Codes and Frequencies
URBAN indicates whether the household was located in a place designated as urban or as rural.
Comparability — Index
Comparability — General
The definition of "urban" varies significantly among countries. In some cases, the definition is based on a population threshold or other measurable criteria, in other cases the categorization is a consequence of administrative classification.
Comparability — Argentina [top]
In 1991 and 2001 urban areas include localities with 2,000 or more population. The remaining territory is classified as rural. There is no definition provided for 1980.
Comparability — Armenia [top]
Urban areas are administratively defined. Cities and urban-type communities are included as urban. These administrative units are officially designated as such, usually according to the criteria of number of inhabitants and predominance of agricultural, or number of non-agricultural workers and their families.
Comparability — Bangladesh [top]
No definition of urban and rural is provided for the Bangladesh samples.
Comparability — Belarus [top]
In Belarus, urban and rural areas are classified by the Ministry of Statistics and Analysis. Cities, urban-type settlements, and industrial communities are considered urban. There is no population threshold used to make urban or rural determinations.
Comparability — Bolivia [top]
Urban status is typically determined as localities with 2,000 or more inhabitants. Some places with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants are also classified as urban depending upon the concentration of the population within the geographic area.
Comparability — Botswana [top]
The United Nations defined urban places as localities with an agglomeration of 5,000 or greater population where at least 75 percent of economic activity is not agricultural.
Comparability — Brazil [top]
The urban-rural distinction in Brazil is an administrative one determined by local governments. It is therefore subject to change over time and does not adhere to any specific population thresholds or other strict objective criteria.
The definition in the 2000 and 2010 censuses (valid for 1991) includes as urban those areas that correspond to cities (municipal seats), towns (district seats) or isolated urban areas. Rural locations include all the areas located outside these limits, including the rural agglomerates of urban extension, villages, nucleus and other agglomerates. The status is defined by municipal law.
Comparability — Cambodia [top]
Capital districts of provinces are classified as urban; the remaining areas are classified as rural.
Comparability — Cameroon [top]
The 1987 and 2005 samples both define urban and rural areas in the same way. Urban areas are groups of cities, and rural areas are groups of villages. A city is defined as an entity which either has an administrative function (i.e. headquarters of a district), or has a population of at least 5,000 inhabitants and the following facilities: a complete primary school, a developed health center, water supply and electricity facilities, and a daily market. A village is a traditional unit headed by a third class chief, and made up of one or more localities or towns (an inhabited site with boundaries, identified by a name recognized by the people).
Comparability — Canada [top]
According to United Nations the definition for the 1971 Census was slightly different from the one used for 1981 and 2011, which defined urban places as localities with 1,000 or greater population having a population density of 400 or more persons per square kilometer.
Comparability — Chile [top]
For 1992 and 2002 an urban entity is an agglomerate with more than 2,000 inhabitants, or between 1,001 and 2,000 inhabitants and more than half of the active population not working in the agricultural sector. There is no urban/rural definition provided for 1960-1982.
Comparability — China [top]
The urban-rural classification in China has two definitions provided by the National Bureau of Statistics of China. The administrative organizational system definition was used to define urban and rural status in the 2000 sample. Urban areas are defined as "city" shiqu administrative units whereas rural areas consist of "county"xian administrative units including any "towns."
The other definition of rural-urban classification is based on urban characteristics such as population density or contiguity of built-up areas. This definition is not taken into account to classify urban versus rural in the 2000 sample.
Comparability — Colombia [top]
The urban-rural classification in Colombia is based on the cabecera-resto distinction. Each municipality has a head town (cabecera), which is always considered urban. Its limits are defined by municipal law. The rest of the municipality, including populated centers, is considered rural. This definition applies for all censuses.
Users wishing to identify populated centers in 1993 and 2005 should use the unharmonized variables.
Comparability — Costa Rica [top]
For 1984, 2000, and 2011, urban areas are delimited according to physical and functional criteria, taking into account tangible elements such as clearly defined blocks, streets, sidewalks, urban services and economic activities. The urban outskirts (labeled "rural in the urban perimeter" in the source variable of 1984) are also included as urban; these are areas located out of the urban quadrant but having similar characteristics. Rural areas include the "rural concentrated" (which are groups of 50 or more dwellings within a distance no greater than 20 meters, with a name that distinguishes them from other populated towns, service resources, disposal of utilities and amenities in the dwellings, small or medium commerce, and predominantly non-agricultural activity) and "rural scattered," characterized by the dispersion of houses and dwellings and an intensive agricultural land's use.
There is no urban/rural definition provided for 1963 or 1973.
