Rural Versus Urban: Why Rural Areas are the New Manhattan may earn commission when you buy something through the links or banners on this page.

Townhouses and condos are a history. The wealthier 1% of America is deciding more and more to move away from urban areas and relocate to small rural communities.

More than that, the statistics are showing that people living in rural communities tend to be happier, healthier, live longer and even the level of education is said to be higher. Is it all just a hype or is there truth behind rural living trumping urban areas?

What does rural living mean?

Rural, by definition, means being related to country so the simplest answer to what rural living really means is “to live in the countryside”.

There's actually a little more than that to understanding what rural living is really about as we can define “country” differently. For an area to qualify as a rural area, there has to be a certain population density – that is the factor that helps to define whether an area is on the urban or rural side.

In Canada for example, rural areas are considered to be communities with a population density lower than 150 people per square kilometer.

In the US, it's a little more complex. The Census Bureau has defined certain areas as urban communities and everything that doesn't fall under the urban areas is considered to be rural areas. The most accurate definition is that rural areas have less than 2500 residents and the population density should be lower than 999 people per square mile.

There are actually quite a few purely urban or purely rural areas and the definitions can be quite complicated. Missouri Census Data Center explains a few important points about Missouri in particular but those pointers might apply to other states as well.

Advantages of rural life

There are more than a couple of reasons why people are considering more and more moving to rural areas. More peaceful, safe and away from the “big city” glam – here are some of the reasons why people love rural areas continuously more.

Forget stress!

If you are currently living in a bigger city, you probably cannot imagine life without traffic jams, long lines at the stores and the busy-busy-busy lifestyles people have there. Most rural communities don't have to face these problems at all, hence you will likely experience far less stress.

The serene nature around you is another contributing factor. How can you be mad if you have so much beauty around you? No brick walls and engine vapors. Fresh air, greenery or even mountains and rivers – complete serenity! When in the city your only chance to get some peace and quiet is to join a yoga class, in rural areas you can forget about that because you will have complete peace around you at all times.

This, together with simply having space, are the main reasons why many wealthier business people and prominent families live in the countryside. The busy tempo can get crushing, therefore it makes sense to move to a peaceful area where they can just concentrate on their work and family – no distractions and bothering factors.

Strong community

This is a rather personal choice as there are some who prefer to stay “anonymous” in the big city, yet there are those who love being surrounded by familiar friendly faces and having the support of the community. As there are so few people around you, it's easier to make connections. Though you can always hide away in your home and stay away from others, it might be preferred by some to be connected to townspeople. The connections made will often be long-lasting strong friendships.

Another benefit that comes from the small community is the support it provides for children. If you have ever seen Gilmore Girls, you can imagine that. Smaller classrooms and strong relationships between classmates can contribute tremendously for child's growth as well as help to provide better education as children are living safer lives and can concentrate better on their studies.

As teachers don't have to deal with so many students at the same time, they can also put more efforts into supporting every child.

Rural areas are safer than the cities

The fewer people, the fewer problems – this is a sentence that can sound cruel but applies to rural areas. As there are fewer people living in the community and people mostly know each other, the crime rates are significantly lower than in big urban areas.

There is a lot more trust between people and the likelihood of getting ripped off or be a victim of other crimes is a lot lower.

Disadvantages of rural life

Living in the countryside is not for everyone and in the end, it is a very personal preference. There are some disadvantages to living in these areas, such as:

  • Lack of employment opportunities;
  • The quality of certain services might not be as good as in urban areas (transportation, telecommunication, health, etc);
  • Everything moves a little slower so you might be stuck if you want to get things done quickly;
  • Cutting-edge technologies reach rural areas far later.

However, these are things you can overcome easily, especially if you have enough finances to ensure you can live comfortably. Over the past years, the quality of local services has been improved immensely and in many areas, it doesn't even make a difference whether you live in a city or not as services like electricity and telecom have improved.

Final verdict of the rural vs urban battle

The grass is greener on the other side. Well, in this case, this might well be true. Though rural living is not for everyone, it is certainly a better choice for those who are looking for serenity. As previously mentioned, if you have enough funds, it is not a problem to build up your life in a rural community.

If you are sick and tired of the constant hassle of urban life and would like to take some time for yourself and your family, there's no better way. Perks like safety, strong community and beautiful nature top any problems you might have.

Moving to a rural community – how to get started?

If you are looking to ditch the city life for good and you are on board with everything the rural communities have to offer, then the first step on the way is to choose a suitable area.

Before deciding the location, visit the regions, talk to locals, get to know the community a little better – you need to take into account that those people would be your new neighbors. Here are some crucial tips for any city folks who are looking to make the big move:

  • Understand the local weather – you wouldn't like to end up in a dry climate if that's not your preference nor move to a colder region without even realizing what obstacles it might bring.
  • Ask about water – how deep is the water, where is it located, what are the restrictions. Though it seems like such a trivial question, it's one of the biggest obstacles you could face.
  • Don't move to a region that has opposite political views – as you can imagine, it would bring up a lot of fuzz.
  • Be patient – building up your life in the countryside is not as easy as moving to an apartment building. Be prepared to face some unexpected challenges and take it all step by step – don't rush into things.
  • You have to be willing to let go of some of the services – if Starbucks is your go-to place right now, you might be moving into a region without such services. On the other hand, they have a lot more to offer!

Have you made this move and ended up finding your “place under the sun”? Let us know of your experiences with moving from urban to rural!

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