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Rural areas are sparsely settled places away from the influence of large cities and towns. Such areas are distinct from more intensively settled urban and suburban areas, and also from unsettled lands such as outback or wilderness. People live in villages, on farms and in other isolated houses.

Rural areas can have an agricultural character, though many rural areas are characterized by an economy based on logging, mining, oil and gas exploration, or tourism.

Lifestyles in rural areas are different than those in urban areas, mainly because limited services are available. Governmental services like law enforcement, schools, fire departments, and libraries may be distant, limited in scope, or unavailable. Utilities like water, sewer, street lighting, and garbage collection may not be present. Public transport is absent or very limited, people use their own vehicles, walk or ride an animal.

See also: the digital divide and rural areas


Hart, John Fraiser. The Rural Landscape, ISBN 0801857171.

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