Rural settlement

Rural settlements are statistically defined areas with no administrative or legal basis. A rural settlement is a cluster of residential dwellings about a place that usually contains at least one community or public building.

Rural settlements are delineated using the following criteria. They:

  • form a contiguous cluster of one or more statistical area 1's
  • contain an estimated resident population of 200–1,000 people, or at least 40 residential dwellings
  • represent a reasonably compact area, or have a visible centre of population with a population density of at least 200 residents per square kilometre or 100 address points per square kilometre
  • contain at least one community or public building, such as a church, school, or shop.

Rural settlements are usually combined with the surrounding rural area to form a statistical area 2 (SA2), in order to reach the target SA2 population size. In some instances, the settlement and SA2 may have the same name, for example, West Melton rural settlement is part of the West Melton SA2.

See also ‘Rural areas’ and ‘Statistical areas’ in this definitions group.