The most widely used standardized definitions of urban and rural have been created by national governments, but even standardized measures differ from one country to the next. The United States Bureau of the Census definition of urban is based on a complicated algorithm that has been modified from decennial census to census. Basically, the census classifies areas that are densely developed and densely populated as urban and all other areas as rural. Much of the literature on urban and rural effects on human development has been based on the U.S. Census data or categorical measures that are very similar to the census definitions. However, there are some methodological challenges associated with the rural/urban dichotomy, and it does not capture the precise mechanisms by which to ...

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