Rural Districts of Semnan Province



In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and
cities A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be def ...
. Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements.
Agricultural Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people ...
areas and areas with
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands. T ...
typically are described as rural. Different countries have varying definitions of ''rural'' for statistical and administrative purposes. In rural areas, because of their unique economic and social dynamics, and relationship to land-based industry such as
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people t ...
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands. T ...
and resource extraction, the
economics Economics () is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. Microeconomics analyzes ...
are very different from cities and can be subject to
boom and bust Business cycles are intervals of expansion followed by recession in economic activity. These changes have implications for the welfare of the broad population as well as for private institutions. Typically business cycles are measured by exami ...
cycles and vulnerability to
extreme weather Extreme weather or extreme climate events includes unexpected, unusual, severe, or unseasonal weather; weather at the extremes of the historical distribution—the range that has been seen in the past. Often, extreme events are based on a locat ...
or natural disasters, such as
droughts A drought is defined as drier than normal conditions.Douville, H., K. Raghavan, J. Renwick, R.P. Allan, P.A. Arias, M. Barlow, R. Cerezo-Mota, A. Cherchi, T.Y. Gan, J. Gergis, D.  Jiang, A.  Khan, W.  Pokam Mba, D.  Rosenfeld, J. Tierney, an ...
. These dynamics alongside larger economic forces encouraging to urbanization have led to significant demographic declines, called
rural flight Rural flight (or rural exodus) is the migratory pattern of peoples from rural areas into urban areas. It is urbanization seen from the rural perspective. In industrializing economies like Britain in the eighteenth century or East Asia in th ...
, where economic incentives encourage younger populations to go to cities for education and access to jobs, leaving older, less educated and less
wealthy Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial assets or physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for transactions. This includes the core meaning as held in the originating Old English word , which is from an ...
populations in the rural areas. Slower economic development results in poorer services like healthcare and education and rural infrastructure. This cycle of poverty in some rural areas, means that three quarters of the global population in poverty live in rural areas according to the Food and Agricultural Organization. Some communities have successfully encouraged economic development in rural areas, with some policies such as giving increased access to
electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge. Electricity is related to magnetism, both being part of the phenomenon of electromagnetism, as described b ...
internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...
, proving very successful on encouraging economic activities in rural areas. Historically development policies have focused on larger extractive industries, such as mining and forestry. However, recent approaches more focused on
sustainable development Sustainable development is an organizing principle for meeting human development goals while also sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the economy and society depend. The desir ...
are more aware of economic diversification in these communities.

Regional definitions

North America


In Canada, the Organization 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 kilometer. 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 Philip Ehrensaft and Jennifer Beeman (1992). Rural metro-adjacent regions are predominantly rural census divisions which are adjacent to metropolitan centers while rural non-metro-adjacent regions are those predominantly rural census divisions which are not adjacent to metropolitan centers. Rural northern regions are predominantly rural census divisions that are found either entirely or mostly above the following lines of latitude in each province:
Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador (; french: Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador; frequently abbreviated as NL) is the easternmost province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic region. The province comprises the island of Newfoundland and the continental region ...
, 50th;
Manitoba , image_map = Manitoba in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Manitoba's location in the centre of Southern Canada , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , capital = Winn ...
, 53rd;
Alberta Alberta ( ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is part of Western Canada and is one of the three prairie provinces. Alberta is bordered by British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territ ...
British Columbia British Columbia (commonly abbreviated as BC) is the westernmost province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, for ...
Ontario Ontario ( ; ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Ontario is located in the geographic eastern half of Canada, but it has historically and politically been considered to be part of Central Canada. Located in Central Can ...
, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, 54th. As well, rural northern regions encompass all of the
Yukon Yukon (; ; formerly called Yukon Territory and also referred to as the Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the second-least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 43,964 as ...
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (abbreviated ''NT'' or ''NWT''; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest, formerly ''North-Western Territory'' and ''North-West Territories'' and namely shortened as ''Northwest Territory'') is a federal territory of Canada. ...
Nunavut Nunavut ( , ; iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ , ; ) is the largest and northernmost territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' and the '' Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act'', w ...
. Statistics Canada defines rural areas by 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 kilometer (Statistics Canada, 2007).

