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Living Situations: Small Town vs. Big City

A compare and contrast piece on small town living and big city living within the United States.

            Making a decision that is right for you and your family can be tough when it comes to where to locate.  Though small towns and big cities both have desirable qualities, they each also posses less appealing attributes.


            Small towns rarely have a formal public transportation system.  This means that more people must own their own vehicles or depend on others for rides.  Owning your own vehicle has both positive and negative attributes.  Although by owning your own car you are free to travel as you please, you are also required to fill up the tank with costly gasoline and carry automobile insurance.

                        Big cities almost always have multiple forms of public transportation available.  These include taxi cabs, busses, and subway systems.  Although there is a cost to use public transportation, in most cases the prices are reasonable.  Utilizing public transportation also allows one to help the environment by cutting back individual motor vehicle pollution emissions.  


            There are very limited local jobs available in small towns.  There maybe businesses hiring like grocery stores, gas stations, and fast food chains at different points of the year; however, many businesses have lifelong employees, creating less of an opportunity for job openings.  Although there are definite negative aspects to small town employment, there are also positive.  This includes a closer commute, working with people you know, and shorter work hours, which allows more time to be spent with family and friends.   

            Big cities often have multiple places to work.  Grocery stores, gas stations, and fast food chains are also present, only in greater numbers.  There are also job opportunities that involve special training and higher education creating a chance for higher wages and more promotions such as headquarters for corporations.  Working for a large company can have great perks such as better benefit packages then a small town business could offer and the opportunity to meet new and interesting people throughout your employment.  Despite these facts, working in larger cities usually means lengthy commutes to work because of traffic issues, less time at home with your family, and more stressful working and living environments.           

Family Life

            Many people are attracted to small-town family life.  If you are active in town events such as school functions, hometown sports games, fairs and festivals, and local politics, you are likely to see a familiar face.  This allows relationships to grow inside and outside of your immediate family.  

            The population in a big city is going to be larger, giving some people the feeling of being lost or unimportant.  With this erratic lifestyle of people constantly on the go, it is less likely you will see your family on a regular basis.  For instance, big cities offer tons of activities, and it is easy for one to get involved with too many and miss out on “home time”.

So, Which is Best?

            Small town and big city living are very different, but each offering unequivocal positives and negatives.  One must decide what his or her priorities are when deciding where to live.  Small towns offer few, if any, public transportation options, less opportunities for local jobs, and a tight-knit family life which can encompass the entire town.  Alternatively, big cities offer many public transit options, more job opportunities, but less of a “family lifestyle”.  Both selections will provide an interesting lifestyle and depending on a person’s personal situation, either could be potentially perfect.

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  1. Laura

    On June 5, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I keep looking at living in a smaller town versus living in the large city I’m in at the moment.

    In Austin, Texas:
    1) The traffic is bad. Driving 4 miles to work takes 30 minutes.
    2) Local events are either costly or crowded. (Got stepped on at the Mediterranean festival where 10,000 attended. Could hardly walk around at the Pecan Street Festival.)
    3) Housing and property taxes are expensive, even small cookie cutter houses cost $$$.
    4) Crime is higher and the police are often slow to respond.–Try waiting three hours for the police to arrive after you find your home burglarized.
    5) Houses are often built very close together. Thus, privacy is limited.
    6) The city council doesn’t listen to voters. We didn’t want rail. We got it anyway, paid way to much for it, and it’s still not up and running and in the end only services only a few people. We didn’t want toll roads. We got them anyway. We fought mandatory home energy audits to no avail. We now must pay AT MINIMUM $300 to the City to have an energy audit before selling our homes and anything wrong must be disclosed to the buyer. This is on top of a regular home inspection.

    However, I do have a secure job. I do enjoy a large selection of restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets etc, and in Austin it’s pretty easy to find folks like myself with similar politic persuasions and religious bents.

    Still, I think in a small town, the pace would be slower. People would have the time to get to know you. The money I make selling my house here would buy two homes in a smaller Texas town.–I know because I actually went real estate shopping in a Texas town of 15,000.

  2. Tishawn

    On September 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I say live in Los Angeles on and off for about 10 years and see how you feel.I just got back today from my moderate sized city of Waukegan Illinois.My blood pressure rose dramatically as i got off the plane this morning at L.A.X.Life sucks here but the quality of life elsewhere isnt that good either.I think it’s getting harder to live anywhere nowadays..Sometimes i wish it were the 50’s or 60’s and life was much easier(jobs,cheap housing,stronger marraiges,less crime..etc).Im saying all of this and i’m a Black person so what does that tell you?Apparently you’re screwed anywhere you go..but one day.Ill find a way out of this hellhole they call Los Angeles!

  3. Justin Jordan

    On September 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Who can come through and do the home inspection los angeles? I would like to make sure everything is doing great.

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