Definition: Urban-rural typology

Regional statistics

A European Union (EU) geographical typology based on a definition of urban versus rural grid cells of 1 km² each. 

For a grid cell to be defined as "urban" it has to fulfil two conditions: 

- a population density of at least 300 inhabitants per km²; 
- a minimum population of 5 000 inhabitants in contiguous cells above the density threshold. 

Other cells are considered as rural. 

Based on the share of the rural population (in other words, those living in rural grid cells), the NUTS 3 regions are then classified into the following three groups: 

- predominantly urban region: the rural population accounts for less than 20 % of the total population; 
- intermediate region: the rural population accounts for a share between 20 % and 50 % of the total population; 
- predominantly rural region: the rural population accounts for 50 % or more of the total population. 

In a last step, the size of any cities within the region is considered. 

A region which had been classified as predominantly rural by the above criteria becomes an intermediate region if it contains a city of more than 200 000 inhabitants representing at least 25 % of the regional population. 

A region which had been classified as intermediate by the above criteria becomes a predominantly urban region if it contains a city of more than 500 000 inhabitants representing at least 25 % of the regional population.
Source:
Statistics Explained, a distinct section of the official Eurostat website presenting all statistical topics in an easily understandable way
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