Rural population (% of total population) - Country Ranking

Definition: Rural population refers to people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the difference between total population and urban population.

Source: World Bank staff estimates based on the United Nations Population Division's World Urbanization Prospects.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Trinidad and Tobago 91.65 2016
2 Burundi 87.64 2016
3 Papua New Guinea 86.96 2016
4 Liechtenstein 85.72 2016
5 Uganda 83.56 2016
6 Malawi 83.55 2016
7 Sri Lanka 81.59 2016
8 St. Lucia 81.46 2016
9 Samoa 81.05 2016
10 Nepal 81.01 2016
11 Niger 80.99 2016
12 Ethiopia 80.08 2016
13 Cambodia 79.06 2016
14 Eritrea 79.05 2011
15 Swaziland 78.69 2016
16 Chad 77.38 2016
17 Solomon Islands 77.22 2016
18 Antigua and Barbuda 76.61 2016
19 Tonga 76.20 2016
20 Kenya 73.95 2016
21 Vanuatu 73.56 2016
22 Tajikistan 73.11 2016
23 Afghanistan 72.87 2016
24 Lesotho 72.16 2016
25 Comoros 71.59 2016
26 Guyana 71.34 2016
27 Rwanda 70.23 2016
28 Burkina Faso 69.31 2016
29 Barbados 68.59 2016
30 St. Kitts and Nevis 67.85 2016
31 Zimbabwe 67.72 2016
32 Tanzania 67.68 2016
33 Mozambique 67.49 2016
34 India 66.86 2016
35 Timor-Leste 66.60 2016
36 Sudan 65.99 2016
37 Vietnam 65.76 2016
38 Myanmar 65.35 2016
39 Bangladesh 64.97 2016
40 Yemen 64.81 2016
41 Grenada 64.38 2016
42 Madagascar 64.26 2016
43 Kyrgyz Republic 64.15 2016
44 Uzbekistan 63.52 2016
45 Guinea 62.35 2016
46 Pakistan 60.78 2016
47 Bhutan 60.62 2016
48 Mauritius 60.45 2016
49 Lao PDR 60.35 2016
50 Bosnia and Herzegovina 60.06 2016
51 Somalia 59.97 2016
52 Equatorial Guinea 59.90 2016
53 Sierra Leone 59.68 2016
54 Central African Republic 59.67 2016
55 Togo 59.54 2016
56 Mali 59.32 2016
57 Zambia 58.62 2016
58 Dem. Rep. Congo 56.99 2016
59 Egypt 56.78 2016
60 Belize 56.16 2016
61 Senegal 55.94 2016
62 Philippines 55.71 2016
63 Benin 55.61 2016
64 Kiribati 55.55 2016
65 Angola 55.18 2016
66 Moldova 54.91 2016
67 Namibia 52.38 2016
68 Nigeria 51.40 2016
69 Slovenia 50.37 2016
70 Guinea-Bissau 49.91 2016
71 Liberia 49.90 2016
72 Turkmenistan 49.60 2016
73 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 49.10 2016
74 Thailand 48.46 2016
75 Guatemala 47.97 2016
76 Kazakhstan 46.77 2016
77 Slovak Republic 46.53 2016
78 Georgia 46.17 2016
79 Fiji 45.90 2016
80 Seychelles 45.79 2016
81 Indonesia 45.53 2016
82 Ghana 45.32 2016
83 Romania 45.25 2016
84 Côte d'Ivoire 45.13 2016
85 Azerbaijan 45.11 2016
86 Cameroon 45.06 2016
87 Jamaica 44.97 2016
88 Honduras 44.69 2016
89 Serbia 44.33 2016
90 China 43.22 2016
91 Macedonia 42.80 2016
92 Botswana 42.29 2016
93 Syrian Arab Republic 41.94 2016
94 Albania 41.62 2016
95 Nicaragua 40.89 2016
96 Croatia 40.72 2016
97 Haiti 40.21 2016
98 Paraguay 40.08 2016
99 The Gambia 39.78 2016
100 Mauritania 39.55 2016
101 Poland 39.47 2016
102 Tuvalu 39.38 2016
103 Morocco 39.32 2016
104 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 38.95 2016
105 Armenia 37.44 2016
106 Ireland 36.47 2016
107 Ecuador 36.02 2016
108 Portugal 35.98 2016
109 Montenegro 35.78 2016
110 South Africa 34.71 2016
111 São Tomé and Principe 34.35 2016
112 Congo 34.20 2016
113 Suriname 33.99 2016
114 Austria 33.97 2016
115 Cabo Verde 33.81 2016
116 Lithuania 33.49 2016
117 Cyprus 33.16 2016
118 Panama 33.11 2016
119 Tunisia 32.95 2016
120 El Salvador 32.81 2016
121 Latvia 32.64 2016
122 Estonia 32.53 2016
123 Bolivia 31.09 2016
124 Italy 30.88 2016
125 Iraq 30.41 2016
126 Dominica 30.18 2016
127 Ukraine 30.09 2016
128 New Caledonia 29.26 2016
129 Algeria 28.70 2016
130 Hungary 28.33 2016
131 Mongolia 27.18 2016
132 Czech Republic 27.02 2016
133 Iran 26.12 2016
134 Turkey 26.11 2016
135 Switzerland 26.01 2016
136 Russia 25.90 2016
137 Bulgaria 25.73 2016
138 Malaysia 24.63 2016
139 Germany 24.49 2016
140 Colombia 23.29 2016
141 Belarus 22.95 2016
142 Cuba 22.82 2016
143 Djibouti 22.57 2016
144 Brunei 22.50 2016
145 Costa Rica 22.33 2016
146 Oman 21.91 2016
147 Greece 21.67 2016
148 Libya 21.25 2016
149 Peru 21.08 2016
150 Mexico 20.48 2016
151 France 20.25 2016
152 Spain 20.20 2016
153 Dominican Republic 20.16 2016
154 Norway 19.27 2016
155 United States 18.21 2016
156 Canada 17.99 2016
157 Korea 17.41 2016
158 United Kingdom 17.17 2016
159 The Bahamas 17.05 2016
160 Saudi Arabia 16.67 2016
161 Jordan 16.10 2016
162 Finland 15.64 2016
163 Andorra 15.39 2016
164 United Arab Emirates 14.20 2016
165 Brazil 14.07 2016
166 Sweden 14.04 2016
167 New Zealand 13.68 2016
168 Greenland 13.19 2016
169 Gabon 12.63 2016
170 Palau 12.36 2016
171 Denmark 12.15 2016
172 Lebanon 12.09 2016
173 Bahrain 11.17 2016
174 Venezuela 10.96 2016
175 Australia 10.45 2016
176 Chile 10.30 2016
177 Luxembourg 9.57 2016
178 Netherlands 8.97 2016
179 Argentina 8.11 2016
180 Israel 7.80 2016
181 Puerto Rico 6.43 2016
182 Japan 6.07 2016
183 San Marino 5.78 2016
184 Iceland 5.77 2016
185 Uruguay 4.54 2016
186 Malta 4.47 2016
187 Belgium 2.10 2016
188 Kuwait 1.64 2016
189 Qatar 0.68 2016
190 Singapore 0.00 2016
190 Nauru 0.00 2016
190 Monaco 0.00 2016
190 Macao SAR, China 0.00 2016
190 Cayman Islands 0.00 2016
190 Hong Kong SAR, China 0.00 2016

