The limited available data on this point indicate that the urban-rural differences in mortality levels are at present very small in industrialised countries.

In the past, however, important differences in the mortality levels of urban and rural areas existed in these countries. Prior to the twentieth century, mortality was generally higher for the urban areas of many countries of Europe and North America and the differences were usually quite substantial.

In the United States of America, mortality conditions in 1830 were far worse in large cities than in small cities or in rural areas. In England and Wales, the experience was similar.

In 1841, while the average expectation of life for England and Wales was about 40 years, it was 35 years for London, and 25 years and 24 years respectively for Liverpool and Manchester all industrial cities.


In India, according to the Nineteenth Round of the National Sample Survey (July 1964 to July 1965), the crude death rates for rural and urban areas were 13.01 and 7.97 per thousand population respectively, 28 indicating a lower mortality for urban India.

The Sample Registration System also indicates that, for the period July 1974-June 1975 7 the urban and rural crude death rates were 9.6 and 16.1 per thousand populations respectively.