the capitality is shared through all Federal District, because Brazil de facto defines its capital as a municipality, and in municipal matters, the Federal District is treated and governs as a single municipality, city-state-like (Brasília, DF).



The country is divided into 402 administrative districts: 295 rural districts and 107 urban districts. Germany is among the largest agricultural producers in the European Union. More than half of Germany's territory – almost 19 million hectares – is used for farming, and are located in the rural areas. Almost 10% of employees in Germany has work linked directly or indirectly with the agricultural, forest and fisheries sectors; approximately a fifth of them are employed in primary production. The implication is that, unlike in some other European countries, where rural areas are known for being backward when compared to urban areas, in Germany, the trend is changing. Due to the country's policy of equal living conditions, this is not the case in Germany. Rural areas receive nearly equivalent attention as the urban areas do. Also, through a special approach to rural development, usually referred to as Village Renewal, the challenges of rural Germany are taken care of.[8]

United Kingdom

Malham countryside
A typical countryside scene in rural Yorkshire Dales, England.

In Britain, "rural" is defined[9] by the government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), using population data from the latest census, such as the United Kingdom Census 2001. These definitions have various grades, but the upper point is any local government area with more than 26% of its population living in a rural settlement or market town ("market town" being defined as any settlement which has permission to hold a street market). A number of measures are in place to protect the British countryside, including green belts.

Rural health

In England an NHS patient is defined as rural if they live more than 1 mile (1.6 km) from either a doctor or a dispensing chemist. In Scotland a different definition of rural is used. This is important for defining whether the patient is expected to collect their own medicines. While doctors' surgeries in towns will not have a medicines dispensary instead expecting patients to use a high-street chemist to purchase their prescription medicines (in Scotland collection not purchase, as prescriptions are paid by the state), in rural village surgeries,[10] an NHS medicines dispensary will be built into the same building.



Perumacheri AUP School
A rural school in Kannur, India.

Rural areas are also known as the 'countryside' or a 'village' in India. It has a very low population density. In rural areas, agriculture is the chief source of livelihood along with fishing[11], cottage industries, pottery etc.

The quest to discover the real rural India still continues in great earnest. Almost every economic agency today has a definition of rural India. Here are a few definitions: According to the Planning Commission, a town with a maximum population of 15,000 is considered rural in nature. In these areas the panchayat makes all the decisions. There are five persons in the panchayat. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) defines ‘rural’ as follows:

  • An area with a population density of up to 400 per square kilometer,
  • Villages with clear surveyed boundaries but no municipal board,
  • A minimum of 75% of male working population involved in agriculture and allied activities.[12]

RBI defines rural areas as those areas with a population of less than 49,000 (tier -3 to tier-6 cities).[12]

It is generally said that the rural areas house up to 70% of India’s population. Rural India contributes a large chunk to India’s GDP by way of agriculture, self-employment, services, construction etc. As per a strict measure used by the National Sample Survey in its 63rd round, called monthly per capita expenditure, rural expenditure accounts for 55% of total national monthly expenditure. The rural population currently accounts for one-third of the total Indian FMCG sales.[12]


Amra Kalan Village
Amra Kalan village in Kharian, Pakistan

According to the 2017 census about 64% of Pakistanis live in rural areas. Most rural areas in Pakistan tend to be near cities, and are peri-urban areas, This is due to the definition of a rural area in Pakistan being an area that does not come within an urban boundary.[13] The remote rural villagers of Pakistan commonly live in houses made of bricks, clay or mud. Socioeconomic status among rural Pakistani villagers is often based upon the ownership of agricultural land, which also may provide social prestige in village cultures.[14] The majority of rural Pakistani inhabitants livelihoods is based upon the rearing of livestock, which also comprises a significant part of Pakistan's gross domestic product.[15] Some livestock raised by rural Pakistanis include cattle and goats.[16] However rural areas in Pakistan that are near cities are considered suburban areas or suburbs.

Human fertility

Rural residence is a fertility factor, with total fertility rates and pregnancy being higher among women in rural areas than among women in urban areas and the rural population is much younger than urban areas.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "WordNet Search - 3.1". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  2. ^ "Defining the Rural Population". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  3. ^ Yen, Hope (2011-07-28). "Rural US Disappearing? Population Share Hits Low". Yahoo News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  4. ^ a b c CRS Report for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition - Order Code 97-905 Archived 2011-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b "Rural, Urban and Suburban Definitions".
  6. ^ What is Rural? Archived 2007-10-17 at the Wayback Machine USDA, National Agricultural Library, Rural Information Center.
  7. ^ Torio CM, Andrews RM (September 2014). "Geographic Variation in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations for Acute and Chronic Conditions, 2005-2011". HCUP Statistical Brief #178. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  8. ^ Chigbu, Uchendu Eugene (2012). "Village renewal as an instrument of rural development: evidence from Weyarn, Germany". Community Development. 43 (2): 209–224. doi:10.1080/15575330.2011.575231.
  9. ^ "Local Authority Rural-Urban Classification". UK Government. 24 June 2011.
  10. ^ "About Dispensing Practice". Dispensing Doctors' Association. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017.
  11. ^ 林, 榮祥. "Greening the Blue: End Child Labour in Agriculture". Greening the Blue. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "In Focus" (PDF). December 2010.
  13. ^ Zaidi, S. Akbar (29 August 2017). "Rethinking urban and rural". Dawn.
  14. ^ Knerr, Béatrice (Prof. Dr.). page 102.
  15. ^ Knerr, Béatrice (Prof. Dr.). page 105.
  16. ^ Knerr, Béatrice (Prof. Dr.). page 106.
  17. ^ Rai, Piyush Kant; Pareek, Sarla; Joshi, Hemlata (2013). "Regression Analysis of Collinear Data using r-k Class Estimator: Socio-Economic and Demographic Factors Affecting the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in India" (PDF). Journal of Data Science. 11.