United States

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 is 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 Mato Grosso do Sul () is one of the Midwestern states of Brazil. Neighboring Brazilian states are (from north clockwise) Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Paraná. It also borders the countries of Paraguay, to the southwest, and ...
do not have any metropolitan regions, thus all of the state, except its capital is officially countryside.
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro ( , , ; literally 'River of January'), or simply Rio, is the capital of the state of the same name, Brazil's third-most populous state, and the second-most populous city in Brazil, after São Paulo. Listed by the GaWC as a b ...
is singular in Brazil and it is de facto a metropolitan state, as circa 70% of its population are located in Greater Rio. In the
Federal District A federal district is a type of administrative division of a federation, usually under the direct control of a federal government and organized sometimes with a single municipal body. Federal districts often include capital districts, and they ...
it is not applicable and there is 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 A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as ...
-like (Brasília, DF).



15% of French population live in rural areas, spread over 90% of the country. President
Emmanuel Macron Emmanuel Macron (; born 21 December 1977) is a French politician who has served as President of France since 2017. ''Ex officio'', he is also one of the two Co-Princes of Andorra. Prior to his presidency, Macron served as Minister of Econo ...
government launched an action plan in 2019 in favour for rural areas named "Agenda Rural". Among many initiatives recommended to redynamize rural areas,
energy transition The energy transition is the process of downshifting fossil fuels and re-developing whole systems to operate on low carbon energy sources. More generally, an energy transition is a significant structural change in an energy system regarding ...
is one of them. Research is being carried out to assess the impact of new projects in rural areas.


Germany is divided into 402 administrative districts, 295 rural districts and 107 urban districts. As one of the largest agricultural producers in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has often been de ...
, more than half of Germany's territory which is almost 19 million hectares, is used for farming, and located in the rural areas. Almost 10% of people in Germany have jobs related to the agricultural, forest and fisheries sectors; approximately a fifth of them are employed in the primary production. Since there is a policy of equal living conditions, people see rural areas as equivalent as urban areas. Village renewal is an approach to develop countryside and supports the challenges faced in the process of it.

United Kingdom

In Britain, "rural" is defined 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 belt (United Kingdom), green belts.



Rural areas are also known as the 'countryside' or a 'village' in India. It has a very low population density. In rural areas,
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people t ...
is the chief source of livelihood along with fishing, cottage industries, pottery etc. Almost every Indian economic agency today has its own definition of rural India, some of which follow: According to the Planning Commission, a town with a maximum population of 15,000 is considered rural in nature. In these areas the Panchayat raj, panchayat makes all the decisions. There are five people in the Panchayati raj, panchayat. The National Sample Survey Organization (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. RBI defines rural areas as those areas with a population of less than 49,000 (tier -3 to tier-6 cities). 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.


In Japan, rural areas are referred to as "Inaka" which translates literally to "the countryside" or "one's native village".


According to the 2017 Census of Pakistan, 2017 census about 64% of Pakistanis live in rural areas. Most rural areas in Pakistan tend to be near cities and are Peri-urbanisation, 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 area, urban boundary. Rural areas in Pakistan that are near cities are considered as Suburbanization, suburban areas or suburbs. 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 status, social prestige in village cultures. 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. Some Livestock in Pakistan, livestock raised by rural Pakistanis include cattle and goats.


New Zealand

In New Zealand census areas are classified based on their degree of rurality. However, traffic law has a different interpretation and defines a Rural area as "''... a road or a geographical area that is not an urban traffic area, to which the rural speed limit generally applies.''"






Rural health

Human fertility

Rural residence is a fertility factor (demography), 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.

Academic study

Because of their unique dynamics, different academic fields have developed to study rural communities.


Rural planning

Rural planning is an academic discipline that exists ''within'' or ''alongside'' the field of urban planning, regional planning or urbanism. The definition of these fields differs between languages and contexts. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably.


See also

*American Frontier, American Old West *Boondocks *Bushland *Country house *Developed areas *Digital divide *Landed gentry *Nature *Outback *Peasantry *Rural Community Council *Rural crafts *Rural ghetto *Rural Internet *Urban decay *Wilderness


Further reading

*  Thomas C. Ricketts, Karen D. Johnson-Webb, Patricia Taylor. Chapel Hill: North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina, 1998. 13 p.

External links

Census 2000 Urban and Rural ClassificationNorth West Rural Affairs Forum (England)Canadian Rural PartnershipThe Better India- Rural IndiaIndia Rural Population
{{DEFAULTSORT:Rural Area City Ecology Human habitats Rural society Rural culture Rural economics Rural geography Settlement geography