Health

Three Great Reasons Why You Should Consider Moving to a Small Town

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More and more people are moving to cities and leaving rural areas behind. Consider:

  • Roughly 3 million people move to urban areas each week, the International Organization for Migration estimates.
  • The world's urban population is expected to rise to 6.4 billion by 2050, up from 3.9 billion today, according to the International Organization for Migration.
  • By 2050, 70 percent of people on planet Earth will be living in a city.

Much has been made of the benefits of urbanization, from increased innovation to energy efficiency.

But small towns offer their residents unique benefits: lower stress, a slower pace, and a more intimate sense of community.

Stowe, VT

Here are a few reasons small towns do it better:

1) Lower stress has positive health effects.

If you've ever felt like all the hustle and bustle of the city was driving you crazy, you could be onto something. Compared to the hectic nature of city life, a slower-paced existence can pay wonderful dividends for your mental health.

As a 2010 study conducted by Dutch researchers revealed, city-dwellers are 11 percent more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder and 39 percent more likely to suffer from a mood disorder than their rural counterparts. Schizophrenia is more common among urbanites, too.

Rural residents spend about an hour more outdoors every day, compared to urbanites, according to the National Institutes of Health. And city-dwellers respond to stressful situations with more activity in the amygdala — the part of the brain responsible for fear — compared to rural residents, according to a study conducted at the University of Heidelberg. (Those who lived in smaller towns fell somewhere in between.)

Beaufort, SC

2) It's easier to start a business.

It might seem like a big city is the perfect place to start a business, with all the potential customers right outside your door.

But businesses in smaller cities actually yield higher revenues. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the average revenue among the top 10 largest cities by population—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, and San Jose, California—is $1.4 million, But that metric is nearly three times higher—$4 million—in the top 10 small cities to start a business, the magazine reports.

Diner Sign

Many small towns are satellites of larger cities and business owners in satellite towns get to enjoy the resources of those large hubs—lots of customers, top-notch talent—without paying to be in the city itself.

Small towns also often enjoy the support of a tight-knit community. A local coffee shop in a small town, for example, will benefit from loyal patrons who look to local businesses as pillars of the community, not just a place to get a quick caffeine fix.

3) You'll get to know your neighbors.

If you're interested in getting to know your neighbors and making friends, you might find it easier in a small town.

Sure, there's less going on than in a bustling metropolis. But in a big city where everyone is on the go, it can be hard to make connections and develop community.

The anonymity of city life can actually make us lonelier, even when we're surrounded by millions of people. About 52 percent of Londoners consider themselves lonely, making the capital the loneliest place in the whole United Kingdom, a 2013 study by ComRes found.

Lockhart, TX

Country life comes with its own challenges. But small towns are a vital part of society.

Small town life offers a slower pace, closer relationships, improved mental health, and the opportunity to follow your dreams—whether they're starting a small business, mastering a craft, or just starting a family—with the support of the local community.

It's true, you probably can't order Chinese food at 3 in the morning. But, hey, maybe that's a habit worth breaking anyway?