The city versus country living debate has raged on for years. City slickers claim that life can only be enjoyed in the hustle and bustle and noise of tens of thousands of people, while rural residents tout the benefits of open space, fresh air, and a sense of community. Ultimately, which is better comes down to personal preference. However, which one is better for you may be a little more complicated.
City dwellers tend to walk more
When rural people have to go to the grocery store or bank, it usually isn’t feasible to walk or bike there. City dwellers, on the other hand, are generally located within a few miles of their work and any restaurants and amenities they may want to visit. One study of over 8,000 Americans found that those living in the city are 6% less likely to be obese than those in the country. Rural Americans frequently have to drive further to reach their destination and are less likely to take off on foot.
Country residents have more access to “Vitamin G”
Vitamin G is a term referring to greenery such as trees, plants, and grass that surround those in rural locations. It is a well-known fact that plants and trees can help clean the air and increase oxygen levels, thereby increasing overall health and well being. This also helps prevent nasty smog and other forms of air pollution that contribute to respiratory diseases such as asthma.
City dwellers live longer
In a long-term study conducted between 1969 and 2009, researchers found that, in general, residents of a bustling city lived two years longer than those who call the open spaces of the country their home. The study uncovered that “Causes of death contributing most to the increasing rural-urban disparity and lower life expectancy in rural areas include heart disease, unintentional injuries, COPD, lung cancer, stroke, suicide, and diabetes.” This age gap could also be in part because those in nonmetropolitan areas have to travel further distances to reach medical care, while city dwellers are usually within a ten-minute drive or ambulance ride of the hospital.
Higher levels of health consciousness may also play an important role in the extended life expectancy of urban residents. They are often influenced by peer pressure to eat healthier, exercise more, and take better care of their bodies, while country people have less social influence towards health and may have less concern when it comes to making diet choices.
Country residents have fewer psychological problems
The city may actually be decreasing your mental stability. According to a compilation of research from ten studies, metropolitan residents may be more likely to develop environmental related mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Those that are born and raised within urban areas could be experiencing the adverse effects of constraints of the city and neighborhood social characteristics, according to the study. Rural residents also experience fewer cases of anxiety the more trees and open spaces surround them.
City dwellers usually have higher IQs
Those that are ambitious climbers of the social and economic ladder usually desire more than a quiet country life where they can greet all their neighbors by name. Because of this, these people flock to cities to discover likeminded intellectuals and equally suitable opportunities. This isn’t to say that those in rural areas are not as smart as corporate CEOs. However, one study showed that it might just be due to a need for stimulation and progression in the best and the brightest. Nonmetropolitan areas greet change and progress with suspicion, while those in upscale downtown apartments are always searching for the next best thing.
Country residents have a lower cost of living
This point is fairly obvious and may be the primary motivation for many people who migrate to a more relaxed lifestyle in the country. The cost of living in cities is continuing to skyrocket while salaries are not keeping pace. For instance, a gallon of milk costs an average of $4.53 in New York City, while the same gallon of milk may be $2.00 in a remote location. This is why many people flock to the suburbs, hoping for an economical compromise between metropolitan and rural living.
Remember, there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing either lifestyle. Both have their pros and cons, and the ultimate choice comes down to where you can find peace and fulfillment in your own life. If you do live in the city, be sure to savor the beautiful scenery of the natural world and escape to the boonies every once and a while to take a breath of clean, fresh air. If you find your home in the country, don’t be afraid to visit the roaring city every once and a while to remind you of the accomplishments and innovations of humanity.