Most small-scale fisheries (SSFs) in the developing world are exploited by rural communities, but global trends in coastal urbanization and development are rapidly transforming many SSF landscapes. The implications for livelihood resilience, or the capacity of a livelihood to overcome shocks and stresses, remain unknown. The environmental and economic shocks and stresses experienced by SSF communities are becoming more frequent and severe, highlighting the urgent need to understand how urban and rural SSF contexts influence how fishers build livelihood resilience. To shed light on this issue, we performed a systematic review of the Mexican SSF literature to compare constructions of livelihood resilience across urban and rural communities. Our findings suggest that attributes innate to urbanness and ruralness may influence how these communities and individuals build livelihood resilience. Specifically, our results suggest that population density, isolation, and the diversity of jobs available are associated with several indicator variables for livelihood resilience. Moreover, we find that the greatest threats to livelihood resilience in urban communities are weak incentives to cooperate and threats to ecosystems, while the greatest opportunities to achieve livelihood resilience are easier access to education and ample prospects for additional employment outside the fishing sector. In contrast, livelihood resilience in rural communities is most threatened by the relatively fewer opportunities for education and additional employment, but benefits from strong incentives to cooperate. Efforts to bolster livelihood resilience within SSF communities would benefit from considering these different opportunities and challenges presented by urban and rural contexts.