Further reading

External links

Akdeniz, Mersin

Akdeniz is a municipality and district governorate in Greater Mersin, Turkey. Mersin is one of the 30 Metropolitan centers in Turkey with more than one municipality within city borders. Now in Mersin there are four second-level municipalities in addition to Greater Mersin (büyükşehir) municipality.

Central Alberta

Central Alberta is a region located in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Central Alberta is the most densely populated rural area in the province. Agriculture and energy make up an important part of the economy.

Community development block in India

In India a community development block (CD Block; Hindi: सामुदायिक विकास खंड) is a rural area administratively earmarked for development. The area is administered by a Block Development Officer, supported by several technical specialists and village level workers. A community development block covers several gram panchayats, local administrative unit at the village level.

In some states of India CD Blocks are currently considered to be 3rd-level administrative units (equal to tehsils in other states). Bihar, for example, has 38 districts, 101 subdivions (sub-districts) and 534 CD Blocks. West Bengal has 18 districts and 341 development blocks.

Country (disambiguation)

A country is a geopolitical area–often synonymous with a sovereign state.

Country or countries may also refer to:

Rural area, the country or countryside, an area away from towns or cities

Country (identity), a self-concept related to being from a rural area.

Haveli taluka

Haveli taluka is a taluka (subdivision) of Pune district of state of Maharashtra in India. The city of Pune is at the center of this taluka. The ever expanding

Pune metropolitan area has now claimed major part of this taluka as well as the surrounding talukas. From being a rural area surrounding the city of Pune, major parts of the taluka have become sub-urban in nature in the span of last fifty years.

Howrah district

Howrah district () is a district of the West Bengal state in eastern India. Howrah district is one of the highly urbanized area of West Bengal. The urbanized sectors gradually increase the slum populations. The Howrah city called “Glasgow” of India and "Sheffield of India". Howrah is the second largest city and second smallest district after Kolkata. It has thousands of years of rich heritage in the form of the great Bengali kingdom of Bhurshut. The district is named after its headquarters, the city of Howrah.

Ilūkste Municipality

Ilūkste Municipality (Latvian: Ilūkstes novads) is a municipality in Selonia, Latvia. The municipality was formed in 2003 by merging Pilskalne Parish, Šēdere Parish, Bebrene Parish and Ilūkste town. In 2009 it absorbed Dviete parish, Eglaine parish and Subate town with its rural area the administrative centre being Ilūkste. In 2010 the rural area of Subate was reorganised as a separate territorial entity, Prode parish.

Jerseyville, New Jersey

Jerseyville is an unincorporated community located within Howell Township in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. It is primarily a rural area within the northern part of the township. Route 33 Business travels through Jerseyville, with some development, including a gas station, a convenience store, a church, and some residences.

Kishim District

Kishim District (also: Keshem) is one of the 29 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. The district is located in the Keshem Valley, a primarily rural area on the western edge of the province, and is home to approximately 63,000 residents, making it the second most populous district of the province.


Mezitli is a municipality and district governorate in Greater Mersin, Turkey. Mersin is one of 30 metropolitan centers in Turkey with more than one municipality within city borders. Now in Mersin there are four second-level municipalities in addition to Greater Mersin (büyükşehir) municipality.

Mohali district

Mohali district, also known as Ajitgarh district and officially known as Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar district or SAS Nagar district , is one of the twenty two districts of Punjab a state in north-west India.

It was formed in April 2006 and is 18th district of Punjab, created next to Pathankot district. This district was carved out of areas falling in Ropar and Patiala District. It is situated next to the union territory of Chandigarh and Panchkula district of Haryana.

The district is officially named after the eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzada Ajit Singh which means "Sahibzada Ajit Singh City".

Monte Formoso

Monte Formoso is a Brazilian municipality located in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais. The city belongs to the IBGE statistical mesoregion of Jequitinhonha and to the microregion of Almenara. As of 2007 the population was 4,709 in an area of 384 km². The elevation was 651 meters.

Due to its isolation and poor soils for agriculture, Monte Formoso is one of the poorest municipalities in the country. The main economic activities were cattle raising and modest production of coffee, sugarcane, beans, and rice. As of 2007 there were no financial institutions. In the same year there were 56 automobiles, 10 trucks, 13 pickup trucks and 81 motorcycles. In the rural area there were 384 producers on 17,000 hectares. Only 2 of the farms had tractors in 2006. There were 4 public health clinics and no hospital as of 2006.

