More and more Americans are transitioning from life in big cities to smaller towns in rural communities. There are lots of reasons for the increasing migration, but the most important reasons are safety, health, well being, and economics.
For individuals and families who have spent most of their life in big cities, moving to a small town can present a real culture shock. Sometimes the choice to move is not an option but a necessity. For example, the reason may be to move closer to aging parents, or a change in economics that forces families to move further away from the city to more affordable, small suburbs. Regardless of the reason, one needs to be prepared for the changes because living in small towns is definitely different than life in the big city.
- Cost - median prices of homes and rentals are generally much less expensive in small towns. In addition, taxes are cheaper, and the cost of living is much more affordable.
- Safety - crime rates are much higher in big cities than in rural communities and small towns, especially serious crimes such as murder and rape.
- Space - small towns present more opportunities for families to find space for their children to play rather than living in tight spaces in congested cities.
- Traffic - many people can't wait to get away from large city traffic. It's not unusual for big city workers to have a 1-2 hour commute one way to work. That is time that they can spend with their families by living in small towns.
- Less Pollution - small towns and rural communities have less pollution and cleaner air than large, congested cities.
- Convenience - depending on just how small the town is and where it is located in proximity to the nearest large city, small towns will present some inconvenience in its distance to the great shopping and restaurants you may have been used to. It's important, too, to find out where the nearest pharmacy and ATM is located as these also represent important services you will be using on a regular basis.
- Health care - in large cities, the nearest hospital is never far away, but this may not be the case with a small town, particularly in a rural area. This can be a huge factor for people with ongoing medical problems. Small town hospitals also may not have the specialists needed, a real issue with older people.
- Education - families moving to smaller towns should definitely check out the school systems to make sure it meets their children's educational needs. This can be a challenge in small/rural communities.
- Access to work - unless you are a telecommuter or have a home-based business, finding a job in or close to small towns may be a challenge, and commuting to and from work may require a longer drive than expected. This is a real consideration depending on the nature of your job.