Moving to a Small Town – Is it a Good Idea?

You’re going the full monty by moving to a small town!

“Oh what a marvelous idea” some will say, while others will say, “you’ve gone bananas, old boy.” That’s because like most things in life, there are pros and cons about moving to the countryside – the boonies as some folks fondly call it.

We used to think that the kinds of people who were attracted to the prospect of moving to a small town were seniors longing finally for the peace and quiet. It is, however, difficult to generalize because we’ve actually met a lot of seniors who prefer to stick close to the hustle and bustle. They don’t mind the noise and pollution of the big city because they say it makes them feel alive and young-at-heart.

So we come to the verdict: you don’t have to be a certain age or have a certain kind of temperament to be a small town lover. The reason could be one of pure circumstance (like a job assignment) or wanting to shift from a supermarket diet to a strictly organic or home-grown diet.

A multitude of reasons will explain why folks decide to move, and it is a subject that’s of demographic interest to sociologists and statisticians. Taking a look at the advantages, we have:

Moving to a Small Town: Pros

People who move to the countryside are usually looking for something definite, and have fixed ideas of why they desire to make that change from city to village. Certainly there are advantages, and many of them are worth considering:

  • better environment for their children – no one will dispute that when children are growing up, they have to be exposed to a good value system with the least amount of negative distraction. You want them to be self-sufficient, with village values deeply ingrained in them.
  • bigger space – while location is real estate’s mantra, some people don’t really think of location as a priority because they need a bigger house and want to get bang for their buck. So if that involves moving to a small town they’ll do it without thinking twice. A family of four would enjoy the added space – the living area is bigger, children need not share rooms and there’s also the possibility of a barn or a stable. House and land are a dream come true for families who believe that bigger is better but don’t want to have to pay city prices.
  • cleaner air, healthier lifestyles – in a big city you have to cohabit with big industry. Big industry means a higher level of pollution and the lack of green spaces. This isn’t a problem in small towns. Industry will not really build installations in small towns because for industry to thrive, it needs immediate access to facilities and resources. As for healthier values, the chances of having home-grown or organic food are better. Foods don’t get processed, and in a small town, you have access to farm-grown fruits and vegetables that have not been tampered with by manufacturing methods.
  • lower incidence of crime – this is still the general impression, although we’ve seen instances of crime happening in the most peaceful and sleepiest of towns. But street crime is less prevalent, and since there are less public places like subways, malls and bars, the incidence of crime is diminished.

Moving to a Small Town: Cons

If city life runs in your veins, we don’t know how much adjusting you’ll need to do to be happy in a small town. Some welcome it and stay forever, some say, “the peace and quiet got to me after awhile.” So if you’ve lived all your life in urban centers, you may want to think twice – thrice even – about making that move. Mind you, there may be strong motivation for you to make that radical change but whatever that motivation is, do weigh the advantages and disadvantages with a critical and objective eye.

  • “what happened to my Internet connection?” – if you make a living pounding away at your computer and your job requires you to do research on the web, scout around for a computer shop in the small town you’re moving to and ask if there are internet providers around. It’s not enough to have an internet provider, you’ll want a reliable one. We live in the city, but when our internet connection is on the blink, we go ballistic. Imagine what would happen if the coverage in your area is erratic. Now you have Internet, now you don’t. So if the Internet is your sole means of livelihood, make sure that re-connecting to cyberspace won’t give you high blood pressure as your favorite T1 providers may not be available out in the sticks.
  • limited facilities – this is another vital factor to consider. All human beings depend on continuing services: if we fall ill or have a health emergency, we’re assured of at least three medical centers in our area; if we like to read, we want our libraries to have a good, up-to-date collection; if we feel like painting the town red, we’d like to have a pick of several entertainment options. In a small town, the facilities may not be that sophisticated. You might be an isolation freak and want to leave the asylum we call the city and never again have to relive city life; if that’s the case, the absence of facilities won’t faze you at all. But if you enjoy the arts and have a need to be entertained from time to time, better make a tally of how many theaters, concert halls, bars and universities there are in your small town. Remember that if the population is less than 20,000, the government may not feel that generous about providing entertainment because it’s costly to begin with. City governments would much rather devote a larger slice of their budgets to those areas with bigger populations to be cost-effective.
  • town gossip – probably because of a lack of things to do in a small town, people tend to engage in gossip occasionally. It’s the “everybody knows everybody” phenomenon. You can’t escape being the center of attention especially if you’re new in town. People will want to know who you are, what you’re doing in their town, or if you have a big barn. If you’re a social butterfly and enjoy attention, this should not be a problem. If you shunned people in the city and kept your doors locked, you may not be able to do this in a small town. People will knock at your door and offer you a basket of their baked cookies. In order not to be rude, you invite them in for a chat. There goes your time!
  • when disaster strikes – we don’t want to paint gloom and doom about your desire to move to a small town, but think about this: if a hurricane or earthquake or a major snowstorm hits your town, how soon before help arrives? Does the town have emergency halls where people can be evacuated? It’s fine to want peace of mind and tranquility, but when disaster strikes, that peace of mind will dissipate quickly. Think back: in the city when you faced a major snowstorm and your garage was blocked, you were usually back in business in half a day. How does that efficiency compare to small town efficiency?
  • “I miss the kids” – you sure will miss the kids because when they turn 18, they’ll want a taste of city life. Not only that, they’ll want to get educated in one of the country’s best universities. That means they’ll move away – that’s guaranteed. When you moved to the small town, you brought along the entire kit and caboodle, thinking this idyllic state will last a lifetime. No, the caboodle will slip away from your grip, whether you like it or not.

Moving to a small town may mean splendor in the grass, hearing the songs of the birds – tweet-tweet – and joyfully listening to the murmurs of the stream – but give it serious thought before you call the movers.

What’s it going to be? Funky town or sleepy town?



2 Responses

  1. I moved to a small town because the city was getting dangerous. My child was young and I thought this would be the best. Moving into a small town, where people have been born and bred, has it setbacks. You may feel like you’ve walked into a grand party that you haven’t been invited to. You will always be ‘the new kid’ no matter how long you stay.
    On the up side, there is less crime, homes are cheaper and there are no sirens at night. Keep in mind, if you are an ‘import’, it will never quite feel like home.

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