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Rural Vision

Maps & Data

We need new and more specific rural data to better understand rural diversity, provide evidence for policy making on rural areas, implement rural proofing, evaluate the impact of EU legislative initiatives and track progress towards the shared goals.

The new rural observatory, improved rural statistics and a definition of functional rural areas contribute to this need.


The rural observatory

Improving rural statistics

Functional Rural Areas

The commission is working to build a definition of functional rural areas that will make it easier to compare data between countries with very different municipality sizes and will enable new types of analysis, in particular on access to services.

The approach has been first presented at the Rural pact conference 2022 session “What evidence for better rural policies(videopresentations).

Rural research projects


The European spatial planning observatory network (ESPON) funds research projects and targeted analysis dedicated to territorial analysis. It has a specific stream of work on rural development.

Explore ESPON’s work on rural development

Key facts by topic 

Rural areas in numbers 

Key statistics for EU rural areas today, with figures relating to demographics, economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

Rural areas in number


Our "Resources" section has been moved to the Rural Pact Community Platform and keeps being complemented with new resources. Check it out!