Difference Between Urban and Rural

‘Urban’ and ‘rural’ are two words that we grow up hearing, especially when we start social science classes and economics classes in particular. We always hear about these words when we are describing cities and villages in our country, that some parts of our country are urban while other parts are rural areas. So, what do we mean by urban and rural and what is the difference between urban and rural? Let us try to understand the difference between urban and rural now, by first understanding what these terms mean separately and then equating them with one another.

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What is the Difference Between Urban and Rural

Difference Between Urban and Rural 1


Urban areas refer to areas which have gone through development or are relatively more developed than other areas. This means that there is a good amount of infrastructure in this area, which is why it is termed an urban place. Infrastructure refers to buildings that contain institutions such as schools, colleges, hospitals, sanitation, water supply, electric supply, transportation facilities, etc. When we talk about infrastructure, we talk about the systems that are put in place to help people attain the basic amenities in life with ease, and to live their lives in a better, easier and more efficient manner.

The word ‘urbanisation’ comes from the word ‘urban’ and it refers to carrying out the process of development including the building of infrastructure. Areas which are considered to be urban were, at a point, rural areas at first. It is after infrastructure comes up in such areas that it is then deemed an urban area. Urban areas consist of places like cities, and the most urbanised of these are called the cosmopolitan cities. In India, among the cosmopolitan cities are Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.


In talking about urbanisation, we need to first look at rural areas. Rural areas are those areas which are more or less lacking in infrastructure and development. This refers to a lack of good educational institutions, medical facilities, and the other aspects of development which have been mentioned before. Rural areas are characterised by this very lack of infrastructure and development. However, when these areas begin to develop, we can begin to call it a developed or developing area which is partaking in urbanisation. Rural areas generally consist of remote areas, including places like villages and small towns.


Suburbs are sort of a mix between the characteristics of a rural area and that of an urban area. Suburbs enjoy the benefits of an urban area while at a safe distance from the hustle and bustle of an urban city, usually lying on the outskirts of cities, bordering being a suburban residential towns just outside cities.

Difference Between Urban and Rural

The main difference between urban and rural areas are the infrastructural differences. Urban areas are characterised by the abundance of development and infrastructure, while rural areas are characterised by a lack of the same. In rural areas, this includes the lack of properly paved roads, the lack of educational and employment opportunities, lack of clean and sanitised medical facilities, frequent power outages, etc. A lower population can also generally be found in rural areas owing to the migration of the working class to urban areas. Urban areas are characterised by the opposite of rural areas, where what rural areas lack in, urban spaces have it.

Another prime difference between urban and rural is that rural can turn into urban, and it most often does, while urban most often will not change back into rural areas.

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