Currently, there is no specific consensus on what is considered rural, since these communities can be very diverse. Depending on the country, two different parameters can be used, usually the most common: density -between 100 and 150 inhabitants per square kilometer-, and territorial development -if there is transportation, roads, facilities to store goods, etc.-.
Rural communities are characterized by having a much lower population density than cities. As it has fewer inhabitants, it is also common that there are fewer buildings and therefore, that natural vegetation predominates.
Rural development refers to the socio-economic growth that can take place in a certain community. This type of advance has multiple objectives:
- Reduce inequality and problems of access to goods and services.
- Improve the quality of life of its inhabitants.
- Democratize and guarantee the right to participate in institutions.
The main engine to achieve these goals is the economic growth of the region. Recently, the environmental factor of development is also taken into account, the use of natural resources must be sustainable, in the medium and long term.
Within rural development, the participation of those who are part of the community is also of key importance. This is known as “participatory development”.
There are so far three possible classifications for rural development:
Endogenous rural development
This occurs when the members of the community participate actively in the process, generate initiatives and use their own resources. In this type of development, the inhabitants value human and material elements in order to improve their quality of life and well-being.
Integrated rural development
In this case, not only what the inhabitants can contribute is used, but also external resources. Here the State stimulates and encourages economic activities in the region, which contribute to its social expansion.
Sustainable rural development
Similar to the previous one, this model also combines the participation of the inhabitants and the state contribution. But the big difference is that the conservation of the ecosystem is taken into consideration here .
Rural communities in Europe
In the European Union it is known that approximately a quarter of the population (28%) lives in rural areas, while 40% lives in cities.
Within the EU member countries there are those where the rural population is greater than the urban: Lithuania with 56%, and Denmark, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Luxembourg, with percentages that are around 45-59%.
The opposite is the case in other countries in the community, where rural populations are a minority, as is the case with Germany (24%), Italy and Belgium (18%), the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (14%).
The risk of social exclusion linked to situations of poverty has as main factors:
- Monetary risk: income that is not enough to overcome the poverty line.
- Severe material deprivation: inability to meet extraordinary expenses (vacations, basic services, mortgage or rent).
- Low work flow intensity: it is determined in adults of working age (18-59 years) who have worked less than a fifth of the time in a given period.
According to various studies, 1 in 4 Europeans (23%) who live in rural communities in central countries live at risk. In the case of Eastern Europe the figure reaches 50%, as is the case in Romania, Bulgaria and Malta.
In fact, the opposite phenomenon occurs in central countries, where those who live in cities are those who are most exposed to the risk of poverty and social exclusion.
Rural communities in Latin America
According to the latest censuses, approximately 7.8% of the total population is indigenous, representing some 48 million people.
The countries with the largest native rural communities are Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia, with more than 80% of the total (37 million inhabitants).
On the contrary, they are El Salvador, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica and Venezuela, regions where these communities are minority.
According to official statistics, 51% of indigenous people still live in rural communities, while 49% live in cities.
The migratory phenomenon in Latin America is driven by situations of extreme poverty, generated by factors such as:
- Territorial displacement. The natives are dispossessed of their houses by companies that are dedicated to agriculture.
- Depletion of natural resources. Depredation of the environment leaves communities without food sources.
- Violent conflicts. Gangs, guerrillas or drug groups that take control of an area for criminal purposes.
- Natural disasters. Forest fires, floods or earthquakes that devastate rural areas.
On the other hand, natives in rural communities do not have access to basic goods and services, nor to the health system. In some cases they only speak indigenous languages, which causes significant social isolation.
Inequality and social exclusion in non-urban regions cause life expectancy to barely reach 30-32 years.
Rural communities in Asia
The Asian continent and especially the southeast area, undoubtedly concentrates the largest number of inhabitants in rural communities. It is estimated that approximately 2 billion people worldwide (1 in 3 inhabitants) reside in these regions.
Despite the economic explosion that this continent has experienced during the last quarter of a century, reports speak of uneven growth. All this always considering the poverty line, which establishes a minimum income of one US dollar per day.
Some countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are experiencing a stable and rising GDP development. In Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines an opposite phenomenon occurs, in fact it is here where 50% of the continent’s poor live.
In fact, this inequality of access is evidenced in statistics that show that three-quarters of the total population of Southeast Asia lives in rural areas that depend exclusively on agriculture.
The extreme poverty and social displacement that is evident in this corner of the planet, is due to various causes but has the following common results:
- Malnutrition: a poor or unbalanced diet that brings consequences such as physical and mental disabilities, chronic diseases and early mortality.
- Lack of education: schooling in rural communities reaches 78% compared to 89% in urban areas.
- Infant mortality: the figures are between 30 and 90 deaths per thousand births, depending on the country.
- Environmental pollution: of the 2.7 million premature deaths in infants and children, 1.8 million are attributable to air pollution.
we hope that you have understood the concept of Rural community development.