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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Rural Areas

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 19929, tabled on 24 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how his Department defines rurality.

Answered on

27 February 2020

There is an official statistical rural urban classification, based on the 2011 Census, which determines settlements with populations of 10,000 or more as urban. Rural areas are defined as everywhere else and the classification determines rural towns (below 10,000 population); villages; and hamlets and isolated dwellings. The classification also distinguishes settlements in a sparse setting – where the surrounding area is sparsely populated.

A classification of local authority districts and other larger geographies also takes account of rural hub towns – towns with populations of 10,000 to 30,000 that are likely to provide important hub functions for the rural areas surrounding them.

Further details of the rural urban classification can be found at:

The rural urban classification is intended to support statistical analysis. Other definitions of rural could be more appropriate in some policy or analytical contexts.

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