Enriched environments foster cognitive reserve in older age. However, it is not known whether and how geographical and physical characteristics of the
environment contribute to healthy ageing. Evidence of higher prevalence of dementia in rural rather than urban contexts suggests that urban environments may be more stimulating either cognitively, socially or in terms of lifestyle. The present study explored
urban/rural differences in cognition in a representative sample of 5,892 healthy community-dwelling older people. Rural residents showed poorer performance than urban residents for measures of global cognition and executive functions, and childhood residents modulated these results.