I was born and raised in a small town, and I absolutely loved it. I spent my fair share of time in larger cities during my teens and early 20s, and now I am back in a small town for the time being and couldn’t be happier. While both big city and small town living has its perks, in my experience living in large cities has way more cons and small towns have a lot more pros.
· Small town: There is none. Like, ever. Where I live now the most “traffic” we get is 4 cars stopped at a light. I can hop in my car and get anywhere in exactly one minute per mile or less. I get where I want to go at the exact time I want to be there, and it’s a beautiful thing.
· City: City traffic is the worst. Your only options for getting around are to 1. Drive and deal with the frustration of bumper to bumper traffic or 2. Skip the traffic by taking public transportation, but extend your commute time drastically. You constantly run the risk of being late with either option. Who really wants to spend hours every day commuting, or having to plan life around rush hour?
Cost of Living
· Small town: We all know a dollar to me isn’t the same as a dollar to you. And my dollar here in Western Louisiana is worth about 5 of dollars in NYC or LA or wherever you want to compare. I live in a 2,500 square foot house that costs less than half what a room rental would in NYC. My husband and I can go for a really nice dinner and get multiple courses each and spend less than $50 altogether. My gas is under $2 a gallon. When all is said and done and all the bills are paid, I have more than enough leftover to dine out and go shopping and to take several really nice vacations every year.
· City: This goes without saying, but city living is extremely expensive. And the reality is the wages don’t really help compensate for the increased cost of living. You’re paying a whole lot more to get way less, however (in the majority of cases) you aren’t making much more money than you could in a smaller town. And in a lot of cases you’re being paid less because there are so many more people competing for each job. There is no incentive for businesses to offer you more because there are ten other people just as qualified willing to do it for less. So you might have more things to spend your money on, but those things are more expensive and you have less available to spend anyway.
· Small town: My living conditions are pretty great. I have a brand new house with around the clock maintenance on standby if so much as a lightbulb goes out. I have everything I need within a two mile radius (gym, pool, post office, grocery store, hospital, gas stations, schools, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, golf course, running trails, lakes and ponds, Starbucks, restaurants, department stores, etc., literally all within 2 miles of my community). Local businesses are clean and well stocked, people are friendly and courteous. Everything is quiet, peaceful ,and well cared for.
· City: Well, if you have enough money or luck, anything is possible. But for the most part people who live in major cities don’t have great living conditions (unless you live in the suburbs, which is obviously not the same as living IN the city. Silver Spring is not DC, friends. But I digress). If you want square footage you will have to compromise on amenities and/or safety and cleanliness. If you want the amenities and safety you are not going to get the square footage. People are definitely not as friendly or courteous, wide open spaces are often few and far between. Pollution, loud noises at all hours, and bright lights instead of stars are just icing on the cake.
Sense of Community
· Small town: I don’t think anyone can argue that the smaller the town, the greater the sense of community. I live in one of the smallest military towns in the world, and yet I have never had more deep connections and companionship than I do now. I made amazing friends literally the day I moved in here, and every person I have met is an active participant in my life. We are a family here.
· City: You obviously meet a ton of people living in cities, but very few of those people actually stay in your life. Most studies show that people living in major cities have fewer meaningful relationships than their small town counterparts, and most people in cities experience chronic feelings of isolation and loneliness. There might be community programs to help combat these issues, but they have been proven to be minimally effective at best. Just goes to show you can be surrounded by people but still be completely alone.
And just so we are crystal clear, I get that some people have better experiences than others. Not everyone has to compromise in order to live in a major city. I am also not saying there are no redeeming qualities to living in major cities. The hustle and bustle is certainly exciting , and I could never turn my nose up at having nearly unlimited dining and shopping options. I just don’t think those perks make up for all the other areas where you might have to compromise your lifestyle. I would much rather live in a more conservative place that enables me to live a full and thriving life, instead of restricting myself to the limits of one city.
Just my thoughts on it, what do you think? Big city or small town?