Municipal Human Development Index

MHDI: .570 (2000)

State ranking: 852 out of 853 municipalities

National ranking: 5,115 out of 5,138 municipalities

Life expectancy: 60

Literacy rate: 61 For the complete list see Frigoletto

Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio: .733

Per capita income (monthly): R$63.02 For the complete list see Frigoletto

Mountain Empire, San Diego

The Mountain Empire is a rural area in southeastern San Diego County, California. The Mountain Empire subregion consists of the backcountry communities in southeastern San Diego County. The area is also sometimes considered part of the East County region of San Diego County.

Municipal district

A municipal district is an administrative entity comprising a clearly defined territory and its population. It can refer to a city, town, village or a small grouping of them, or a rural area.


Rubelita is a municipality in the northeast of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Its population in 2007 was 8,299 inhabitants in a total area of 1,109 km².

Rubelita belongs to the Salinas statistical microregion. The elevation of the municipal seat is 438 meters. It became a municipality in 1962.

The main economic activities are cattle raising and farming. There is still some mining of semi-precious stones. The GDP was R$24,235,000 (2005). There was 1 banking agency in 2006. In the rural area there were 1,423 farms with over 3,000 people involved in the agricultural sector. There were 33 tractors. The main crops were coffee, citrus fruits, mangoes, sugarcane, beans, manioc, and corn. In the health sector there were 8 health clinics. The score on the Municipal Human Development Index was 0.660. This ranked Rubelita 708 out of 853 municipalities in the state, with Poços de Caldas in first place with 0.841 and Setubinha in last place with 0.568. See Frigoletto for the complete list.

Superintendent of police (India)

(IPS officers wear the IPS police logo below the star and state police service officers wear the state police logo below the star)

(IPS officers wear the IPS police logo below the Ashoka emblem and state police service officers wear the state police logo below the Ashoka emblem)

In India, a District Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in large or metropolitan cities or Superintendent of Police (SP) in smaller cities heads the police force of a district. In districts where Senior Superintendent of Police is the head of the district, Superintendent of Police is the head of a large urban or rural area in a district. SP is also the head of a large urban or rural area in a smaller district as well. In metropolitan areas having police commissionerate system (like in Delhi Police, Mumbai Police or Hyderabad Police) the head of district police is called Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), and he or she holds the rank of a SP.

Senior Superintendents of Police are officers of the Indian Police Service. They are entrusted with the powers and responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues of a district of a state or a union territory (UT) of India. They are assisted by the officers of the State Police Service and other State Police officials. SP rank badge is the Ashoka emblem above no star or one star (according to grade pay), although when they get promoted to higher grade pay, they wear the State Emblem above two stars (SSP). The rank below Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy.SP), while the rank above is Deputy inspector general of police (DIG) who wears Ashoka emblem above three stars. The rank of Superintendent of police is equivalent to the rank of second in command(2IC) in CAPF.

Test Valley

Test Valley is a local government district and borough in Hampshire, England, named after the valley of the River Test. Its council is based in Andover.

The borough was formed on 1 April 1974 by a merger of the boroughs of Andover and Romsey, along with Andover Rural District and Romsey and Stockbridge Rural District.

Test Valley covers some 250 square miles (650 km2) of western Hampshire, stretching from boundaries with Southampton in the south to Newbury in the north. Test Valley is a predominantly rural area. It encompasses the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The River Test is the centrepiece of the Test Valley; the river is a chalk stream of particular beauty known for its fishing, salmon and trout, which Lord Crickhowell (onetime chairman of the National Rivers Authority) said "should be treated as a great work of art or music". Home of the Houghton Fishing Club, an exclusive fishing club founded in 1822, which meets in the Grosvenor Hotel in Stockbridge.

In December 2006, Sport England published a survey which revealed that residents of Test Valley were the 8th most active in England in sports and other fitness activities. 26.9% of the population participate at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.In March 2012 Test Valley was ranked 14th best rural area to live out of 119 local authority areas in Great Britain by the Halifax. This was based on factors including employment and income levels, the weather, health and life expectancy, education, crime, broadband access and other things.


Toroslar is a municipality and district governorate in Greater Mersin, Turkey. Mersin is one of 30 metropolitan centers in Turkey with more than one municipality within city borders. Now in Mersin there are four second-level municipalities in addition to Greater Mersin (büyükşehir) municipality. The mayor of Toroslar is Hamit Tuna (member of MHP, elected in 2009)).


Uibaí is a municipality in the state of Bahia in the North-East region of Brazil. It is located about 508 kilometres (316 mi) byroad northwest of Salvador. It lies to the northeast of Gentio do Ouro and about 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-southwest of Irecê, the nearest city. Xique-Xique and the São Francisco River is to the northwest.

A rural area, population growth has been slow; in 1950 it had a population of 11,890, and as of 2010 it had a population of 13,625 people.

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