Rural Sociology is comparatively a new branch of sociology. It was first originated in the United States of America. It has taken more than half a century to become established as a distinct academic field or professional study. The main contributors to the development of rural sociology are-Charles Sanderson, Burtherfield, Ernast Burnholme, John Morris Gillin, Franklin H. Giddings and Thomas Nixon Carver. It was President Roosevelt who, through the appointment of 'Country Life Commission' gave a good encouragement to the development to the rural sociology in 1908. The report of this Commission encouraged the studies of rural society.
In 1917 the Department of Rural Sociology was set up by the American Sociological Society. In 1919, a 'Rural Sociology Department' was established under the chairmanship of Dr. C. J. Galpin. The Great Depression of 1930 provided another stimulus to the growth of rural sociology. In 1937, 'Rural Sociological Society' was formed. It started publishing a professional journal 'Rural Sociology' containing results of rural sociological research. C. J. Galpin of University of Wisconsin developed techniques for defining and delimiting the rural community. His approach is still popular today.
The Great Second World War gave yet another fillip to the growth of rural sociology. The destruction caused by the war demanded reconstruction. The reconstruction work brought further encouragement to the science. By 1958 there were about 1000 professional rural sociologists in America. Rural sociology crossed the boundaries of America and became popular in Europe. A European Society for Rural Sociology was formed in 1957, and a similar organisation was started in Japan also. In developing countries, the role of the rural sociologists is primarily in the applied field of more effective planning and operation of rural community development programmes.