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What word would one use that applies to all those living outside of cities - not just in the suburbs but also more isolated areas in the country?

I feel that the word 'citizen' implies living in a city too harshly and am looking for a proper antonym.

Sample Sentence:

Instead of applying his politics solely to Republicans or Democrats, he decided to focus on [WORD].

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    Where do you find that citizen implies living in a city?? In the modern world citizenship applies to countries and nations. Residence applies to localities.
    – Jim
    Aug 30, 2022 at 5:36
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    Citizen originally (c. 1300) meant inhabitant of a city but within 100 years had come to mean inhabitant of a state/nation. So there's not an issue.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 30, 2022 at 10:24
  • Could you find a better example than "Instead of… Republicans or Democrats, he decided to focus on [WORD]"? How is that not equivalent to "Instead of… [IRRELEVANT CATEGORIES], he decided to focus on [WORD]"? If you mean "Instead of… citizens, he decided to focus on [WORD]" then why not say something wholly different? Sep 1, 2022 at 20:41
  • One speaks of country dwelling and city dwelling; city air and country air. You could use country slicker to contrast with city slicker. Nov 27, 2022 at 0:35

3 Answers 3

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If you want a general term that involves the relationship between a person and the people living around them, in a non-political framework, how about community member?

Collins defines community as:

The community is all the people who live in a particular area or place. [...]

and a member as:

A member of a group is one of the people, animals, or things belonging to that group. [...]

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There are generally three community types: urban, suburban and rural. These words can be used as an adjective; and a noun to define the people living in that area. The OP wants a word for people that are not urban, that covers suburban and rural. There appears to be no common unambiguous word for this. There are many words for people living in the country (countryside) like rural, ruralist, rustic, rustical, countryman etc. (and many colloquial/derogatory words as well).

A rather neologistic approach would be using the words non-urban and non-urbanite (or without a hyphen) as a noun (as urban and urbanite are used as a noun also for a person who lives in a city or town) and it is possible to find usages online.

Example:

Throughout SEA, non-urbanites are increasingly relying on search to help them find the information they need, with two-thirds using search on their mobile phones. - thinkwithgoogle.com

Wiktionary has a definition for nonurbanite also:

One who is not an urbanite.

An unambiguous term (but not a single word) that can be considered is a non-city dweller which is used in formal contexts.

Example:

We examine the nature of government wage differentials for female workers separately for city dwellers and non-city dwellers.

Sharmila Choudhury (1994) Government wage differentials for women: do city dwellers earn more?, Applied Economics Letters, 1:3, 35-38, DOI: 10.1080/135048594358258

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  • Because suburb and suburban can be pejorative or dismissive or carry meanings beyond and apart from "town" or "village" or "hamlet", it's usually better to use the English trio city, town, and country rather than the Latinate urban, suburban, and rural — unless of course you're writing in a context like the papal Urbi et Orbi messages where impressing people with your command of Latin is important. :) Words like urbane and rustic are also perilous for the same reason.
    – tchrist
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:33
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    Urban, suburban and rural are common words, even used in formal contexts (like the OP's political context) and government statistics pages, mainly referring to the area. These words make the distinction between community types clear. For example: "City vs. town" is not as clear as "urban vs. suburban".
    – ermanen
    Sep 1, 2022 at 8:07
  • There's also "exurban".
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 27, 2022 at 22:33
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Provincial should be adequate for most purposes.

a person who comes from somewhere in a country outside its capital city

Sticks is another potential "outside of the city" word:

'The sticks' is a humorous way of referring to a place in the country

(Definitions from Cambridge)

There are other words such as "countrymen" which mean people from rural areas and may not include suburbanites and townsfolk.

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