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: 2018 Revision.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Burundi 86.97 2018
2 Papua New Guinea 86.83 2018
3 Liechtenstein 85.66 2018
4 Niger 83.58 2018
5 Malawi 83.06 2018
6 Rwanda 82.79 2018
7 Samoa 81.76 2018
8 Sri Lanka 81.52 2018
9 St. Lucia 81.32 2018
10 Nepal 80.26 2018
11 Ethiopia 79.24 2018
12 Chad 76.94 2018
13 Tonga 76.87 2018
14 Cambodia 76.61 2018
15 Solomon Islands 76.25 2018
16 Uganda 76.23 2018
17 Eswatini 76.20 2018
18 Antigua and Barbuda 75.40 2018
19 Vanuatu 74.73 2018
20 Afghanistan 74.51 2018
21 Guyana 73.39 2018
22 Kenya 72.97 2018
23 Tajikistan 72.87 2018
24 Lesotho 71.85 2018
25 Comoros 71.04 2018
26 Burkina Faso 70.64 2018
27 Timor-Leste 69.42 2018
28 Myanmar 69.42 2018
29 St. Kitts and Nevis 69.22 2018
30 Barbados 68.85 2018
31 Zimbabwe 67.79 2018
32 Tanzania 66.22 2018
33 India 65.97 2018
34 Sudan 65.36 2018
35 Lao PDR 65.00 2018
36 Eritrea 64.23 2011
37 Vietnam 64.08 2018
38 Mozambique 64.01 2018
39 Guinea 63.86 2018
40 Grenada 63.73 2018
41 Kyrgyz Republic 63.65 2018
42 Bangladesh 63.37 2018
43 Yemen 63.36 2018
44 Pakistan 63.33 2018
45 Madagascar 62.81 2018
46 Mauritius 59.21 2018
47 Bhutan 59.11 2018
48 Central African Republic 58.64 2018
49 Togo 58.30 2018
50 Sierra Leone 57.95 2018
51 Mali 57.64 2018
52 Moldova 57.37 2018
53 Egypt 57.30 2018
54 Guinea-Bissau 56.64 2018
55 Zambia 56.48 2018
56 Dem. Rep. Congo 55.54 2018
57 Somalia 55.03 2018
58 Belize 54.28 2018
59 Philippines 53.09 2018
60 Senegal 52.81 2018
61 Benin 52.69 2018
62 Bosnia and Herzegovina 51.76 2018
63 Thailand 50.05 2018
64 Namibia 49.97 2018
65 Nigeria 49.66 2018
66 Uzbekistan 49.52 2018
67 Côte d'Ivoire 49.22 2018
68 Guatemala 48.95 2018
69 Liberia 48.85 2018
70 Turkmenistan 48.41 2018
71 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 47.80 2018
72 Trinidad and Tobago 46.82 2018
73 Mauritania 46.33 2018
74 Slovak Republic 46.27 2018
75 Romania 46.00 2018
76 Kiribati 45.94 2018
77 Syrian Arab Republic 45.84 2018
78 Slovenia 45.46 2018
79 Haiti 44.72 2018
80 Indonesia 44.68 2018
81 Jamaica 44.33 2018
82 Azerbaijan 44.32 2018
83 Ghana 43.94 2018
84 Serbia 43.91 2018
85 Fiji 43.75 2018
86 Cameroon 43.63 2018
87 Seychelles 43.31 2018
88 Croatia 43.05 2018
89 Honduras 42.90 2018
90 Kazakhstan 42.57 2018
91 North Macedonia 42.04 2018
92 Austria 41.70 2018
93 Nicaragua 41.48 2018
94 Georgia 41.37 2018
95 China 40.85 2018
96 Poland 39.94 2018
97 Albania 39.68 2018
98 The Gambia 38.73 2018
99 Paraguay 38.42 2018
100 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 38.10 2018
101 Tuvalu 37.61 2018
102 Morocco 37.55 2018
103 Armenia 36.85 2018
104 Ireland 36.83 2018
105 Ecuador 36.18 2018
106 Portugal 34.79 2018
107 Angola 34.49 2018
108 Cabo Verde 34.27 2018
109 Suriname 33.94 2018
110 South Africa 33.65 2018
111 Cyprus 33.19 2018
112 Montenegro 33.19 2018
113 Congo 33.08 2018
114 Lithuania 32.32 2018
115 Panama 32.29 2018
116 Latvia 31.86 2018
117 Mongolia 31.56 2018
118 Estonia 31.12 2018
119 Tunisia 31.06 2018
120 Ukraine 30.65 2018
121 Bolivia 30.58 2018
122 Botswana 30.55 2018
123 Italy 29.56 2018
124 Iraq 29.53 2018
125 Dominica 29.52 2018
126 New Caledonia 29.32 2018
127 Hungary 28.65 2018
128 El Salvador 27.98 2018
129 Equatorial Guinea 27.86 2018
130 Algeria 27.37 2018
131 São Tomé and Principe 27.20 2018
132 Czech Republic 26.21 2018
133 Switzerland 26.20 2018
134 Russia 25.57 2018
135 Iran 25.10 2018
136 Bulgaria 24.99 2018
137 Turkey 24.86 2018
138 Malaysia 23.96 2018
139 Cuba 22.96 2018
140 Germany 22.69 2018
141 Brunei 22.37 2018
142 Djibouti 22.22 2018
143 Peru 22.09 2018
144 Belarus 21.41 2018
145 Greece 20.94 2018
146 Costa Rica 20.66 2018
147 Palau 20.07 2018
148 Libya 19.90 2018
149 Mexico 19.84 2018
150 Spain 19.68 2018
151 France 19.56 2018
152 Colombia 19.22 2018
153 Dominican Republic 18.93 2018
154 Canada 18.59 2018
155 Korea 18.54 2018
156 Norway 17.75 2018
157 United States 17.74 2018
158 The Bahamas 16.98 2018
159 United Kingdom 16.60 2018
160 Saudi Arabia 16.16 2018
161 Oman 15.46 2018
162 Finland 14.62 2018
163 Australia 13.99 2018
164 United Arab Emirates 13.48 2018
165 New Zealand 13.46 2018
166 Brazil 13.43 2018
167 Greenland 13.18 2018
168 Sweden 12.57 2018
169 Chile 12.44 2018
170 Denmark 12.13 2018
171 Andorra 11.94 2018
172 Venezuela 11.79 2018
173 Lebanon 11.41 2018
174 Bahrain 10.71 2018
175 Gabon 10.63 2018
176 Jordan 9.02 2018
177 Luxembourg 9.02 2018
178 Netherlands 8.51 2018
179 Japan 8.38 2018
180 Argentina 8.13 2018
181 Israel 7.58 2018
182 Puerto Rico 6.42 2018
183 Iceland 6.19 2018
184 Malta 5.39 2018
185 Uruguay 4.67 2018
186 San Marino 2.77 2018
187 Belgium 2.00 2018
188 Qatar 0.87 2018
189 Singapore 0.00 2018
189 Cayman Islands 0.00 2018
189 Nauru 0.00 2018
189 Monaco 0.00 2018
189 Kuwait 0.00 2018
189 Macao SAR, China 0.00 2018
189 Hong Kong SAR, China 0.00 2018

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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