In order to support rural policy making with appropriate information, alternative territorial breakdowns of statistics are necessary. This paper shows how the widely used criterion of 150 inhabitants per km² can be fine tuned to better account for local specific conditions, in particular high population densities. Alternative population density thresholds are confronted with local perceptions of rurality, aggregated in a rurality index. The method is illustrated for two regions that differ in urbanisation level. The rurality index not only increases the discriminatory power, but also helps to find a less erroneous and more robust proxy for international comparable breakdowns of statistics.