Difference Between Rural and Urban

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Rural and Urban

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Any kind of human settlement that one reads about can be classified chiefly into two kinds. These are urban and rural areas. However, most settlements that existed for as long as man has recorded history can be classified as rural areas. It was the advent of technology and other such conveniences that invented urban society and developed from there. While most people can easily distinguish between urban and rural areas in the context of population and development, let us look at more such factors that differentiate an urban area from its counterpart.

Rural vs. Urban

The main difference between rural and urban lies in their geographical characteristics. Rural areas are mostly open areas comprising villages and small towns whereas urban areas are those that have dived deep into modern technology, both in technology and architecture. While rural areas generally lie in proximity to several kinds of terrains such as mountains, plains, and valleys, urban areas are built far from such locations and mostly comprise concrete jungles.

Difference Between Rural and Urban in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Rural Urban
Settlements Rural areas comprise smaller human settlements such as villages, farms, hamlets, and different sizes of towns. Urban areas comprise larger human settlements such as cities, conurbations, and megalopoleis.
Physical terrains Rural areas lie in proximity to terrains such as plains, valleys, and mountains. Urban areas generally do not lie close to such natural terrains and consist of more concrete, artificial terrains.
Population density Rural areas have lesser population density. Urban areas are highly populated.
Mobility There is very little scope for mobility, both occupational and social. There is higher scope for social and occupational mobility.
Employment There are fewer employment opportunities or any diversity in the available professions. Most of the professions are associated with farming. There is a wider range of opportunities when one is looking for a job. This means both higher jobs and diversity.
Division of labor There is generally no division of labor in rural areas. Urban areas enjoy division of labor as there is a higher organization of jobs and opportunities.
Cultural differences. Rural areas have higher cultural differences and thus cannot enjoy social homogeneity. Urban areas usually have people hailing from different creeds, castes, races, and religions. Thus they have a higher homogeneity and enjoy the same social status.
Adaptation People belonging to rural areas might find it difficult to adapt to changes or integrations of newer technology and habits. People belonging to urban areas are mostly wired to accept and adapt to any changes thrown at them in the fast-moving city life.
Technology Villages are rarely introduced to modern technology and most of the crowd find it difficult to use and hence seldom use the technology. Urban communities are built on technology. They integrate any new techniques as they arrive in the market.
Respect and security Women belonging to rural areas are not given much freedom of choice as most of such areas remain underdeveloped and illiterate. Women living in urban areas are provided higher opportunities comparatively and literacy is higher in these areas.
Family Rural folks generally maintain joint families. Urban folks rarely include joint families and majorly promote nuclear families.
Facilities Rural areas have little to no reach to medical and educational facilities. Urban areas have higher medical and educational institutions with several branches of the same.

What is Rural?

A rural area can be defined and distinguished by more factors than just geography and population count. Let us dissect further to see the characteristics of a rural area.


  • Rural areas have a very slow-moving and peaceful lifestyle.
  • Majority of the crowd accept farming and agriculture as their profession.
  • The standard of living is lower than that of the city in terms of the money they make.
  • Despite the above fact, they live a rich life by adopting organic ways of living as they have a higher amount of naturally derived products.

Livelihood and professions:-

  • Since most crowds choose agriculture, there isn’t any availability of other jobs that bring money.
  • The lack of development in such communities also weighs into this factor as there will be no diversity.
  • There is not much diversity in the employment opportunities variable for the people living in rural areas. This is also the treason why most of the crowd migrates to the city to earn through other modes of livelihood.
  • This leads to the fact that there is no diversity of labor. There aren't any specializations concerning job allotment.


  • There are seldom any opportunities provided for the community to develop technologically.
  • There are also times when a new technology is introduced that was previously unknown to people, they can't quite seem to adapt to these new integrations. There is a high potential that they will reject these changes as they are more familiar with older techniques and traditions.
  • This means that rural folk finds it harder to adapt to any new integrations of technology that affect their everyday life.

Family, culture & traditions:-

  • It is a popular observation that rural communities mostly choose joint families. This can also be since there is a lower percentage of literacy in rural areas.
  • Rural folk tend to preserve their culture as there isn't much exposure to the outside world.
  • People have higher harmony amongst their families and live with more peace..
  • There is a stronger connection and respect for nature.
  • Traditions are conserved generations altogether.

Social barriers:-

  • There is a lot of discrimination based on caste, creed, gender, race, and religion.
  • Because of this, there is not any homogeneity amongst the people, which can give them a wider window for conflicts.
  • There is a huge inequality among classes of people.
  • Women residing in rural areas are still not given complete freedom and hold of their life. They are restricted by a significant amount, not because the law demands it but because society does not accept these changes with ease.


  • Rural areas are usually deprived of basic facilities that are essential for any kind of community.
  • These facilities include hospitals, educational institutions, police, and other emergency services.
  • Lack of essential emergency services also means that there is lesser security for people living in such rural areas.

