OBJECTIVE In this study, we examined the effects of residency and gender on cardiovascular reactivity to a speech stressor in 50 rural Zimbabweans (24 males, 26 females) and 47 urban Zimbabweans (25 males and 22 females). METHODS Participants were engaged in 4 periods: pre-task rest period, speech preparatory period, speaking task period, and the final recovery period. During each period, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate (HR) were assessed. RESULTS There was a significant interaction between area of residence and period for SBP and HR. Urban residents exhibited greater SBP and HR during the speaking phase of the speech task than did rural residents. However, rural residents displayed more exaggerated HR reactivity during the speech preparatory phase as compared to the urban residents. No gender differences were observed on blood pressure or heart rate reactivity. CONCLUSION In conclusion, the more exaggerated SBP and HR reactivity to the speaking phase among urban residents as compared to rural residents may be influenced by factors associated with urbanization.