Rural Population – Concept, characteristics and urban population

We explain what a rural population is and what its characteristics are. In addition, its differences with the urban population.

Rural population - field
The rural population is as old as human civilization itself.

What is the rural population?

When we speak of the rural population we refer to those sectors of a country or a region that make life outside the cities, in geographic sectors with low population density and whose usual economic activities tend to be agricultural. These rural regions tend to be much larger than urban ones, and depending on the degree of development of the country, they can be more or less poor than their urban counterparts.

Rural population is as old as human civilization itself. In fact, the first permanent settlements of humanity (that is, the abandonment of nomadism) arose from the hand of agricultural activity and domestication, since it was much more productive to stay in the same place and exploit the soil, than to wander around. waiting for food.

Today, in the post-industrial world, rural populations are the majority in less developed and industrialized countries, that is, in those with the most dependent economies. On the other hand, in the so-called “First World” countries, the predominance of the urban population, whose food comes from external regions, is notorious. Similarly, from a global perspective, urban life is much more abundant than rural life.

Characteristics of the rural population

Asian farmers
The agricultural population is usually much poorer than the urban population.

Rural population can vary significantly from region to region or country to country, but it usually always has some more or less related characteristics. Historically, the rural population tends to live in larger families, since the birth rate is higher than in the cities, and therefore they tend to be very young populations, economically oriented towards agricultural work or livestock. His contact with nature is constant, and his day is determined by the biological clock.

However, in recent times, the rural population had to face the lack of exploitable land to guarantee its growth and the low profitability of its products compared to technologies or manufactured products from industrial society, eminently urban. Thus, there was a worldwide exodus from rural to cities, accelerating the urbanization process and leaving the countryside either in the hands of a few families of landowners, large agricultural companies, or, failing that, of various types of agricultural associations that, in some cases, they barely exceed the subsistence economy.

In the Third World countries, in addition, the agricultural population it is usually much poorer than urban, having to face peripheral, marginal living conditions, with very low economic income and relative isolation from State services.

Differences between rural and urban population

Urban population
The urban population often live more hectic and less healthy lives.

The rural and urban populations are distinguished in many aspects, the most important of which is food production. Cities are not good or great food producers, for which they require agricultural inputs from the field. In this sense, cities are highly dependent on the rural population, but at the same time the products manufactured in urban factories have added value that, despite depending on raw materials from the countryside, make them much more expensive.

On the other hand, cities consume much more energy than agriculture, and it is these and not the field the place where the political power resides and the instances of the State are established: ministries, embassies, centers of power, etc. Despite this, the urban population tends to live more hectic, less healthy lives, exposed to much higher levels of pollution and stress, so it is not surprising that they live less. Even so, the distribution of work in urban society is much more diverse than in rural society, centered on the primary sector. The secondary, tertiary and quaternary are generally linked to the industrial population of the city.

Rural population of Mexico

As is the case in many other Latin American countries, the Mexican population has an eminently agricultural history, since the colonial society established by the Spanish Crown in the 16th century was extractive in nature: cultivate and exploit the resources of the American soil to send its resources to the European metropolis. This development model was maintained despite independence, to the point that its nineteenth-century conflicts and other more contemporary ones such as the Mexican Revolution were, in essence, conflicts over land tenure.

Despite intense modernization campaigns by governments such as Benito Juárez, until 1950 just over 57% of the Mexican population lived in rural areas, many in conditions of extreme poverty. This figure has decreased over the course of the 20th century, falling to 29% in 1990 and 22% in 2010. Most of this population is concentrated in the states of the southern fringe of the country: Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco , but Zacatecas, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz also stand out.

There is also a link between indigenous communities and rural lifeThus, most of the remaining native communities preserve their traditional ways of life, linked to agriculture and the exploitation of endemic species.