Researchers argue they’ve found that while “the political differences between urban and rural people could not be reduced” to demographics (via Joe Cortright), “[p]opulation density and distance […] did exert an impact on party identification”, and suggest that “population size structures opinion quite differently in small towns compared with large cities”.

The more populous a place is, the more people act in a reserved and indifferent manner toward one another, largely out of the need to limit the burden of getting to know large numbers of people. There is certainly liberation of expression in urban settings, explaining why they are havens of eccentricity and new ideas, but the cost appears to be loneliness and disorder. People don’t know their neighbors, and don’t much care. Conversely, relationships in rural areas have greater depth, and the neighbors care, but conformity pressures weigh more heavily, limiting freedom of expression.

I would maybe reformulate the above, slightly, in that one could argue that relationships in cities in fact might be perfectly robust — perhaps as robust as those in rural areas — they are just not with one’s neighbors; urban social networks being more widely dispersed and offering a variety of choice and opportunity, while rural areas offer comparatively fewer options and so the robust relationships more often must by default focus on neighbors.

There’s a difference between separation and loneliness that I don’t think the above analysis takes into account in the words it chooses, even if the overall distinctions its drawing were deemed sound.

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