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Development Relevance: The rural population is calculated using the urban share reported by the United Nations Population Division. There is no universal standard for distinguishing rural from urban areas, and any urban-rural dichotomy is an oversimplification. The two distinct images - isolated farm, thriving metropolis - represent poles on a continuum. Life changes along a variety of dimensions, moving from the most remote forest outpost through fields and pastures, past tiny hamlets, through small towns with weekly farm markets, into intensively cultivated areas near large towns and small cities, eventually reaching the center of a megacity. Along the way access to infrastructure, social services, and nonfarm employment increase, and with them population density and income. A 2005 World Bank Policy Research Paper proposes an operational definition of rurality based on population density and distance to large cities (Chomitz, Buys, and Thomas 2005). The report argues that these criteria are important gradients along which economic behavior and appropriate development interventions vary substantially. Where population densities are low, markets of all kinds are thin, and the unit cost of delivering most social services and many types of infrastructure is high. Where large urban areas are distant, farm-gate or factory-gate prices of outputs will be low and input prices will be high, and it will be difficult to recruit skilled people to public service or private enterprises. Thus, low population density and remoteness together define a set of rural areas that face special development challenges. Countries differ in the way they classify population as "urban" or "rural." Most countries use an urban classification related to the size or characteristics of settlements. Some define urban areas based on the presence of certain infrastructure and services. And other countries designate urban areas based on administrative arrangements. Because of national differences in the characteristics that distinguish urban from rural areas, the distinction between urban and rural population is not amenable to a single definition that would be applicable to all countries. Rural population methodology is defined by various national statistical offices. In the United States, for example, the US Census Bureau's urban-rural classification is fundamentally a delineation of geographical areas, identifying both individual urban areas and the rural areas of the nation. "Rural" encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.

Limitations and Exceptions: Aggregation of urban and rural population may not add up to total population because of different country coverage. There is no consistent and universally accepted standard for distinguishing urban from rural areas, in part because of the wide variety of situations across countries. Estimates of the world's urban population would change significantly if China, India, and a few other populous nations were to change their definition of urban centers. Because the estimates of city and metropolitan area are based on national definitions of what constitutes a city or metropolitan area, cross-country comparisons should be made with caution. To estimate urban populations, UN ratios of urban to total population were applied to the World Bank's estimates of total population.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Rural population is calculated as the difference between the total population and the urban population. Rural population is approximated as the midyear nonurban population. While a practical means of identifying the rural population, it is not a precise measure. The United Nations Population Division and other agencies provide current population estimates for developing countries that lack recent census data and pre- and post-census estimates for countries with census data.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual