3,000, but a large number under 10,000 and even under 5,000.
In France, all communes are governed in accordance with the provisions of one municipal code, excepting only the cities of Paris and Lyons. The law thus makes no distinction between urban and rural populations.
In Germany and Austria-Hungary, as already observed, the law regarding municipal corporations has not developed in recent years and largely preserves mediaeval distinctions, with the result of producing anomalies.
The conclusion is forced upon us that the legal definition of urban population lacks uniformity. The law-givers do indeed recognize a vital distinction between urban and rural populations, but they do not help us to draw the line. What, now, is the opinion of statistical scientists on the question?
The disagreement is not so great here as in the preceding cases, for of late years the numerical boundary (2,000) chosen by France in 1846 has made its way through most of Continental Europe, and its adoption in 1887 by the International Institute of Statistics makes it reasonably certain that it will be the generally accepted line of division for many years to come. If we hold in mind the distinction commonly made in America between city and town, we shall see that the difference in the meaning attached to the word "urban" by European and American statisticians rests simply on this fact: that in America the "town" is regarded as rural and in Europe as urban. The question of
- See further ch. ii, sec. 2, Introduction.
- See Bulletin de l'Institut International de Statistique (1887), ii, 366.
- In American usage generally, the town is something between village and city, a kind of inferior or incomplete city. The thing which the town lacks, as compared with the complete city, is .... municipal government." Fiske, Civil Government in the United States, p. 103. But Fiske says the town is urban rather than rural.