By Megan Wild, Author of Your Wild Home blog
The grass is always greener, yes, but that could be in a field in rural America or in Central Park in New York. How you grew up, what your motivations are, your experiences and what stage in your life you're in usually dictate whether you'd rather be living in a community or a rural area. Nevertheless, regardless of where you've made a life for yourself, you'll probably have had fantasies about a different way of life.
For years, the good ol' rural life has been portrayed as wholesome, genuine, family-centric and charitable. The air is always pure, skies always blue and life is PG-rated. City life, on the other hand, has also been glorified as a gold mine where the people are beautiful and successful, where life is efficient and convenient and, most importantly, where potential is infinite.
You may have ventured into this topic with friends and family before, and while the choice between community and rural living is largely subjective, we're taking a more pragmatic approach to the age-old battle. Taking a look at the most important factors that contribute to quality of life, we'll be comparing the benefits of living in a community and a rural area.
Living In A Community
Of course, we all know that we have to make compromises wherever we are, but the main benefits of city life are transport, cultural life and diversity.
- Transport – With the increasing pressure to reduce our greenhouse emissions, public transportation is a saving grace. It's also a convenient way to get where you need to go during your day-to-day activities. City life offers this of mobility in a way no rural town or village would be able to, and as a result, things just seem to happen faster without traffic queues or unpredictable weather conditions.
- Cultural Life – Concerts, art galleries, and other cultural trappings add wonder, inspiration and fun to our lives. They encourage a different type of lateral thought and can sometimes be the catalyst for positive changes. It might just seem like a way to pass the time, but its benefit should not be underestimated, particularly its effect of broadening horizons and even promoting social acceptance and liberal thought.
- Income – This is a strange one as while the corporate worlds reside in bigger cities and provide further opportunity and therefore income for city-dwellers, housing prices are astronomical and the cost of living is typically far higher than that within the countryside. Nevertheless, it's hardly a secret that community life has the potential to propel its constituents into serious wealth.
Interestingly enough, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey found that suburbanites are doing better than both their peers in the city and country when it comes to income.
Living The Rural Life
- Health – Those who live in the country are far less likely to suffer from pollution, violent crime, sexually transmitted infections or alcoholism and are typically more mentally stable. A 2010 study found that city folks have a 21 percent higher probability of succumbing to anxiety and a 39 percent higher chance of developing other mental disorders relating to stress.
However, surprisingly, Country Health Rankings discovered that people who live in the country are more likely to die prematurely than those who live in the city. This is primarily due to vehicle collisions, cardiovascular disease, and accidental firearm-related deaths.
- Independence – The freedom of nature and having the space to do what you want is one of the main pulls of the rural world. Children can play safely and securely in parks and climb trees as opposed to plastic blocks in air-conditioned and windowless rooms. There is a strong libertarian character in most rural areas for a reason, and you have much more privacy given the amount of space in between houses.
- Housing –Speaking of houses, according to real estate website Trulia.com, there is a $1.5 million difference in the average cost of a home in New York vs. one in Sheridan, Kansas. Housing in the country is much cheaper, plus you have the opportunity to live on more land, which you can use as you see fit.
So, how do you know which is right for you and your current (or future) family? Property Management, Inc. sums it up perfectly: “The urban lifestyle tends to be more fast-paced, crowded and expensive, but it also allows you access to the very best in culture and entertainment. The suburban lifestyle is great for raising a family, and still allows you access to the sights of the city and the space to pull back as well."
If you’re still undecided, perhaps suburban life is the first stop for you before making any further decisions!