With the diffusion of urban culture to the rural areas, the extreme differences between rural and urban cultures have diminished. The growing transport and communications, the radio, press, television, telephone, etc., the growing circulation of the urban newspapers in the rural areas have changed the attitudes and outlook of the ruralites. Medical, educational, commercial, recreational and other facilities are also being enjoyed by the rural people. The automobile has played an important role in the rural areas. It has ended the secluded life of the rural people.
People prefer to stay near the highways now. Villages in a way are closely linked with the cities. Buses, trains, taxies and motor cycles, etc., have helped the city people to go out and stay in the fringes of the city. Everywhere big cities are characterised by sub-centres or sub-urban areas. In structure and function they are like cities. Too much of concentration in the city contributes to an opposite process of decentralisation. The sub-centres or sub-urban areas resemble the city in several respects.
A single city may have a number of small sub-urban areas. These sub-urban areas may retain in them some of the features of the city. They are like satellite cities built around a major city.
Sub-urban areas represent the rough amalgam of rural and urban ways of living. Here, we may find the urban way of life being mixed with the rural way of life. In these areas we find the ‘rural-urban convergence’. The Rural-Urban Continuum: Some sociologists have used the concept of rural-urban continuum to stress the idea that there are no sharp breaking points to be found in the degree or quantity of rural urban differences. The impact of urban life over rural life is evident in many ways.
With regard to birthrate, age at marriage, infant mortality, church affiliations, divorce, suicide, etc., rural indices are moving to nearer urban indices. In this way, rural areas can become highly urbanised. As the contacts of the city become closer as transportation and communication become more rapid, the rural community tends to assume more closely the urban social structure. We may even speak of different degrees of “urbanness” or “ruralness”.
One country can be demographically more urban and yet socially more rural than another. Example: Chile has a greater percentage of its population living in cities than does Canada, but its people, by almost all sets of indices, are less urban.