To talk about what we say, we have to talk about who we say it for.
Total side point (but isn’t that how internet fights work?). Not even about data people and culture. So feel free to be annoyed.
Topeka is not rural, it’s a city of 125K people and an MSA of double that. I worry that many of us in “major metropolitan areas” think any place outside the eastern seaboard, major west coast cities or cool tech hubs is “rural”. I grew up in nearby Kansas City, which is more like a 500K city and 2M metro, so can say from personal experience that Topeka is certainly smaller ,but definitely a little state capital city, not a rural town.
Only reason this matters is that when we say “most people live in cities/urban areas”, that actually counts a ton of small cities like Topeka which make up the bulk of that number. 59M Americans live in the 100 largest cities, whereas 249M Americans live in urban areas.