Difference Between Rural and Urban

Rural areas are those geographical areas that are not located near towns. In most cases, they are known as farming areas. It is the opposite of urban areas which is characterized by buildings and where people work and live.

Rural vs Urban

Rural areas are characterized by scattered villages with open spaces and natural plantations. The population density in these areas is low. The main source of income in rural settings is farming.

Urban settings are man-made environments which are populated. Towns and suburban areas are also classified as urban areas. Urban centers are populated and chances are that there are better employment opportunities.

Rural vs Urban

One major difference between rural and urban is that; rural areas are less populated. Urban settings are dense populated


Comparison Table Between Rural and Urban (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonUrbanRural
LifeUrban life is fast and involvingLife in rural areas is relaxed and simple
IncludeUrban areas include cities and townsRural areas include villages and smaller settlements (hamlet)
DefinitionAn area where people work and live. It is highly populated and possesses features of an established environmentThe area located away from towns and cities.
Associated withUrban settings are associated with trade, commerce or provision of services (Non-agricultural work)Rural areas are associated with agriculture and livestock
EnvironmentUrban areas are secluded from natureRural areas are in direct contact with nature
DevelopmentUrban areas have settlement plans in place. Developments in these areas occur depending on urbanization and industrialization.These areas develop at random depending on the availability of natural plants.
Social MobilityIt is highly intensiveIt is less intensive
Division of laborDivision of labor is always available during allotment of the jobThere is no division of labor
Size of PopulationUrban centers are densely populatedRural settings are scarcely populated


What is Rural Area

A rural area is an open environment with huge tracts of land with few homes and other buildings. In rural areas, the population is very low. Homes and businesses are located a few miles from each other.

In most rural areas agriculture is the main economic activity. Most of the rural area inhabitants live or work on farms. People and buildings are absent but the presence of wildlife is constant.

Life in these areas is simple as people can meet and interact more often. In most cases, rural residents are seen as peasants, rustic, and isolated.

Rural Area 1

What is Urban Area?

A built-up area or urban area is a human-inhabited area.

The area is highly populated and features characteristics of a built environment. Urban areas are highly developed with human structures like commercial buildings and roads.

Lifestyle in the urban areas is stereotyped in most cases. It’s presumed to be more hectic and moves at a fast speed compared to rural life. Urban centers are very important because by getting development right, the create job opportunities.

They also improve the living standards of residents and increase economic growth.

Urban Area

Main Differences Between Rural and Urban

Occupation Mobility

There are many occupations in the city. As such, there is occupation mobility in urban areas is continuous. In rural areas, the scope for occupational mobility is very low.

General Life

In urban areas life is complex and lots of activities have to be done. It is also not simple. In rural areas, life is very simple. It is reflected in the way people live, dress, shelter, and many other things.

Social Status

People in urban areas do not enjoy the same social status. They belong to different social class, religion and their cultures are different. In rural areas, people within the community are similar.

They, therefore, enjoy the same (less or more) social status.

Hold of the family

In urban areas, the hold of the family isn’t compact. Institutions and other organizations have taken away the many functions of the family. In rural areas, the family hold is very strong because the family is in control of almost everything.


In rural areas, there is no need for social adaptability because life isn’t fast. In urban areas, life is changing very fast. As such, there is a need for fast mobility and adaptability.

Division of labor

In rural settings, there is no division of labor. In urban settings, there is a division of labor and specialization in job distribution.


Culture is deeply rooted and respected in rural areas. Almost everyone loves culture and cultural heritage than anything else. In urban cities, it is very difficult to find a pure culture. There is a mix of races and each with their own culture and taboos.


Urban centers provide employment and incentives. It is one reason that has stimulated rural-urban migration. In rural areas, there are zero chances of providing employment and incentives.

Difference Between Rural and Urban



Some will opt to live in cities because many people rise out of poverty in urban cities. Many of the advancements maybe in technology or infrastructure starts from urban areas.

There is a quantitative difference between rural life and urban life. The number of differences will determine whether you will opt for a rural area or in the cities. The majority prefers to stay in town.

But unemployment and crime are to disadvantages of urban settings.

In the village, the weather is good and there is plenty of fresh food compared to cities.  These among many other advantages make the rural area a go stay place. But when it comes to opportunities, it is worse off than urban areas.

Key Differences Between Rural and Urban (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Rural and Urban



  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19711801387
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220679909597608
  3. https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdf/10.1257/aer.89.2.281
  4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/095624780301500111
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