Many people are deciding between city living or country living, but not many know what they’re getting into when they make this decision. So if you are on the fence about which is better, don’t worry. I’ve done ample of both and will share it all with you.
This blog post will talk about the good and bad of city life and country life to help you decide which is best for you!
Table of Contents
What is Country living?
When we refer to country life, we mean living outside of a major city. Living in the country can take on two different forms: the first is a rural setting, and the second is in an area with sparsely spaced houses.
When we talk about country life, we mean rural places or have less than 5000 people. Rural areas can be towns of all sizes, while small towns usually only offer a couple of thousand people in total population.
When referring to living in the country in this article, we will be referring to a more populated area rather than a secluded one.
Advantages of living in the country
Sense of Community:
One of the biggest country life pros is that you have a sense of community. You are close to all the people who live near you and will often know their names because they’re always around. You will also get to know these people through community events and outings in the area.
There are also more like-minded people in your area. But, again, this is because there are fewer people around, which bolsters a stronger community feel.
For example, when building our dream home, we had met everyone on our road within days. Because everyone out here had chosen country over urban life, there was a strong connection to the neighborhood and to make it something special. This led to many fun nights, making new friends, and enjoying the outdoor space.
When we lived in the “big city,” we never met any of our neighbors and found that people kept to themselves.
The culture of country life also involves interactions with other people on a more personal level rather than just seeing them throughout the day at work.
Another thing about rural living is that it has beautiful scenery. Not only does the natural beauty make for great photos, but there’s also less pollution than in the city. If the area outside of where you live has mountains or rolling hills, you can get to these areas quicker and enjoy nature and all its offerings as opposed to being in the city and needing to drive an hour or more to get there.
In a country setting, you have more privacy. There are fewer people around, and it’s easier to find places that feel secluded. Plus, your closest neighbor is usually no more than a few miles away or a city block, depending on your living situation.
Country homes are often much smaller and have less space to live in, but they’re very affordable for their size as well as energy-efficient.
There are also fewer houses to choose from, so if you want to live in a certain area and there is only a small house on the market, then that is what you are buying.
This housing trend is changing. If your thoughts of rural life lead you to think of “Little House on the Prairie” reruns think again. There are some neighborhoods in the country that have larger houses and even mansions. Plus, when you build in the country, you have a larger lot (usually an acre or more), and that can lead to more house and space.
Housing costs in rural areas are usually cheaper than the city counterparts. This is what appealed to us initially to move out to the country. However, we wanted to build, and we could get 10 times the size of a lot for a third of the price.
Another reason for the lower housing costs is that there are fewer people to buy houses. In the city, you’re competing with a lot of other people for limited housing options. So more buyers mean prices go up.
In contrast, the downside of this is that in order to get something you really want and need, sometimes it may take some time. There is also the issue of having a well, and getting to know your septic tank system.
Plus, it can take a long time to sell your house when you decide you want to move. When houses are selling in days in the city, homes in rural settings can take up to a year or more to sell when the time comes.
One of the best parts of country life is that people are more community-oriented than city dwellers. I’ve found that people in rural areas are much more community-focused than the urban areas we lived in previously.
They spend time together outside of work or school, and it’s more commonplace to know the people in your community. Spontaneous conversations happen with strangers, and there is more of an openness to the people around you.
City living can be very polluted due to all the transportation issues in a large metro area. Whereas living in the country, we love the fresh rural air and all of the outdoor space.
One of the best qualities of living in the country is the air quality. There’s less pollution in the air, and you can taste the difference when you breathe in the fresh air.
Funny story, the first night sleeping in the country it was so quiet I couldn’t sleep! Honestly, you won’t believe how quiet it is in a rural area until you try it.
At first, the quiet was hard to get used to, but after the first night, we appreciated it and enjoyed being able to sleep in on a Saturday morning.
Lastly, one more reason why people might choose a country life over city life is that there’s less noise, people have more freedom to do what they want and need without the stress of urban areas.
Life in the country is a much slower pace of life. Everything feels quieter, with fewer cars zooming by. It has an entirely different atmosphere than city living. Honestly, it’s a great way to unwind and de-stress.
Another major difference between a rural setting and an urban one is that, in most cases, your commute time will be much shorter. For example, if you live close enough to where you work, you can cut your commute time down to just a few minutes each way.