Examples of human settlements in rural areas include villages, towns, hamlets, and farms. Oftentimes, farms are categorized as urban settlements but it mostly depends upon the population count and the level of development.

What is Urban?

Urban areas have a higher density of population and a wider variety of establishments. However, there is so much more to an urban settlement than just the kinds of terrain and population to define it by. Let us disintegrate the factors that characterize an urban area.


  • A person living in an urban establishment has a very fast-paced life that can be complicated and complex.
  • Urban folks make larger amounts of money than the village folk and thus concerning this factor, they are said to have a higher standard of living.
  • The cost of living in urban areas is higher than the rural areas. Thus, any person residing in urban settlements needs to earn more than just the average amount required to maintain the lifestyle of an individual.
  • There is no one path that the crowd follows, providing the people higher opportunities for livelihood.

This leads us to-

Livelihood and professions:-

  • Unlike agriculture, there is a higher choice of professions that are offered to anyone living in urban areas.
  • This is because cities and other such urban settlements are much more developed than rural settlements.
  • There is a higher infusion of technology. When this is weighed with the fact that there is a high population density, It is understandable that urban areas have a high diversity of jobs.
  • It is not just the diversity of professions that the city life has to offer but also the diversity of labor among the existing professions.
  • The higher allowance of professional opportunities and mobility is a major reason why a significant crowd always migrates to urban areas and settles down there.
  • Most jobs in rural areas depend highly on seasonal factors and other unpredictable conditions. Unlike this, urban life offers job stability, which means that there is a stable means of livelihood.


  • Urban settlements are basically built on the roots of technology. They are also a major factor of distinction between an urban settlement and a rural establishment.
  • Any new potential integration of technology is easily accepted and adopted by the people.
  • Since the people here are wired to live a fast-paced life that is always susceptible to changes, there is higher growth and development.

Family, culture & traditions:-

  • Unlike rural communities, urban communities encourage nuclear families.
  • There is a higher focus on an individual rather than the family as a whole.
  • It is easy for people to soften their hold on traditions since most urban communities comprise people hailing from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Most cities are built away from nature and do not have much greenery.

Social barriers:-

  • People of urban settlements enjoy almost the same social status as everyone as there is a lesser bias.
  • This is because most of the crowd who live in an urban settlement are educated to find a means of livelihood.
  • Women are given a higher amount of opportunities when compared. they enjoy equality in more contexts than the womenfolk of rural areas.


  • Urban folk enjoy a wide range of facilities, either medical, educational, or emergency.
  • They not only have the advantage of living close to such facilities but also have branches in several areas as cities are made of larger areas.

Main Differences Between Rural and Urban in Points

  • Rural areas differ in terms of the size of the settlements they comprise. Rural areas include smaller settlements such as villages, hamlets, and farms whereas urban areas have larger settlements such as cities and megalopoleis.
  • Rural areas include or lie close to physical terrains such as valleys and mountain areas. Urban areas, on the other hand, are built far away from such areas with natural terrains.
  • Rural areas have very few and scattered populations whereas urban areas are highly populated.
  • People belonging to rural areas need to work harder to find employment as they have lesser opportunities or diversity of professions. Urban folks can achieve employment easily and have a wider range of opportunities to choose from.
  • For the same reason, rural areas do not have any division of labor. Whereas, urban areas have a higher division of labor since they have more opportunities and diversity of professions.
  • In terms of cultural differences, rural communities have higher differences and thus the potential for conflicts. They cannot enjoy the same status. Urban areas have crowds hailing from numerous castes and creeds, thus giving them higher homogeneity. This means they can enjoy, more or less, the same social status.
  • When there is a new change introduced in the communities, rural areas find it difficult to accept these changes whereas urban communities are habituated to such changes. This helps them adapt to any changes that are introduced.
  • Such changes, chiefly the ones involving technology, are rarely provided to rural areas. Thus, it is understandable why rural areas cannot withstand such changes. Urban areas, on the other hand, infuse any technologies as they arrive. As a result, they are used to such integrations of newer technologies into their livelihood.
  • Womenfolk in rural areas still seem to be fighting for some basic rights. These are not restricted by the law but by social barriers. Urban areas offer equal opportunities to women when compared to rural areas. This can be due to higher literacy levels in urban communities.
  • Rural communities maintain joint families whereas urban communities seldom consist of joint families. They encourage a nuclear family establishment.
  • Rural areas have a lesser reach to general essentials and facilities such as hospitals and proper schools. On the other hand, urban areas have not only concrete establishments of facilities but also wide branching of the same.


To conclude the article with a fun note, we can summarize that while rural areas are closer to the green jungles, urban areas comprise concrete jungles! No? Ah well, we’ll stick to what we know the best, happy learning!



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"Difference Between Rural and Urban." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 11 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-rural-and-urban-219>.

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