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Is Living in the Country or Living in the City Better?

Spencer Holden,  Sr. Mortgage Advisor

September 26, 2022 — 7 min read

When you imagine your dream home, do you picture a rustic farm or a high-rise condo in a bustling metropolis? There are advantages to living in the country, such as a lower cost of living, and advantages to living in the city, like being closer to entertainment and job opportunities. If you're debating city life versus living in the country, or if you just want help figuring out how to choose where to live, use these facts to lay out options and take a confident next step.

Differences Between Living in the Country vs. Living in the City

The biggest difference between city life vs. country life is the environment. The environment you choose to live in will impact your lifestyle, day-to-day activities, and well-being. In general, cities are crowded, faster-paced, and more expensive, while rural living is more relaxed, less congested, and less expensive. There are also financial and political differences.
  • In general, people who live in the country are more likely to own their own home and vehicle, but they're less likely to own a retirement account, stocks or mutual funds, according to recent research.
  • Residents in smaller, rural communities tend to be more supportive of conservative values.
  • Rural communities have a harder time raising funds for education and ensuring internet access.
  • Country living has a greater appeal to people as they age; the majority of people 55 and older prefer to live in the country instead of the city.
  • Historically, the median total asset value is higher for those living in urban areas than for rural individuals.
  • Depending on size and location, it can cost more to live in a city, and there may not be a lot of inventory, so you may need to explore different financing options. For instance, you may want to learn about jumbo mortgages if you're thinking about buying your dream home in a major city.
The truth is, we all see the world through different lenses, and one option isn't necessarily better than the other. If you're trying to figure out how to choose where to live, think about these insights. How do or don't they fit into your desired lifestyle?

How to Choose Where to Live: Advantages of Living in the Country

From space for the dog to roam to acreage for the kids to play, the benefits of country living are well documented; in fact, from fresh air to a strong sense of community, evidence shows that living in the country is beneficial for your mental and physical health. Homes cost less, and so does most everything else The closer to a city, the more expensive the property. If you're living in the country, living expenses, like utilities and groceries, are cheaper, too. However, while you may receive a better deal on a house, you should compare savings to how much you'll have to spend commuting. More space and less pollution If you're living in the country, nature is at your doorstep. This means that you have an unlimited supply of fresh air and space for home projects. It also means that streets are emptier, stores are less crowded, and it's easier to find parking. Less noise, closer to nature In the city, there's traffic, construction, and the sound of your neighbor's television; in the country, you'll hear nature, including chirping birds, wildlife, or the whistle of the wind through trees. If you're wondering how to choose where to live, for most people, this is one of the biggest advantages of living in the country. Less crime, more privacy People living in the country are less likely to be a victim of a crime. Additionally, in the country, people are more likely to look out for each other, so you may feel safer letting your kids play outside, or just doing everyday activities. More access to organic food If you're looking for another advantage of living in the country, it's easier to find fresh fruits, eggs, vegetables, and meat directly from the sources. If you wanted to, you could produce them yourself. In the city, unprocessed foods are more difficult to find and expensive.
If you prefer to live near pastures instead of pavement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) mortgage program is one of the most cost-effective home buying programs available today.

How to Choose Where to Live: Advantages of Living in the City

Does the hustle and bustle of metro life sound more like you? Life in a metropolis isn't perfect, but there are advantages of living in the city, whether that's better education, accepting a new job, or starting a family. Job opportunities Cities attract many different companies, which means lots of career opportunities. This makes it easier to pursue work you're passionate about. Additionally, since there's a higher cost of living, employers may be willing to increase your salary. Opportunities to meet new people When you move to a new neighborhood, you'll meet new people, regardless of if you're living in the country or a city. However, if you're living in a city, you're more likely to meet people with life experiences than you, and you may enjoy seeing things from a fresh perspective. Culture and entertainment options If you're from a small town, chances are, you've done just about everything there is to do there. On the other hand, in a big city, it's impossible to experience everything, from the lively nightlife and food to shows, landmarks, sports games, and more. Public transportation There may not be many public transit options if you're living in the county. Public transit in major cities, however, makes getting from place to place easier and cheaper. From trains and buses to taxis and rideshares, you may even be able to live without a car. Lots of dining options--plus, you're close to the airport From mom-and-pop to fast food, if you're living in the city, you'll find a tasty cuisine option within miles of home. Additionally, if you have to fly a lot, living in the city makes it easier. Instead of asking for a ride, or springing for a taxi or rideshare, most cities have transit options with connecting routes to airports.

Living in the Suburbs: The Best of Both Worlds?

If you're having trouble deciding if living in the country or living in the city is for you, you may want to consider a third option: the suburbs. Not quite urban and not quite rural, the suburbs keep you closer to nature and provide more privacy than the city, but they're still close to restaurants and shopping options. However, you're not close enough to walk everywhere, so you'll definitely still need to have a car. Over the past couple of years, suburban communities have experienced rapid growth due to a global pandemic and an increase in remote job availability. In fact, between mid-2020 and mid-2021, more than half of the nation's 15 largest cities lost population, with residents moving away from high-density urban areas and into low-density areas, often nearby suburbs.

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you decide to live in the country or the city, you'll want to be pre-approved before taking the next step in your homebuying journey. Reach out to your neighborhood Mortgage Advisor today, or check out our blog for more helpful homebuying tips.
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