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The dimensions of rurality: Implications for classifying inhabitants as 'rural', implications for rural policy and implications for rural indicators


  • Bollman, Ray D.
  • Reimer, Bill


Abstract Discussions on the meaning of rurality continue. The FAO is pursuing an international definition of rural (Offut, 2016) and the USDA/ERS has recently reviewed its rural definition (National Academies, 2016). Our objective is to discuss the dimensions of rurality in order to discuss: The classification of individuals as rural ; The implications for rural policy; and The implications for rural indicators. Rurality is a spatial concept. The key dimensions of rurality are the density and the distance-to-density of the localities of individuals, enterprises, or institutions. Thus, the dimensions of density and distance-to-density define rurality . Many characteristics of rural actors are correlated with rurality. However, these characteristics do not define rurality. The meaning of rural policy follows from the two dimensions of rurality -- the consideration of the two rurality dimensions of any policy would constitute rural policy. The preparation of statistical tabulations and the desire to target public policy requires the determination of the spatial grid (i.e. the boundaries of each locality) and the thresholds for density, and for distance-to-density in order to classify localities. These thresholds do not define rurality . The choice of the threshold simply classifies actors along the continuum of density and distance-to-density. Acknowledgement :

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  • Bollman, Ray D. & Reimer, Bill, 2018. "The dimensions of rurality: Implications for classifying inhabitants as 'rural', implications for rural policy and implications for rural indicators," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277251, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277251
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277251

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