20+ Differences between Urban And Suburban (Explained)

Generally, it is quite easy to differentiate between Urban and Rural areas, and most people understand the difference between the two.

Urban is some area densely populated with man-made surroundings, and rural is some area exactly opposite to an urban area. But the question is, is a residing area either Urban or Rural?

What if it fits in the categories of neither an urban area nor a rural area? To any surprise, there are Suburban areas as well. As the name suggests, a Suburban is an area that is partially urban or on the way to urbanization. 


Key Differences:


  1. An urban area is larger in area. 
  2. An urban area is an area that has full-fledged modern facilities. 
  3. An urban area is densely populated. 
  4. An urban area has lots of employment opportunities. 
  5. An urban area has little to no contact with nature due to industrialization. 


  1. A Suburban area is comparatively smaller in area. 
  2. A Suburban area does have some but not all modern facilities. 
  3. A Suburban area is sparsely populated. 
  4. A Suburban area has lesser employment opportunities. 
  5. A Suburban area stays in touch with nature as well as Urbanization. 

Comparison between Urban and Suburban

ParameterUrban AreasSuburban Areas
IndustrializationIndustrialization is fully present in urban areas.Industrialization is partially present in suburban areas.
Educational InstitutionsUrban areas have all kinds of educational institutions present.Suburban areas have limited educational institutions present.
Population DensityUrban areas are densely populated.Suburban areas are sparsely populated.
SurroundingsUrban areas have manmade surroundings.Suburban areas have manmade as well as natural surroundings.
Technology DependenceUrban areas are largely dependent on technology.Suburban areas are partially dependent on technology.
Cost of LivingLife is costlier in urban areas.Life is cheaper in suburban areas.
Political BodyUrban areas have their own political bodies.Suburban areas may or may not have their own political body.
InfrastructureUrban areas have well-developed Infrastructure.Suburban areas have developing infrastructure.
LifeLife in Urban areas is complex.Life in Suburban areas is simple.
ExamplesBig citiesTowns

Major Differences Between Urban And Suburban

What exactly is Urban? 

Urban areas mainly refer to densely populated big and metropolitan cities with all the facilities. The Surroundings of urban areas are manmade.

The process of Industrialisation happens at a rapid pace. Facilities such as Schools, Universities, Airports, Hospitals, Malls, Supermarkets, employment opportunities, and cinemas are easily present in urban areas. 

The major advantages include employment opportunities and the availability of almost every facility. On the other hand, a major disadvantage of Urban areas is people are a sophisticated life 24/7 in urban areas.

Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, Urban areas have lost touch with our mother nature and have become full of pollution. 


Characteristics of Urban Areas:

  1. Presence of their political corporation. 
  2. Presence of working women.
  3. Presence of all forms of transport facilities. 
  4. Presence of big IT companies. 
  5. Presence of an amazing healthcare system. 

What exactly is Suburban?

A Suburban area can be defined as an area that is neither completely rural nor completely urban. In terms of Urbanization, Suburban areas are those areas which were rural areas but have been touched by the process of urbanization and are on their way to becoming urban areas.

This leaves Suburban areas with roots linking to both urban and rural areas. Suburban areas might or might not have some of the common facilities like employment opportunities, malls, colleges, etc. 

The major disadvantage of Suburban areas is that they are still not fully developed, and hence still, many people have to flee to urban areas in the hope of better employment opportunities.

The main advantage of Suburban areas is that life is relaxed and pollution free. Suburban areas keep you near nature as well as modernism. 


Characteristics of Suburban Areas:

  1. Presence of some of the modern facilities. 
  2. Close to urbanization as well as nature. 
  3. Working women are not so common. 
  4. Usually have limited means of public transportation. 
  5. Just an average healthcare system. 

The Contrast Between Urban And Suburban

Origin Of The Word

  • UrbanThe word Urban originated from the Latin word “Urbanus,” which originated from the Latin word “urbs, urb,” meaning city. 
  • SuburbanThe word Suburban originated from the Old French word “subburbe,” which originated from the Latin word “suburbium” that comprised of “sub” meaning under and “urbs” meaning city. 


  • UrbanUrban areas are fully urbanized. 
  • SuburbanSuburban areas are partially urbanized. 

Population Density

  • UrbanUrban areas are densely populated. 
  • SuburbanSuburban areas are sparsely populated. 

Transportation Facilities

  • UrbanUrban areas have all sorts of transportation facilities available like Buses, Trains, Airports, Taxis, and Helipads. 
  • Suburban Suburban areas usually do not have all sorts of transportation facilities available. The transportation facilities normally available are buses, trains, and taxis. 

Employment Opportunities

  • UrbanUrban areas provide better employment opportunities. 
  • SuburbanSuburban areas do provide employment opportunities, but they are not as good as urban areas provide. 

Presence of Pollution

  • UrbanPollution is a major factor in Urban life. 
  • SuburbanSuburban areas have little to no pollution. 

Electricity Services

  • UrbanIn urban areas, electricity is normally present all the time. 
  • SuburbanIn suburban areas, there are regular power cuts. 

Availability of Clearwater

  • UrbanUrban areas have the availability of clean water. 
  • SuburbanAvailability of clean water may or may not be present in suburban areas. 

Scope of Business

  • UrbanUrban areas have a wider scope for starting a business. 
  • SuburbanSuburban areas have a narrower scope for starting a business. 

Type of Houses

  • UrbanIn urban areas, people usually have apartments-type houses in buildings. 
  • Suburban In Suburban areas, people have separate houses. 

Area Of Houses

  • Urban AreasHouses in Urban areas are smaller in area. 
  • Suburban AreasHouses in Suburban areas are bigger in area. 

Leisure Places

  • UrbanPlaces of leisure interest are easily present in urban areas. 
  • SuburbanPlaces of leisure interest are rarely present in suburban areas. 


The words Urban and Suburban sound like synonyms, but they carry different meanings. We all know the difference between Urban areas and Rural areas; think of Urban areas as “black” and Rural areas as “white.”

Suburban areas are “grey,” which means Suburban areas were once rural areas, but now they are on the path of Urbanization. Suburban areas have facilities better than rural areas but lesser than urban areas. Suburban areas are small, sparsely populated areas.

There are many differences between Suburban and urban areas, such as differences in population density, employment opportunities, educational institutions, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare systems, etc. 

(FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How is a rural area different from a suburban area?

A rural area is an area that is free from all sorts of urban facilities; most of the rural people are engaged in agriculture and agriculture-related activities for income, whereas Suburban areas are the areas that have some of the urban facilities available, and people are engaged in other means of employment apart from agriculture.

Q2. Are suburban areas developed?

No, the suburban areas are not developed; they are developing. They have not yet been converted into urban areas, but they are on their way to becoming developed or urban. 

Q3. Why are Urban areas densely populated?

Due to better availability of employment opportunities, the presence of clean drinking water, the presence of leisure places, the presence of educational institutions, etc. makes, urban areas are densely populated. 

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