We often think of city living as being healthier than country life because of the abundance of fresh produce and organic food in stores and restaurants. And while this is true for many people who live in urban areas–especially those with access to public transport–it’s not always true for those who live in the country.
The city is a much easier place to eat healthy because you have access to so many more food options than if you lived in the country. It might be difficult to find anything other than fast-food chains or convenience stores with limited fresh produce and organic products.
However, you can grow your own food in the country and in large quantities. Several of our neighbors have gardens the size of a city lot. This is a great way to lower food costs, and there is nothing quite like freshly grown herbs and vegetables.
In rural areas, it’s more likely you’ll find traditions and cultures still alive. These beliefs and values can be passed down from generation to generation. For example, in some small towns, people still go to church every Sunday. There are active farmers’ markets every weekend during the fall and summer. Plus, there are still a lot of family-owned businesses that have been run for generations.
The crime rates in city areas are higher than in rural areas. Lower crime rates are more prevalent in the country because of the population density.
Hiking trails, forests
Another thing that makes living in the country so nice is access to hiking trails and forests. Living in the city, you don’t typically have that opportunity. Sure, there are parks and bike paths (not to mention everything you need is within walking distance), but if you like hiking trails through rolling hills or mountains, the country has far more options.
Drawbacks of Country Life
Country life vs. city life sounds pretty good at this point, but it’s not all fresh air and finding like-minded people. There are plenty of drawbacks of living in the country that you should be aware of.
Lack of Employment Opportunities:
One disadvantage to living in the countryside is that you may have fewer opportunities for career growth. This is because there are fewer jobs available, and they can be more difficult to find.
Another type of limited opportunity is a lack of day camps and child care. Your options in the country are only what is in the immediate area.
If you have teenagers trying to find jobs you will be doing a lot of driving until they get their license.
Another drawback to living out here is access to good shopping options. You’ll have less of a selection when it comes time for food, clothes, or other things you may need. Still, with everything that has happened in the past two years, online shopping is reaching everywhere.
One big drawback is that you don’t get city shipping rates such as Amazon Prime two-day shipping. Instead, you’ll have to pay more and wait longer for packages.
Because you are out of a major city, getting things can be harder. Things get delivered every few days, whereas in the city it’s often daily or faster. If you want to go shopping or do anything else, chances are most places that would have what you’re looking for will be in the city. You won’t find much of it outside of city limits.
Lengthier Repair Times
Another thing is that repairs can take longer. It isn’t easy to find a good mechanic or store in the country until you start to chat with the locals. For example, our washing machine is in week 4 of disrepair while we wait for the local shop to get our part in. Since it’s the only person in town who repairs them, we are stuck patiently waiting for our part to come in. Hence the repair and maintenance section on Millennial Homeowner.
Rural housing prices are usually lower, but they are lower because there are fewer people to buy them.
If there is nothing to your liking, then the only other option is buying land and building, which can take a year or more depending on your builder and what their timeline is like.
No Public Transport
You’ll need a car for everything. When you live in the country, your car is a necessity. You’ll need it for everything from grocery shopping to going out at night. This can also mean more wear and tear on your vehicles which can offset the money you save on housing. I won’t get into gravel driveways and roads and the stone chip damage that happens all the time.
No coffee shops
As someone who does remote work, it would be nice to go in and work at a coffee shop once in a while. Unfortunately, in the country, that isn’t a choice. So while I save money on coffee every day (or at least I did until I bought a Keurig), I miss working in coffee shops, and the people abound that the city offers.
Lack of Online Access
Internet access is a big deal these days, with so many of us switching to remote work. However, online access outside of big cities can be a challenge. As I write this, our internet provider has had issues for the past several months, and there is no end in sight. Luckily with the advent of Starlink (I’m on the list and praying for it at this point) and other internet technologies, things are improving.
Hard to find your tribe
In the city, there are more people, so you are more apt to find like-minded people, out in the country there are fewer people, so it’s likely there are fewer people with your interest. People living in the country do so for many reasons, money, peaceful settings, and the great outdoors, but if you are a blogger who loves all things online, you may struggle to find people like you in the area.
Defining City Living
When we talk about city living, we mean areas with at least 50,000 people.
Advantages of living in the city
For many people, living in a city is more affordable than country life. There are also more housing options available to you than you would find in a rural one. Plus, you’ll have access to all sorts of entertainment that you may not be able to find elsewhere as well as education and job opportunities.
