Previous work suggests rural identity stems from direct experience living in a rural area, and that categorical group membership occurs before social identification. However, some U.S. survey takers not living in a rural area indicate that being rural is part of their identity. Using an original survey of American adults, as well as 2019 and 2020 ANES data, I find that these non-rural rural identifiers are similar to rural identifiers in rural areas in terms of group-based affect and values, and are more right-leaning and populist than people who do not identify as rural (regardless of their location). Few consistent demographic differences between rural and non-rural rural identifiers exist. I conclude that non-rural rural identifiers have either been socialized as rural but moved away, or they affiliate with the values and norms of rural areas despite not categorically being part of the group, leading to rural identification.
Supplement for "Feeling out of place"