Comparability — Dominican Republic [top]
The 1960, 1970, 2002, and 2010 samples do not provide a definition of rural and urban. According to the UN Demographic Yearbook for those years, urban is defined as administrative centers of municipalities and municipal districts, some of which include suburban zones of a rural character. This variable is not available for the 1981 sample.
Comparability — Ecuador [top]
Urban places are defined administratively as capitals of provinces and cantons. To enhance comparability this definition has been imposed on 1962, 1990, 2001 and 2010. Ecuador 1990 also includes a rural/urban variable where the category "peripheral" identifies heads of parishes. It is available as an unharmonized variable.
Comparability — Egypt [top]
Urban status is administratively defined at the village level. Villages within the governorates of Cairo, Alexandria, Port-Said and Suez are exclusively urban. Villages within the capital districts of the other governorates are defined as urban, as well as the capital villages of most of the non-capital districts.
Comparability — El Salvador [top]
El Salvador defines an urban area as all municipal capitals where the civil, religious, and military authorities are located; and those areas which have the following characteristics: a minimum of 500 contiguous dwellings; public lighting service; a primary school; regular transportation service; paved or cobbled streets; and public telephone service. The rest of the municipalities, made up of small towns and settlements, are considered rural areas.
Comparability — Ethiopia [top]
In 1984, an urban center was defined as a locality with 2000 or more inhabitants. All administrative capitals (regional, Awraja and Wereda) and localities in which Urban Dwellers' Associations were established were considered urban centers, irrespective of population size. In 1994, urban areas were defined as localities in which Urban Kebele Administration (previously Urban Dwellers' Associations) had been established. Localities with 1000 or more persons whose inhabitants were engaged primarily in non-agricultural activities and capitals of Weredas were also considered urban, irrespective of whether Urban Kebele Administration had been established. In 2007, urban areas where defined as localities with 2000 or more inhabitants, all administrative capitals (regardless of the number of inhabitants), and localities of 1000 or more persons if those inhabitants were engaged primarily in non-agricultural activities.
Comparability — Fiji [top]
Residents inhabiting any of the towns and cities are considered urban, including peri-urban places.
Comparability — France [top]
Urban places are defined as agglomerations of 2,000 or more persons.
Note: The 1990 data for France identify urban status for the respective localities in 1982, not 1990.
Comparability — Ghana [top]
Urban places are localities with 5,000 or greater population.
Comparability — Guinea [top]
Urban areas are administratively defined. Administrative centers of prefectures are considered urban; the rest of the territory is classified as rural.
Comparability — Haiti [top]
The 1971 sample does not provide a definition of rural and urban. According to the 2003 UN Demographic Yearbook urban is defined as administrative centers of communes.
The 2003 sample has a third code besides urban and rural, called "metropolitan area." This was coded as urban in the integrated variable.
Comparability — Hungary [top]
Urban status is administratively determined. Districts of Budapest, county seats and towns are considered urban areas. Rural areas include localities that are defined as villages. The administrative status of village or town is given by the President of the Republic on the basis of specific (economic, commercial, institutional, cultural etc.) criteria and can be altered between samples.
Comparability — India [top]
Urban areas are defined as towns (places with municipal corporation, municipal area committee, town committee, notified area committee or cantonment board); also, all places having 5,000 or more inhabitants, a density of not less than 1,000 persons per square mile or 400 per square kilometer, pronounced urban characteristics and at least three fourths of the adult male population employed in pursuits other than agriculture.
Comparability — Indonesia [top]
Indonesian census supervisors gave their enumerators a list that defined whether the area they were working in was urban or rural. Documentation does not specify the precise definition of urban. According to the U.N. Demographic Yearbook 2005, however, Indonesia defines urban areas as places with urban characteristics.
Comparability — Iran [top]
Any district with a municipality is defined as urban.
Comparability — Iraq [top]
Urban status is administratively determined. Urban areas are located inside the boundaries of municipality councils (Al-Majlis Al-Baldei) or within the boundaries of the City of Bagdad. Other areas are considered rural.
Comparability — Ireland [top]
In 2011, urban areas are defined as cities and towns including suburbs having 1,500 or more inhabitants. In all previous years, urban areas are defined as localities with a population of 1,000 or more.
Comparability — Israel [top]
Urban places are localities with 2,000 or greater population.
Comparability — Jamaica [top]
According to the National Census Report, a place was classified as urban if it had a population of 2,000 or more and provided a number of amenities that in Jamaica indicated modern living. In addition, land use must include the existence of commercial, industrial and residential areas. Urban-rural status is not determined for collective dwellings.
Comparability — Jordan [top]
Urban places are localities with 5,000 or more population (based on the 1994 Population and Housing Census).
Comparability — Kenya [top]
The 1969 published volumes say urban is defined as towns with more than 2000 population.
The 1979 and 1989 samples do not provide any information about the definition of the urban/rural categories. In 1999 there are two more source categories in addition to urban and rural. Peri-urban, which includes areas that are on the periphery of given towns but urban in character, has been integrated into urban. Environ, which designates areas that are rural in character within the urban centers, are coded as rural. The 2009 sample has the peri-urban category only, which is integrated into urban.
Comparability — Kyrgyz Republic [top]
Urban status is administratively determined and officially designated as such at the "Kenesh" level. It consists of towns and settlements of urban type, usually according to criteria such as number of inhabitants, predominance of agricultural activity, or number of non-agricultural workers and families.
Comparability — Liberia [top]
The samples do not provide a definition of rural and urban. According to the UN Demographic Yearbook for 1974 and 2008, urban is defined as localities of 2,000 or more inhabitants.
Comparability — Malawi [top]
Malawi defines an urban area as all townships and town planning areas and all district centers.
Comparability — Malaysia [top]
Urban places are towns with 1,000 or greater population. All the Malaysian samples follow this definition.
Comparability — Mali [top]
In 1998, urban areas are localities with 5,000 inhabitants or more and district centers. In 2009, urban areas, or urban communes, consist mainly of neighborhoods as opposed to rural communes, which consist of villages and or fractions. The variable is only available in the 1998 and 2009 samples.
Comparability — Mexico [top]
Urban places are defined consistently across Mexican samples as localities with 2,500 or more persons.
Comparability — Mozambique [top]
No definition of urban and rural is provided for the Mozambique samples.
Comparability — Nicaragua [top]
Nicaragua defines an urban area as all administrative centers of municipalities and localities of 1,000 or more inhabitants with streets and electric light.
Comparability — Nigeria [top]
Urban and rural are defined by the statistical office of the country. No further information is available.
Comparability — Pakistan [top]
The 1973 sample excludes some highly rural areas of the country.
Urban areas in Pakistan are places with a municipal corporation, town committee or cantonment.
The 1973 sample provides details about the size of urban areas in the source variable.
Comparability — Palestine [top]
Any locality whose population amounts to 10,000 persons or more is considered urban, as well as all governorates/district centers regardless of their size. Localities whose populations range from 4,000 to 9,999 persons and having at least four of the following services are also included as urban: public electricity network, public water network, post office, health centre with a full-time physician, and a school offering a general secondary education certificate. Urban/rural information was not provided for refugee camps in either sample.
Comparability — Panama [top]
Urban places are localities with 1,500 or greater population having the following services: an urban fabric structured in streets and blocks, internal transportation, access to secondary schools and other services that distinguishes the urban area. This definition is included in the 1980 census documentation. No definition has been provided for the other samples, but it is very likely that the urban status is defined by similar criteria. This definition is also cited in the 2009-2010 UN Demographic Yearbook.
Comparability — Paraguay [top]
Urban places are administratively determined at the locality level. In 1962, urban households were located in a city or town, and rural households were located in an estate (estancia), small village (paraje), post (puesto), hamlet (caserio), or indigenous settlement (toldería). In 1972, 1982, 1992, and 2002 the seat or capital (cabecera) of every official district was considered urban. In 1982, additional localities in San Lázaro, Coronel Martínez, Mariscal Estigarribia and Fuerto Olimpo were also considered urban. Every locality in the districts of Asunción, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, and San Lorenzo were considered urban. The districts of Pozo Colorado and Doctor Pedro P. Peña and the departments of Chaco and Nueva Asunción did not contain any urban areas. In 1992, certain areas outside the seat/capital of the district where the population was highly concentrated and where dwellings were organized in blocks were also considered urban.
Comparability — Peru [top]
Urban areas are populated centers with 100 or more dwellings grouped contiguously and administrative centers of districts.
Comparability — Philippines [top]
Urban places are defined in terms of population thresholds in combination with urban character of the locality.
The current official definition in the Philippines classifies as urban any barangay (neighborhood) fulfilling any of the following criteria: (1) a population size of 5,000 or more; (2) having at least one establishment with a minimum of 100 employees; (3) having 5 or more establishments with a minimum of 10 employees, and 5 or more facilities. This definition was approved in 2003 and it is unclear if the 1990 Census followed the same definition.
Comparability — Poland [top]
No definition of urban and rural is provided for the Poland samples. The United Nations defines urban areas as towns and settlements with "urban" characteristics, such as workers' settlements, fishermen's settlements, health resorts, etc.
Comparability — Portugal [top]
Urban areas are defined as localities with 2,000 or more population. Vacant dwellings are coded to unknown in 1981-2001.
Comparability — Romania [top]
Urban places are administratively determined. Municipalities and towns are classified as urban and communes as rural. The administrative status (municipality, town and commune) of an area is mostly given by its urban/rural character. It is not clearly defined how an area gets the status of a municipality or town, but when a commune has more than 10,000 inhabitants and becomes relatively urbanized, it gets the town status.
The definition has been stable among samples, depending always on the administrative division of the country. In 1977 suburban communes were included as communes.
Comparability — Rwanda [top]
Urban status is administratively determined at the district level. All districts/townships in Kigalle Ville, the capital of the country, are considered urban. Only the capital seats are considered urban in the other 11 provinces, except Kibungo province, where the districts of Umujyi wa kibungo and Umujyi wa rwamagana are considered urban.
Comparability — Saint Lucia [top]
The urban-rural variable is only available in the 1991 sample. The definition of urban is unknown.
Comparability — Senegal [top]
Urban areas in Senegal are agglomerations of 10,000 or more inhabitants. The variable is only available in the 2002 sample.
Comparability — Sierra Leone [top]
Towns with a population of 2,000 or more inhabitants are defined as urban.
Comparability — Slovenia [top]
Urban settlements are determined on the basis of four criteria: more than 3,000 inhabitants; 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants and a surplus of workplaces; seats of municipalities with at least 1,400 inhabitants and a surplus of workplaces or seats of municipalities with at least 2,000 inhabitants; or, suburban settlements that have fewer inhabitants but are becoming spatially and functionally integrated with an urban settlement with at least 5,000 inhabitants.
Comparability — South Africa [top]
South Africa legally proclaims Enumeration Areas as being urban or rural based on dominant settlement type and land use. Cities, towns, townships, suburbs, etc., are typical urban settlements. EAs comprising informal settlements, hostels, institutions, industrial and recreational areas, and smallholdings within or adjacent to any formal urban settlement are classified as urban. The documentation does not provide any further detail on the criteria. The definition is stable over time, but the 1996 Census reports that semi-urban areas (not part of a legally proclaimed urban area, but adjoining it) were coded as non-urban. In 1996, urban/rural information is not provided for collective dwellings.
In 2011, dwellings are categorized as being located on farms, in traditional areas, or in urban settlements. A traditional area is defined as communally-owned land under the jurisdiction of a traditional leader. Households in traditional areas have been included in the rural category. An urban settlement is defined as an organized and permanent arrangement of dwellings where services such as water, sewage, electricity and refuse removal are provided and development and maintenance is controlled by a local or district council. This includes suburbs and townships.
Comparability — South Sudan [top]
South Sudan defines an urban area as localities of administrative and/or commercial importance or with population of 5,000 or more inhabitants.
Comparability — Spain [top]
Urban places are defined as singular entities with 2,000 or more population. Singular entities refer to any habitable area of a municipality, clearly identifiable within the municipality and known with a specific name which identifies it from the rest.
Urban status is only available for Spain 1981. Urban includes the category "intermediate" given by the Spanish Statistical Institute. This category is available in the unharmonized variable.
Comparability — Sudan [top]
Sudan defines an urban area as localities of administrative and/or commercial importance or with population of 5,000 or more inhabitants. The Nomad population is included in rural.
Comparability — Tanzania [top]
The 1988 census classifies each ward as "urban", "mixed", or "rural"; whether part or all of a ward was considered to be urban was left to the judgement of the district administration; no criteria were determined centrally. Likewise, in 2002, urban areas are defined as the localities that are identified as urban areas by the district authority. There is no clear and uniform definition applied by the various districts in the country.
For the 2012 census, the urban population consists of people living in areas legally recognized (gazetted) as urban and all areas recognized by Local Government Authorities as urban.
Comparability — Thailand [top]
An urban place is a municipal area: an administrative and geographic area that meets certain population size and density criteria. There are three categories of municipal areas: city, town, and commune; classified based on the population size, and all considered urban.
The 1970 and 1980 samples provide categories of municipal areas, but they are grouped together and coded as "urban" in this variable. The detail is in the source variables.
Comparability — Uganda [top]
According to United Nations, urban places are defined in Uganda 1991 as cities, municipalities, towns, town boards and all trading centers with more than 1,000 inhabitants. Urban areas in 2002 are gazetted cities, municipalities and towns with more than 2,000 inhabitants.
Comparability — Ukraine [top]
The samples do not provide a definition of rural and urban. According to the UN Demographic Yearbook for 2001, Cities and urban-type localities, officially designated as such, usually according to the criteria of number of inhabitants and predominance of agricultural, or number of non-agricultural workers and their families. Specific criteria were not specified.
Comparability — United States [top]
A locality is considered urban in the U.S. samples if it had a population of at least 2,500 persons.
Comparability — Uruguay [top]
Uruguay does not provide any definition of urban in its documentation, but according to the U.N. Demographic Yearbook 2005, the definition of urban areas in Uruguay is cities. In addition, according to Act No 10.723 on Population Centers, suburban areas are included in the category of urban areas.
Comparability — Venezuela [top]
Urban places are defined in Venezuela 1981 as populated centers with 1,000 or more inhabitants. No definition is provided for 1990, although according to the distribution of the population at the variable it may be a higher threshold than in 1981 or 2001. In 2001, urban areas are defined as populated centers with 2,500 or more inhabitants.
Comparability — Vietnam [top]
In 1989, places designated as urban included all cities and provincial towns. A district town was considered urban if it was an administrative or industrial center of the district, it had 2000 or more population, and over half its workforce was outside of agriculture.
In 1999 and 2009, urban areas include urban districts of cities, urban quarters and towns. All other local administrative units (communes) are rural.
Comparability — Zambia [top]
The samples do not provide a definition of rural and urban. According to the UN Demographic Yearbook for 1990 and 2000, urban areas are defined as localities of 5,000 or more inhabitants, the majority of whom all depend on non-agricultural activities. This variable is not available for the 2010 sample.
- All households
- Argentina: 1980, 1991, 2001
- Armenia: 2001, 2011
- Bangladesh: 1991, 2001, 2011
- Belarus: 1999, 2009
- Bolivia: 1976, 1992, 2001
- Botswana: 1991
- Brazil: 1960, 1970, 1980, 1991, 2000, 2010
- Burkina Faso: 2006
- Cambodia: 1998, 2008
- Cameroon: 1987, 2005
- Canada: 1971, 2011
- Chile: 1960, 1970, 1982, 1992, 2002
- China: 2000
- Colombia: 1964, 1973, 1985, 1993, 2005
- Costa Rica: 1963, 1973, 1984, 2000, 2011
- Dominican Republic: 1960, 1970, 2002, 2010
- Ecuador: 1962, 1990, 2001, 2010
- Egypt: 1986, 1996, 2006
- El Salvador: 2007
- Ethiopia: 1984, 1994, 2007
- Fiji: 1986, 2007
- France: 1962, 1968, 1975, 1982, 1990, 1999, 2006, 2011
- Ghana: 2000, 2010
- Guinea: 1983, 1996
- Haiti: 1971, 2003
- Hungary: 1970, 1990
- India: 1983, 1987, 1993, 1999, 2004, 2009
- Indonesia: 1971, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010
- Iran: 2006, 2011
- Iraq: 1997
- Ireland: 1986, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2006, 2011
- Israel: 1983, 1995
- Jamaica: 2001
- Jordan: 2004
- Kenya: 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009
- Kyrgyz Republic: 1999, 2009
- Liberia: 1974, 2008
- Malawi: 1987, 1998, 2008
- Malaysia: 1970, 1980, 1991, 2000
- Mali: 1998, 2009
- Mexico: 1960, 1970, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015
- Mozambique: 1997, 2007
- Nicaragua: 2005
- Nigeria: 2006-2010
- Pakistan: 1973, 1981, 1998
- Palestine: 1997, 2007
- Panama: 1960, 1970, 1980, 2000, 2010
- Paraguay: 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002
- Peru: 1993, 2007
- Philippines: 1990
- Poland: 1978, 2002
- Portugal: 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011
- Romania: 1977, 1992, 2002, 2011
- Rwanda: 2002
- Saint Lucia: 1991
- Senegal: 2002
- Sierra Leone: 2004
- Slovenia: 2002
- South Africa: 1996, 2001, 2007, 2011
- South Sudan: 2008
- Spain: 1981
- Sudan: 2008
- Tanzania: 2002, 2012
- Thailand: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000
- Uganda: 1991, 2002
- Ukraine: 2001
- United States: 1960, 1990
- Uruguay: 1963, 1975, 1985
- Venezuela: 1981, 1990, 2001
- Vietnam: 1989, 1999, 2009
- Zambia: 1990, 2000