Why is it Better to Live in a Small Town
The United States is home to a diverse landscape of living. From the massive metropolises of New York and Chicago to the small, secluded communities of the Midwest, each end of the spectrum offers its inhabitants different styles of living. Large cities boast endless entertainment options, cultural diversity, and opportunities. However, many problems emerge when a person decides to move to a large city. The small town in which I live in has given me an insight into the advantages of small towns. Although living in a big city has some benefits, people should consider living in a small town because it is more neighborly, more peaceful, and more affordable.
People need to consider living in small towns because the residents tend to be happier and more neighborly. Creating friendships with people is the key to happiness, and small towns are great places to meet friendly people. Big cities have several different types of neighborhoods, but some have higher rates of crime and are more dangerous than others. Also, it is difficult for residents to form relationships with their neighbors and other fellow citizens because of the large number of people that live in cities. However, smaller communities have neighborhoods that are safer and give people the opportunity to meet and make connections with the other neighbors. These strong connections made with neighbors creates a sense of friendship throughout the entire community. For this reason, Canadian researchers from the Vancouver School of Economics and McGill University believe that a correlation exists between the number of people in a town and the amount of happiness. Their research states:
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It may seem contradictory that greater happiness is correlated with both lower population density (implying fewer interpersonal interactions) and a greater sense of “belonging” in one’s community (implying stronger social connections). But a significant body of research shows that having a strong social network is key to well-being. Some studies indicate that small towns and rural areas are more conducive than cities to forming social bonds, which would explain some of the greater sense of belonging observed in the happiest Canadian communities. (Ingraham)
The residents of smaller communities tend to possess a higher level of happiness because they are able to create friendships with other people. When my family and I go somewhere in my small town, my parents or I seem to meet someone we already know. We then converse with one another and get to know what is happening in each other’s lives. It is more difficult for people to see other people they know in larger communities because of the vast size.
Small communities also seem to possess a friendlier atmosphere than big cities because the residents are more traditional and “tight-knit”. Additional research conducted by the Vancouver School of Economics and McGill University states that people in small towns have a sense of belonging in their community because they know everybody and a large portion of the community attends church (Ingraham). Attending church services on the weekend is important to people because they realize that people have good moral values. These values help create a better connection with everyone within the community. For example, a vast majority of Catholics in my small town attend church every weekend, and this creates a neighborly environment within the parish and town. Almost every portion of the church is filled with people. According to a poll conducted by Gallup, it details reasons why small towns have greater Church attendances. “One possible factor in this phenomenon is the idea that in smaller communities, churches are commonly among the only venues for large social gatherings” (Lyons). Church services allow people to see each other and give time for people to socialize. By allowing people to converse with others, citizens of small towns create a friendly and neighborly environment. This gives a reason why people need to make the transition from a large city to a small town.
Not only do small towns give people a sense of belonging to the community, but they also give people a more relaxing and peaceful lifestyle. People prefer peace and quiet over loud noises. Therefore, people should live in a small community because it has a more peaceful environment. The many sources of tumultuous sounds in cities that can stimulate irritation to the local residents include vehicles, sirens, airplanes, and helicopters. These sounds are especially prevalent in the business districts, or downtowns, of big cities where a large concentration of people lives. The constant disturbance can produce negative health effects on the human body, according to research performed by the Imperial College of London’s School of Public Health. The research states, “[A]n increase of just five decibels in noise levels was linked to 0.3% higher blood sugar levels than those living in quieter neighborhoods” (Locker). This increase in blood sugar can result in serious health complications. Also, the research concludes that the pollution and noise produced by automobiles can contribute to hypertension and heart disease (Locker). These serious cardiovascular ailments can result in more frequent trips to the doctor, more medical bills to pay for, and in the extreme case, death. People who have these issues after experiencing the calamities of the noisy city life should consider moving to smaller, quieter towns. The small-town environment offers a peaceful lifestyle where the sounds of cars and sirens are less prevalent. Almost every small town has very little or no sounds from automobiles. The neighborhood that I currently reside in possesses a very small noise level because of the small number of vehicles that drive through it. The quietness of my small town makes me grateful because I do not favor the loud noises that many residents of larger communities experience every day.
The pollutants and noises from automobiles do not just create health problems, but the high number of cars can create traffic jams. Large cities have a reputation of having heavy traffic, especially during the morning and afternoon commutes. According to research conducted by Educated Driver, the average amount of time that people in big cities spend commuting to work is about 402 days (McGauley). This total number of days equates to over one year. In small communities, residents do not have to travel long distances because people’s workplaces are located closer together. Simultaneously, small towns residents are saving time as well as money because they do not have to refill their gas tanks frequently. Research performed by Citi, a financial research company, states, “[T]he average cost of a round-trip commute is $12 – with gas being the greatest commuting cost” (Huddleston). This high expense for gasoline can create a financial burden for many people living in large cities where traffic and long commutes are always present.
