The early years of the post-socialist era saw the beginnings of massive regional and social differentiation in Hungary, which led to the emergence of three regional types. In the economic race there are those regions that develop vigorously, others that can be labelled as transition regions and still others that lag behind the first two. This holds true both for rural areas and the country as a whole. Rapidly developing rural areas lie in the vicinity of towns and cities with good employment opportunities, in favourable communication hubs, in resort areas or ones existing in isolation across the country. Rural areas lagging behind are invariably situated in regions that rely on heavy industry or only on largescale farming. The lecture discusses, in detail, a survey on a village community in a typical backward region, where the proportion of losers amounts to two-thirds of the local society. It also seeks to identify the causes of the social gap in Hungary's rural areas, to explain why they are trailing economically.