Visualizing Urban vs. Rural Sentiments in Real-Time

  • Jackson HowellEmail author
  • Nathan Melenbrink
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Discrepancies in sentiment between urban and rural communities represent a divide which has garnered much media attention yet so far has yielded little research or analysis. In this research, we use sentiment analysis to parse tweets in order to reveal the mood of each demographic group when discussing specific topics. We expose this method through a publicly accessible web application for sentiment tracking. Users are able to track specific keywords on Twitter in order to collect data at different scales, filtering by country, state, or even neighborhood. Using this tool, we find that across a broad range of topics generally believed to be polarizing, urban and rural groups actually express very similar sentiment scores. These results suggest that even though two demographic groups might hold completely opposite views on an issue, there is usually a certain symmetry in the emotion that both groups bring to the discourse.


Sentiment analysis Urban-rural divide NLP 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard University Graduate School of DesignCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired EngineeringCambridgeUSA

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