Rural communities have distinctive patterns of economic development and social life. Previous research has highlighted a rural–urban divide across several dimensions of quality of life. For instance, living standards are lower on average in rural areas. This policy brief aims to draw policymakers’ attention to aspects of quality of life where rural dwellers are doing less well than the urban population, focusing on three topics: financial security, connectedness and life satisfaction. The study finds that in terms of financial situation and subjective well-being, the rural regions of southern and eastern European Member States are indeed falling behind. Older rural residents of these countries, particularly, experience high levels of disadvantage.