Small towns are also more peaceful than big cities because crime is less common. Almost every big city in the United States has an area in which crime is prevalent. These dangerous locations within each city prevent the inhabitants from enjoying their lives. Small towns, however, are less likely to have neighborhoods that contain high levels of crime. The Bureau of Justice Statistics gathered information about crime rates in urban and rural areas and calculated the following results: crime rates that occurred in urban settings were 74% higher than crime rates in rural areas (Duhart). Crime tends to be higher in cities because they contain more people and law enforcement has a larger area to patrol. Small towns are smaller in size and population, which makes it easier to protect. Residents in small communities also look out for their neighbors to keep each other safe from violence and crime. Because small towns produce healthier effects, less traffic, and lower crime rates, people must consider the option of moving to a rural community.
Small towns offer their inhabitants with a slower and more relaxing pace, but they also give people more affordable living options. Although living in a big city has more shopping and eating options, people need to consider living in a small town because they can save more money than their counterparts in bigger cities. Big cities offer their residents several options to eat and shop by having many restaurants and shopping centers. The local inhabitants enjoy these amenities because they provide them with more choices and alternatives. However, the wide variety of shops and restaurants creates temptations to spend and waste money. Cameron Huddleston explains that living in a small town can save people more money: “[T]here are fewer temptations to spend money on a daily basis in a smaller city.” Smaller towns do not have expensive and luxurious shops and eateries where people have the inclination to spend their money. For example, my family and I occasionally travel to Omaha to visit my sister. The beginning of our visit includes making a stop at Scheels, a sporting superstore in Omaha. I spend several hours shopping at this store because a majority of my wardrobe consists of items from Scheels. I spend a lot of time at Scheels, so my family spends a lot of money there as well. The amount of money my family and I spend each time makes a big dent in our budget. Also, when lunchtime arrives, we choose to dine at a restaurant that includes delicious, high-priced food. By eating at a restaurant with expensive and high-quality food, our spending total increases by a large amount. Living in a small town reduces the temptation to spend money at expensive and high-priced restaurants and shops because my family shops less and eats meals at home.
Living in a small town can also save people more money because the cost of living is more affordable. A resident of a big city spends is spends is more than a small-town inhabitant. Housing costs are the highest expense for people in big cities because prices for houses and apartments are extremely high, especially in downtown locations. Livability, a website that gives demographic statistics and data, states, “The median price of a Chicago one-bedroom apartment clocks in at $1,632 per month, but if you want to live in one of the smaller towns and cities around Lake Superior, you could find a fantastic place for just $675 per month” (Radbil). A person can purchase the same apartment for about a thousand dollars less in a small town than in downtown Chicago. Another example of this wide price gap is the house value of my family’s house in Columbus, Nebraska compared to my aunt and uncle’s house in Los Angeles. The value of their house in the city is over one million dollars, while my family’s home is priced less than one-third of their house’s value. Their house is priced nearly three times higher, but the size of their house is almost one-half the size of our house. High property values are not the only drawback of big-city living, but the amount of space is very limited in big cities as well. Another statement made by Livability reads, “[H]ousing is a huge issue in major cities. Today, the larger the city – New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles – the more expensive your rent is going to be and your place is going to be tiny. Moving to a smaller city will afford you the opportunity to get a bit more space for your family” (Radbil). In large cities, the citizens pay more money for less space than small-town residents. The size of my aunt and uncle’s residence is estimated to be about 2,000 square feet, while my family’s home is roughly 4,000 square feet. Also, they do not have a lawn, which is similar to many people with homes and apartments in large communities. The price and size comparisons show that housing costs in large metropolitan areas are considerably higher than in small towns. People should live in small towns because they are able to save more money and the cost of living is much lower than in big cities.
When people are in the process of deciding where to live, they must consider living in a small town. Columbus, Nebraska, a community with a population of about 20,000 people, has been my childhood town for the past eighteen years. I have traveled to several big cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Dallas. Each time I travel to these large cities, I am grateful for the opportunity of growing up in a small town and not in a large metropolitan area. The benefits of living in a big city are few in number compared to living in a small community. The inhabitants of rural communities experience an atmosphere of kindness, happiness, and friendship. The peaceful and secluded environment of small towns is another benefit that citizens of big cities do not have the opportunity to enjoy. Also, the opportunity to save money and live a life without financial burden gives small towns a higher rating than large cities. It is clear that small-town living across the United States is very beneficial to many Americans because our small towns were and are still thriving since the beginning of this country.