As city dwellers, it’s easier to find employment in the city due to the sheer number of businesses and types of jobs available. Plus, you’re more likely to have job opportunities that are closer to where you live.
Reaching your goals is much easier with access to things like education, entertainment, resources for starting a business, and of course, other people! It can be a great place for entrepreneurs. Plus, there are options for businesses that are a little more niche than what you would be able to do in a country setting.
Living in the city means there are more ways to get around and get things to you. Likewise, transportation in the city means more options such as public transit, biking, and walking. Not to mention Uber and Lyft.
Another huge win for most of us living in the city is the available amenities. Things like restaurants, shops, and grocery stores are plentiful and always nearby.
There are more amenities available for city residents, and you’ll have access to things like libraries, grocery stores, restaurants, and specialty shops. Plus, things like food deliveries, ride-sharing, and easier access to public transportation make it easier not to own a car.
You’re close to everything.
The city is better for some people because it’s easy to get around without a car or worry about your children walking home from school on their own. In addition, you’ll be near restaurants, shops, and entertainment that you may not be able to find in a rural area.
Disadvantages of Urban Life
Having lived in a major city for the majority of my life, I know that there are a few drawbacks to city living. Here are some of the main drawbacks of city life.
Higher Housing Prices
The cost of housing in a city is higher than in a rural area because there is more demand. Plus, when there is a housing spike, look out; everything becomes less affordable. Also there are more city services that you have to pay for with a city house.
Lack of Privacy
One thing about living in the city is that you have less privacy. Your backyard is usually your escape, but it’s still visible by several neighbors, and while you can blend in, there aren’t as many opportunities to find a quiet place alone. If you are the kind of person who likes to be away from prying eyes, this can be a major con to city life.
The limited living space means you may have to live closer together or pay more for your home, especially in crazy housing markets. If you live in a small space, or rent share, it can feel crowded. However, the price is usually better – sometimes cheaper than living in an apartment.
Lack of Nature
While most cities have designated green spaces, as a whole, there is a lack of nature in cities. The reason for the lack of nature in cities is because it’s either been paved over or space is now being used for residential buildings, malls, and other necessities.
If you want nature, you will need to get out of the city, which makes a country property more appealing.
In the city, you may not have access to parks like in a country setting. You might also find that some of your favorite outdoor activities are unavailable as well due to there being scheduled events on the fields for organized sports. Whereas in the country there is more space which means more places to play.
Rush hour can be a pain, and if you work 9 to 5 workdays, you will be stuck in traffic for several hours a week.
Most people who live in a city have experienced some form of pollution. So there’s an increased risk for health problems like asthma from living near factories or other types of pollutants that can’t always be seen. Though studies show that suburbs have love life spans, so who knows.
Higher Crime Rate
Cities have higher crime rates than the country. More people means more opportunities for everything, including crime. It is a lot easier for someone to break into your car or steal something off of you in the city we have found.
In general, city life is more expensive. This includes housing costs as well as food prices. Other reasons why city living is more expensive are because of the increased cost of transportation and access to goods. The other reason is that when you have access to more things to do, you tend to go out and enjoy those things more. When you are in the country, you are further away from these things and tend to do them less.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Country Vs. City Life
Living in the country generally means you’ll have a better sense of community, less pollution, and more privacy.
Living in the city can be cheaper than living in rural areas, but they come with their own set of disadvantages- increased crime rates, higher levels of pollution, and expensive prices on everything. Personally I found that city life was more expensive than country life.
Finding the perfect balance between city life vs. country is a challenge. If you like the idea of more space but don’t want a long commute, search for places just outside the city limits. There are plenty of bedroom communities that offer more choices than just purely city vs. country life. These offer a nice hybrid living situation to the two we’ve discussed.
Which is cheaper, city vs. country life?
Having lived in both settings for a decade or more (I’ve also lived in small towns and abroad), I can say that there is a lower cost to country living, but only if you don’t commute.
If you find that you have to drive into an urban area every day, then the savings from moving out of the city will be offset by transportation costs. This can also have an effect on your carbon footprint, which is becoming more and more of a thing these days.
What are you thinking about living in? Do the benefits of city life outweigh the disadvantages or is country life more your style? Give it some thought and make a decision, but either way, you’ll be happy!