Difference between Urban and Rural: Urban vs Rural Areas

By K Balaji|Updated : January 20th, 2023

The difference between Urban and Rural is that a rural area is a geographic area located outside cities, whereas urban areas are towns, cities, and suburbs. Rural areas have a low population density, while urban areas have a high population density. They can be differentiated based on amenities, social and physical environment, population density, labour force, etc. A rural area is a geographical area located on the outskirts of cities or developed areas. It is generally referred to as villages. As per 2018 data, more than 65% of the Indian population lives in rural areas.

Difference Between Urban and Rural PDF

On the other hand, an urban area, also called cities, suburbs, and town, is densely populated, developed, and has all basic necessities easily available. Urban and rural areas exist all around us. Citizens should know the basic dissimilarities between them to be fully aware of the geographical differences in their countries. Get complete information about the difference between Urban and Rural areas in this article, along with the rural and urban meaning, livelihood, features, etc.

Table of Content

Difference between Urban and Rural Settlements

Human settlements are divided into two parts, namely rural and urban society. Both urban and rural areas play their role in describing our country, and rural areas are as crucial to our country as urban areas.

Understand the difference between Urban and Rural based on the population size, type of development, division of labour, social mobility, environment, and lifestyle of people through the table given below.

Rural vs Urban Areas

Go through the following table to learn 10 differences between rural and urban livelihood:

Urban Area

Rural Area

Cities, metropolitans, and suburbs can be termed urban areas.

When we talk about a rural area, we primarily talk about a village.

Infrastructural and transit services are abundantly available in urban areas. For example, an urban area can consist of a railway line, airport, roads, and ports.

Infrastructural developments and connectivity aren't usually observed in rural areas.

The available land in an urban area is used for development. Usually, there isn't much vacant land in an urban area.

In a rural area, one can find vacant land without any signs of development.

Urban areas possess a high population density.

The population density is usually low in rural areas.

The people in these areas have a quick and complicated life due to stressful workloads.

Individuals living in rural areas have comparatively simple and relaxed lifestyles.

Around 35% of India's population lives in urban areas.

Around 65% of India's population resides in rural areas.

Residents can perform agricultural practices along with trade, commerce or other services.

The people are associated with agriculture and livestock.

Labour is divided for each task during the time of job allotment.

There is no division of labour available.

Urban individuals are highly intensive as they frequently shift their work or dwelling in search of better options.

Rural people are less intensive in terms of occupational or territorial mobility.

Due to automobiles, industries, warehouses, and factories, urban areas get polluted.

The pollution level is low in rural areas compared to urban areas.

One does not have to demean any human settlement to understand the distinction between urban and rural areas.

  • Rural areas are known for their agricultural services if urban areas promote industrialization.
  • However, the government always tries to bring more social amenities to rural areas.
  • By bringing more facilities to a rural area, the ecosystem and greenery of a village shouldn't be hampered.

Rural and Urban Society

Urban areas and Rural areas are differentiated based on geography, population density, social amenities, education facilities, and many other factors. Any human settlement can either be a rural area or an urban area.

  • The rate of economic development and industrialization in an urban area is high.
  • Compared to an urban area, the rate of development in a rural area is low.
  • Also, rural areas generally have less population density than urban areas. Similarly, several other factors can differentiate rural and urban regions, as mentioned in the table above.

☛ Also Check: Factors influencing Rural Settlements

What is a Rural Area?

  • ‘Rural’ is a region found on the outskirts. It indicates a small settlement outside the city boundaries, commercial or industrial.
  • Rural locations can comprise countryside places, towns, or villages, with uncultivated vegetation and open stretches.
  • The population density in these areas is also significantly less.
  • The fundamental source of revenue for the inhabitants is agribusiness and animal husbandry, along with setting up cottage industries.
  • According to the planning commission, the rural definition in India is for those towns with a population below 15000.
  • These areas are taken care of by Gram Panchayat.
  • It is known that a maximum number of males are employed in farming and other related business in the villages, and there is no municipal board.

What is an Urban Area?

  • Urban simply defines a region or area which is densely occupied and contains the aspects of man-made surroundings.
  • Residents in urban locations are engaged in trade, business, or services.
  • Urban settlement offers better employment opportunities as there is a tremendous boost in the growth of industries due to industrialization.
  • These areas, along with cities, also comprise towns and suburban areas.
  • Such an area offers comfortable access to various luxuries, adequate transport facilities, entertainment and schooling options, and healthcare establishments.
  • Due to industrialization in urban areas, there is an increase in pollution and the spreading of human diseases because of the widespread usage of transport like personal cars and public vehicles like buses, trains, etc.


Key Difference between Urban and Rural

In urban areas, the land is used for developmental activities. Most of the land is utilized, and only a little land area is available. In contrast, rural areas have vast empty areas or lands with fewer development activities than urban areas. 

  • The Census Bureau outlines urban areas after each decennial census by setting standards for the decennial census and other data.
  • Rural possesses all inhabitants, housing, and territory not incorporated within an urban area.
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FAQs on Difference between Urban and Rural

  • Technological difference between Urban and Rural settlements influences job opportunities. In urban areas, various jobs are available in trade, manufacturing, commerce, and IT. On the other hand, employment in rural areas is mainly related to agriculture and animal husbandry.

  • An increase in population and industrialization of a settlement is referred to as urbanization. In the modern world, with the growing impact of urbanization, rural areas are adversely affected by the waste generated through factories in cities, increased pollution levels, etc., and village people are forced to move to cities in search of employment opportunities.

  • Rural settlements are in direct contact with nature, which is why these areas are more inclined towards agriculture. The pollution level is also low in rural areas compared to the cities. Due to automobiles, industries, warehouses, and factories, urban areas are more polluted.

  • Technology is more developed in urban settlements as compared to villages. Over the last 1 or 2 decades, there has been an improvement in technology in the rural areas as well. Nowadays, people in villages have mobile phones, television, etc., but the accessibility is limited to only a few.

  • The five differences between rural and urban areas are based on population size, development, division of labour, social mobility, and the type of environment. Cities are more advanced than villages and face various types of pollution as they are engaged in developed man-made surroundings.

  • In rural areas, women are uneducated and primarily handle household chores while the male population manages the agricultural and other activities. In urban areas, females are uplifted to complete their education and work outside. Both men and women are equally employed in different service sectors.

  • Approximately 83.3 crore individuals live in rural areas out of 121 crore Indians while only 37.7 crore people abide in urban areas.

  • A rural area is more connected to the countryside than urban areas and positively influences well-being as it improves the quality of life. Rural areas are more spacious and bear their gardens, making them ideal for raising families who undergo cultivation.

  • A rural is a region found on the outskirts. It indicates a small settlement outside the city boundaries, commercial or industrial. On the other hand, Urban defines a region or area which is densely occupied and contains the aspects of artificial surroundings.

  • Sectors that include India's rural economy contribute to nearly half of the nation's GDP and are developing steadily, backed by the government and private sector progress to the physical and digital infrastructure.

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