A small town downtown with brick-fronted buildings. On the corners are benches and old fashioned light poles.

What counts as rural?

When I share the Survey of Rural Challenges with people, about half the time someone will ask, “How do you define rural?” I don’t.

I let you decide if you’re rural.

Whether you live in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK or another country, we all face some common challenges. In those different countries, different states and territories can have their own definitions of rural places or small towns, usually just by population or geography. In the US, rural is what’s left over as “not urban.” Nothing is quite so unflattering as being the left-overs.

Numbers don’t tell the whole story. A city of 100,000 can seem small, and a town of 10,000 can seem urban. A big city is usually a collection of neighborhoods that can feel like small towns.

Deb and I run all our ideas through a filter: would this idea work in a town of 300 people? Could you scale this idea up in a larger town, maybe 10,000? It has to work in both cases before we share it. And we’re always looking for examples from towns under a thousand.

If you think you’re rural, we do too. We invite you to take the Survey of Rural Challenges and spread the link https://saveyour.town/survey2022 in your newsletter, social media, emails to friends or your local newspaper and radio. 

Keep shaping a better future for your town,