Difference Between Rural and Urban Sociology

Key Difference – Rural vs Urban Sociology

Rural Sociology and Urban Sociology are two major sub-disciplines of Sociology, between which there are some differences. The key difference between rural and urban sociology is that the rural sociology, as the term itself suggests, studies the rural communities whereas the urban sociology focuses on the metropolis. The rural sociology goes hand in hand with Environmental Sociology, which mainly studies nature and agricultural aspects of rural communities. Urban Sociology deals with city areas, and this subject field was highly developed after the industrial revolution.

What is Rural Sociology?

Since Sociology is a vast area of study, it has been divided into several sub-fields. Rural Sociology is one of the sub-study areas of Sociology. This mainly studies about the rural communities and the characteristics regarding agricultural, conventional, and cultural aspects that are common to rural areas. It is said that Rural Sociology developed as a subject area in the United States in the 1900s, but now, it has become an interesting subject field. Rural communities have their own customs and traditions that they uphold, and agriculture is one of the most common aspects in a rural community. Thus, Sociology of food and agriculture is one of the main study areas in Rural Sociology.

In addition, rural sociology studies about the migration of people from rural to urban areas, demographic patterns, land policies and issues, environmental concerns, natural resources such as mines, rivers, lakes etc. and social beliefs and cultural systems. Many social issues are included in Rural Sociology, and most of the sociologists focus their attention on third world countries where there are many natural resources as well as social issues.difference between rural and urban sociology

What is Urban Sociology?

Urban Sociology deals with the studies of social issues that arise in metropolitan areas. This discipline studies the problems, changes, patterns, structures, and processes of urban areas, and it also tries to help with planning and policy making of urban areas. The majority of the population may be living in cities, and many developmental projects are based in city areas. Thus, it is necessary to understand the changes, issues and effects of developmental processes towards the society as well as towards the individuals. Urban sociologists use statistical methods, interviews, observations and other research methods to conduct their studies. Urban Sociology mainly focuses on demographic patterns, change of values and ethics, economics, poverty, racial issues, etc.

Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim are said to be the pioneers of Urban Sociology, who first started this subject field. As a result of the industrial revolution, many people from rural areas migrated to cities, seeking employment.This gave rise to many social issues and urban sociologists were needed to study them.

rural vs. urban key difference

What is the Difference between Rural and Urban Sociology?

Definition of Rural and Urban Sociology

Rural Sociology: Rural Sociology studies about the societal aspects of rural areas.

Urban Sociology: Urban Sociology studies about the social aspects of urban areas.

Focus of  Rural and Urban Sociology

Rural Sociology: Mainly focuses on the agricultural areas, food, culture and beliefs of rural communities.

Urban Sociology: Mainly focuses on the economy, poverty, racial issues, social change, etc.


Image Courtesy :
“Kretinga rural tourism” by Beny Shlevich  (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons 
“Ginza area at dusk from Tokyo Tower” by Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons.  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons