Rural development statistics
Rural development statistics are an important tool in development planning and monitoring of the effects of rural development policy. They consist of a set of indicators covering the priority problems in rural areas such as demographic changes and migration, human resources, economic activities and their diversification.
About the project
Rural development statistics is a European project, which was established with the aim to set up indicators needed for development planning and monitoring in rural areas. Rural areas and their problems are among the most important issues of the Commission and national policies. These areas represent around 90% of the territory in the EU, where approximately 60% of the population lives. Development of rural areas varies greatly, so the main goal of rural development programs is to reduce disparities between the levels of development of rural areas and to encourage sustainable development regarding economic, social and environmental issues.
The project, which began in 2006, was substantively related to the third axis of the rural development policy for the 2007-2013 period, i.e. improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of economic activity. Rural areas had been given a wider extent since the approach used focused on all issues and rural area residents. It considered that agriculture in general is no longer the driving force in rural areas.
Rural development statistics are presented by using urban-rural typology based on the level of NUTS 3 regions. Their purpose is to give an insight into some of the specific characteristics of those regions in the light of their urban-rural type. Rural development statistics include data on population, labour market and employment, regional accounts and diversification of economic activities. Data by the urban-rural typology are available in Eurostat's database.
Traditionally, typologies of territory were determined by population size and density of local administrative units such as municipalities or communes. New typologies use a population grid, which is a more accurate basis to characterise areas and regions. Population is distributed to a grid with cell size of 1 km2; each grid cell is classified to one of three types of clusters according to their similarities in terms of population size and density:
- high-density clusters of grid cells with a density of at least 1,500 inhabitants per km2 and a minimum population of 50,000;
- urban clusters of grid cells with a density of at least 300 inhabitants per km2 and a minimum population of 5,000;
- rural grid cells are grid cells outside high-density clusters and urban clusters.
Clusters are formed of contiguous grid cells. On the basis of the population share in different types of clusters areas of municipalities and regions can be classified to one of territorial typology. Territorial typologies described below are based on 2006 population data of 1 km2 grid.
Urban-rural typology is a territorial typology used to classify statistical regions (NUTS 3) by their urban-rural type. It is aimed at monitoring the development in rural areas and it covers the whole geographical territory of the European Union.
The type of each region is based on the share of population living in rural grid cells. If more than 50% of the total population lives in rural grid cells, the region is classified as predominantly rural. Regions where between 20% and 50% of the population lives in rural grid cells are considered intermediate, while those with less than 20% in rural grid cells are predominantly urban.
Classification of statistical regions by urban-rural typology is shown in the following documents:
- Codelist of statistical regions according to the urban-rural typology
- Map of statistical regions according to the urban-rural typology
More information on the urban-rural typology, also at the EU level, is available on Eurostat's website.
Degree of urbanisation is a territorial typology used for classifying municipalities by their population density type. It covers the whole geographical territory of the European Union. The statistics shown by the degree of urbanisation typology give an analytical view to the densely and sparsely populated areas.
According to the degree of urbanisation areas are classified into three types:
- densely-populated areas (cities, large urban areas),
- intermediate density areas (towns and suburbs, small urban areas),
- thinly-populated areas (rural areas).
In densely-populated areas at least 50% of the population lives in high-density clusters, while in intermediate density areas less than 50% of the population lives in rural grid cells and less than 50% lives in high-density clusters. Thinly-populated areas have more than 50% of the population living in rural grid cells.
Classification of municipalities by degree of urbanisation is shown in the following documents:
- Codelist of municipalities according to the degree of urbanisation
- Map of municipalities according to the degree of urbanisation
More information and data by the degree of urbanisation are available on the Eurostat's website.