Difference Between Town and Village (With Table)

History stands witness to the evolutionary journey of man. Man didn’t always live in communities, as our needs grew, the opportunities that life had to offer increased, and with it came the urge to discover new habitable locations and settle. This is when modern humans started residing in places rife with natural resources. A lot has changed since men were hunters and gatherers, but what continues to be the same is the need for human settlements to expand. In the modern-day world, there are various types of human settlements. Town and village happen to be small types of settlement.

Town vs Village

The difference between town and village is that a town is small but an urban human settlement. A village is a cluster of a few houses that is not as small as a hamlet or as big as a town and is considered to be a rural settlement. Towns and villages are not as fast-paced as cities and have low levels of pollution.

Town is bigger than a village but smaller than a city in terms of population and area. Towns are formed when nearby villages expand and gradually, become one settlement. A town has a fixed territorial boundary and is governed by a local government.

Village is smaller than a town in aspects of population as well as area. In India, an area is considered a village if the population density per sq km is around 400. It has demarcated boundaries but isn’t governed by municipal boards. Disputes in a village are solved by its gram panchayat- this is the oldest form of local governing bodies in the Indian subcontinent.

Comparison Table Between Town and Village

Parameters of ComparisonTownVillage
SizeSmaller than cities but bigger than villagesBigger than hamlets but smaller than towns
PopulationHigher than a village but lesser than a cityLesser than the population of a town
Local GovernmentHas a local governing bodyDoes not have a local government
Commercial OutreachEngages in commercial and industrial activitiesDoes not engage in commercial activities
Source of IncomePublic services, industries, and commerceAgriculture

What is Town?

Town has demarcated boundaries and an area that is bigger than a village but smaller than a city. The word “town” came from the German word “Zaun” and the Dutch word “Tuin”, and in its original form the words mean “a fortress or an enclosure.”

The definition of a town on the basis of its population and area varies from one country to the other. In India, the 20011 Census has classified towns into- statutory and census towns.

A statutory town is defined as a settlement that has a municipal corporation, cantonment board, or a notified town committee. To qualify as a census town, three criteria must be met- i. the minimum population should be 5000, ii. A minimum of 75% of the working male population must be engaged in non-agricultural activities, and iii. The population density per sq mile should not be less than 1000. However, in reality, most of the villages in North India have a very high density of population.

In a town, the basic social and economic infrastructures such as bituminized roads, electricity, telephone lines, schools, colleges, shops, banks, post offices, hospitals, etc., are made available to the population. The banks in towns often grant loans to the locals to set up businesses or acquire assets so that they can advance their livelihood.

Sometimes people from villages come and settle in the towns nearest to them, and sometimes people from towns commute to cities for better job opportunities, therefore, there is cultural diversity in a town.

What is Village?

Village is a type of human settlement that is bigger than hamlets but smaller than towns when it comes to population and area. When villages close by start expanding due to an increase in population, they come together to form a town.

Villages shelter the rural population and have a fairly close-knit community. The definition of a village varies from country to country. In India, if the density of population is 400 per sq km, it is considered to be a village. However, most of the Indian villages have a vast population.

Villages do not always have demarcated boundaries and do not have a local government, however, in India, villages have boundaries and any dispute between the villagers is mitigated by the village Panchayat.

The livelihood of people in villages is mainly dependent on agriculture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, etc.

The social and economic infrastructures available in a village are limited. They do not have access to proper roads, sanitation, health-care facilities, higher secondary schools and college, banks, etc. They have to travel to the nearest town to get access to higher education, medical treatment, or banks. Certain villages do not even have shops, people buy commodities from the weekly markets that are set up once or twice a week.

Life in a village is quiet and there is no scope for promoting cultural diversity in villages as the population is considerably small.

Main Differences Between Town and Village

  1. Towns are smaller than cities in size but bigger than villages, whereas, villages are smaller than towns but bigger than hamlets
  2. A town is spread out over a landscape and is an urban population. In contrast, the houses in a village are compact and the population is rural.
  3. While towns have a local government, villages do not have a local governing body.
  4. There are established market places in a town, whereas, there aren’t any market places in a village but there are weekly markets that sit in a fixed location once or twice a week.
  5. The livelihood of people living in towns is dependent on commercial activities, industrial activities, public services, or small-scale businesses. In contrast, people in a village draw their livelihood from agriculture, pisciculture, animal husbandry, or similar primary or secondary activities.


The exponential population growth creates the necessity to expand settlements. Villages and towns are both small types of human settlements that are often confused with one another but are different owing to their size, population, nature of livelihood, source of income, and so on.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/001946466400100305?journalCode=iera
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6fd3XoCs03oC&oi=fnd&pg=PA46&dq=what+is+a+village%3F&ots=i8ltzNqAD2&sig=euI2CPb0gXMQ5osFa9NQ_mbcHf4&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=what%20is%20a%20village%3F&f=false
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