In the aftermath of the pandemic, the number of Americans relocating out of urban areas is growing, fast. Ever since 2020, more than 1.2 million Americans have traded their big city life for something more affordable, as rising house prices continue to price out would-be buyers and the cost of living causes many to tighten their purse strings even further.
However, it’s not only pricey homes, or surging costs that have caused so many to flee urban areas in recent years. The onset of remote work, and companies now allowing their employees to work from anywhere have contributed to the growing list of factors that are leaving Americans with more autonomy to relocate across the country.
Other factors including fewer people, a safer environment, minimal traffic, political affiliation, and different cultural exposure are among the many things that Americans say have enticed them to leave the big city behind for smaller, and more rural areas following a survey by Paulsen, a Sioux Falls-based marketing agency.
For many people, the move from the city was driven by the growing cost of living, for others it was a decision that would mean a simpler, more relaxed lifestyle, where they can start a family away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
While small-town life creates a sort of picturesque lifestyle, leaving behind everything and everyone you know in the big city requires careful consideration. We’ve rounded up five important questions you should work through before packing up your life and moving it elsewhere in hopes of living the perfect small-town life.
Oftentimes families tend to consider the near-term changes they might encounter when leaving the city behind. An easier way of life, more affordable housing options, less traffic, and a safer place for children to grow up.
While this can be true, other implications need to be considered beforehand that will make a lasting impact on both parents and children.
For starters, in smaller towns, the job market tends to be relatively less diverse. There are typically fewer employment opportunities available across niche industries. This is important to consider as this would mean that one or another of the family might be working outside of their qualifications, or would need to take on a job that they have never done before.
Another long-term consideration is the quality of education for children. In smaller towns, where there are fewer schools available, children will often have a limited amount of choices when it comes to their education.
With fewer educational options, children will either need to attend a local school or be transferred to a boarding school if proper education is a top priority for both parents.
Parents need to consider how their current choices will impact the family in the long term and what this could mean for them as they leave everything they know, for something completely new and foreign to them.
Living in a new place often requires you to make some adjustments to your personal lifestyle to feel more comfortable with your new environment.
Take for example public transportation, while a bigger city may offer different modes of getting around, living in a smaller town might require you to buy a car to get around. Yes, there are small towns in the U.S. that still use public buses and trams, but these are often far and wide in between.
Something else that you might want to think about is your need for public amenities such as parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities, or any other recreational needs. Some towns might have a limited offering in terms of their public amenities, and you would need to find alternatives to these.
Perhaps you’re someone that enjoys being social, dining out at restaurants, or going to the movies every other weekend. Living in a small town might still offer these activities, but it comes with a change in whether people view these as important.
Rather than going out for dinner, people cook meals at home and invite their friends over. Instead of going to the movies, people might choose to spend weekends away camping or being outside.
Moving from the city to a small town comes with a massive lifestyle change, and while it may be more affordable, it could mean you will need to let go of some of the things you enjoy doing the most.
Yes, it’s true, small towns are more community-driven, meaning that everyone will likely know everyone. Your neighbor will no longer be a strange face that passes you on the street, it’s a friend, and a person that will invite you into their home and they will expect the same from you.
Being an active member of the community is something that automatically comes with living in a smaller town. This is however more common in very small towns, where residential populations tend to be very low.
Being an active member of the community can look different depending on where you end up settling down. In some instances, you will see community members being supportive of new residents, or even taking time out of their schedule to get to know you and your family.
Then there are times when the community might expect you to give up some of your free time to help support them, regardless of what their direct needs might be at the given moment.
Living in a small town, or a smaller city does have a big community aspect to it, and getting used to it might be one of the hardest things for many people. Again, this ties in with having to make changes to your lifestyle, to help you comfortably adjust to your new town and become an active member of the local community.
If you or someone in your family requires specialized medical treatment, you might want to consider what options you have available to ensure you are always within proximity of medical facilities.
Living in a small town could mean that having the convenience of booking an appointment with a medical professional and being helped right away might be limited to the number of medical practitioners available in the area.
Another possibility, which is often more true than what you might expect, is that visiting a nearby town or city for medical needs is common. If you or anyone else in your family have medical needs that require attendance every now and again, make sure you are well informed about the available medical facilities in any nearby town.
You can always ask your current practitioner to help you find a suitable alternative or replacement in the town you’re thinking of moving to. Make sure that you do thorough research on the medical services you will have access to, and in specialized cases, ensure there is an alternative nearby you can visit when needed.
The most recognizable thing about moving to a small town is that everything slows down. There is a sense of peace and quiet, and in most cases, you will become more grounded, as the environment forces you to slow down and re-evaluate what is important to you.
No matter which small town in the U.S. you decide on moving to, remember that the crowds of people, noise, and hustle of the city don’t come with you and that everything you were once used to is now something of the past.
Being more relaxed, and having the opportunity to unwind, allows you to become more focused on what’s important to you and your family. Living in a small town doesn’t only mean that everything slows downs, it also becomes less stressful.
People that relocate from cities to smaller towns tend to have a greater sense of calm and tend to feel less stressed in their jobs and family life. They also tend to have a better work-life balance, but this however comes at the price of being away from everything and everyone you know.
Being in a small town means that everything else also slows down. Businesses might close earlier on weekends and holidays. You might not have a lot of options to choose from if you’re looking for a particular service or product. People are generally calmer and have become accustomed to their lifestyles here, and this is how they intend on living for the remainder of their lives.
Moving to a small town has its perks, it allows you to save more money, and have an improved quality of life, depending on where you end up. However, there is a lot you will need to give up, and by the time you’ve reached a decision, you will need to make sure that it’s a decision that can have a lasting positive impact on both you and your family in the long-term.
Having that small-town lifestyle makes for a great way to improve your quality of life, and it can help you form new bonds with people and become an active member of your community. It does mean that before you choose to relocate, you will need to make some personal changes in your own life, to ensure you can comfortably adjust.
Make sure you do enough research, and get in contact with locals or visit the town beforehand to get a better idea of what you’re signing up for. Whatever you end up deciding, leaving the big city behind, for the small town, could potentially be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.