City vs. country living: Which is the right lifestyle for you?
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This article is for educational purposes only. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. does not offer this type of loan. Any information described in this article may vary by lender.
Recent events have many of us reevaluating our lifestyle and making big decisions surrounding what we want our future to look like. Some of us have embraced our big backyards with room to run, while others have taken advantage of vacancies in metropolitan areas to live out their city dreams.
The reality is that one isn’t necessarily better than the other. We all see the world through different lenses. What’s good for you may not be good for your neighbor, and what is good for you today may not be good for you tomorrow.
It’s possible you’re on the fence about what’s next when it comes to city versus country living, so we’re here to help you explore the pros and cons of each.
The differences between city vs. country living
There are many differences between city and country living. When you think of a city, you think of constant activities and culture. You can run downstairs for a snack in the middle of the night and there‘s a good chance you’ll find several 24-hour spots. When you think of country living, your mind usually jumps to nature and wholesome, peaceful activities like campfires and catching fireflies under the stars.
You may also think living in the country makes it difficult to access goods or services. Years ago, you would be right — city living allowed for large markets with specialized goods and services, but today transportation and streamlined supply chain management makes a lot of those goods and services accessible to people in the country. We even have delivery companies with guaranteed next day shipment. Granted, there are certain experiences where a delivery service just won’t cut it, and the convenience of picking something up within the hour is always tempting.
Another disparity between city and country living is the job market. As you move closer to the city, wages tend to be higher as metropolitan area density doubles. In parallel with that, so does housing. But you have cultural assets that make up for this price disparity. Another reality about city living is that crime rate is typically higher, but being prepared and knowing what to look out for can help.
Pros and cons of city living
Pros of city living
There’s an endless list of pros when it comes to city living. A big standout is your access to almost anything at your fingertips. You can go out to dinner, see a show, visit a museum and take a walk through the park all in one day with time to spare.
This goes hand in hand with culture and diversity. The exposure you get to different people from all walks of life is important, especially in the world we live in today. This type of living exposes you to amazing new food, music, fashion, languages and more.
Another benefit of city living is job opportunities. There is much more to take advantage of in this realm because there is more going on. If you are a young person starting your career this will often take you to a new city. There are always new things happening that you can check out with friends and there are more people to meet, which can make dating in cities easier too.
Although city living might not have the same nature scenes found in the country, you can still find beautiful parks to spend a sunny day in. If you want to get out of the city, you have easy access to planes, trains and automobiles that can get you there.
Cons of city living
Although there’s a lot to do in a city, this can be overwhelming. Instead of spending a leisurely day at home, you may feel pressed to constantly take advantage of what’s at your disposal. There’s a lot of anxiety that can come with this type of lifestyle. The fear of missing out may keep you from a day of rest you really needed for your mental health.
Constant stimulus around you can sometimes numb you to the small wonders in life. City living can feel like a bubble, and there’s always something bigger and better going on. This can make some people jaded, or it can have an adverse effect and may make you appreciate the smaller things.
Not only is housing more expensive, but so is the overall cost of living. This may make it harder to save money for the future. If you plan on raising a family, this is something to consider as well. Not only is raising a family in the city much more expensive, but an entirely unique experience for a child. Depending on where you live, an unfortunate city reality is that private schools are expensive and public schools may not be the best. This is not always the case, but something to consider.
A life in the city could mean a life without a lot of nature. There is a lack of open space compared to the country and it’s usually expensive to live in a building with patios or a roof. On top of this, cities are more polluted than the country so your air quality may not be the best.
Pros and cons of country living
Pros of country living
There’s no doubt that there is something extremely charming about country living. Open space, peace and quiet and clean air make this an appealing option. There is an overall connection with nature that you don’t usually get in a big city.
You can likely find a bigger living space on acres of land for less money than you’d spend on an 800 square foot apartment in a city. The goods and services are usually more affordable depending on your income and expenses.
Since there is less to do, there is more time to take it easy. You can get outside and go on a leisurely walk, take up gardening or head to a local farm stand for fresh produce.
If you’re looking to raise a family with room for your kids to run around and explore, they can grow up playing outside with fresh air and room to grow.
Cons of country living
Like any place, there are cons to country living. Considering the open space and smaller population, a country living experience can be a bit isolating. You may have to drive miles for essentials or even to see your neighbor. In the event of an emergency, this could be time consuming and inconvenient.
If you live in a small town, you may have less privacy in your personal life. And with less people around there are less chances to meet someone special or make new friends.
Oftentimes, the countryside has limited options. This means a smaller variety of cuisine, culture and shops.
When you live in the country, a car is a necessity. The ease of public transportation isn’t as accessible. The added expense of having a car and its maintenance is a big consideration when relocating. This can make travel much more expensive too. Private airports are usually very expensive which will make air travel more challenging, and the distance to get to a big airport may be a hassle.
Finally, there is a lot of manual labor that comes along with country living. Home repairs, mowing your lawn, watering your plants and the general up of taking care of a home.
Can’t choose? How to get the best of both worlds
It doesn’t have to be one or the other when it comes to city or country living, especially if you’re on the fence.
The suburbs are a clever way to get the best of both worlds. A major city is just a car or train ride away, but you still live in a four-bedroom house on an acre of land. Unfortunately, the suburbs can be just as expensive as a city but can provide you with the space and lifestyle you’re looking for out in the country.
Many people are moving out of cities into the suburbs. A major example of this best of both worlds’ mentality are places like Long Island, NY or the suburbs surrounding San Francisco. There are parks, beaches and good public school systems — yet you can hop on the train and be in a major city within the hour.
The influx of city dwellers into the suburbs is raising prices dramatically but can give you the lifestyle you’re looking for without having to compromise city versus country.
So where do I go? City, country or suburbs?
After weighing the pros and cons of city vs country living, you should be able to prioritize your needs and wants. You may enjoy the city in your 20s and decide to move to the suburbs in your 30s, or you may come from the country and decide you’re better suited for the city. Whatever you do, we’re here to help you on your journey.