4 Things to Know About the Small-Town Lifestyle

No two people will have the same notion of an ideal life. For instance, you might have an individual who would like nothing better than to live in an apartment in New York City, surrounded by more than eight million other people. On the other hand, you may have someone who wants to live in rural Iowa, where their nearest neighbor is about half a mile away.

Let’s talk about what it’s like to live in a small town. Maybe you’ve never done it before, but you feel it might be for you. It could be that you’ve lived in a larger city all your life, and you think the time has come to make a change.

There are some things about living in a small town that you should take the time to consider before you move forward and commit to so drastic a change.

Everyone Knows Your Business

More than 206 million Americans live somewhere unincorporated. Since there are about 330 million people living in America, that means about two-thirds of the country lives somewhere rural. In other words, living “out in the country,” if you want to put it that way, is nowhere near as uncommon as you may think if you’ve lived in a city all your life.

Some people move to small towns or unincorporated areas because they want to give that kind of living a try. What’s more common is for a person to start their life somewhere, and then they never find a reason good enough to leave. Maybe they get into the family business because their parents and other relatives expect that of them.

Whether you live in the same small community your whole life or suddenly move there, you can be sure that the people around you will know all about you. Even if you move to a small community and try to keep to yourself, gossip about you should start making the rounds immediately.

If you don’t have any problem with that, then moving to a small town should not be an issue. That is very different from living in a big city, though. In a big city, you might never speak to your neighbors, and you have anonymity when you walk down the street. You should find that things are very different if you move to an unincorporated area.

There Are Limited Job Prospects

You should also know that limited job prospects exist in a small town, unlike what you’d find in a big city. In a big city, you might walk through a neighborhood and see a dozen different help wanted signs. Most of those will be for menial jobs like restaurant servers or dishwashers, but the fact remains that in larger cities, more work is readily available.

You are not likely to find that in smaller communities. Maybe you might find a single coffee shop in town looking to hire a barista, but that might be it.

If you live in a big city, and you move to a much smaller community, you should probably already have a job, or be independently wealthy, so you don’t need to look for employment. If you have a position where you can work remotely, this model might work. You might be able to work with an internet connection if you’re a freelance copywriter or editor, a graphic designer, a software designer, or something along those lines.    

There Are Limited Things to Do

You should understand that if you move to a small town, there’s probably not going to be much of anything to do if you want to go out on the weekends, or a weeknight, for that matter. In a town with a population of a few hundred people, the main street, if there is one, will probably look like a ghost town by sunset. There might be a bar or two open or a movie theater if you’re lucky.

You had better enjoy some streaming services like HBO Max or Netflix, or if you’re into gaming, that might take up your evenings. Failing that, you may want to get into a hobby that can take up a lot of your downtime. The reality is that there are usually very few activities to do in a small town, regardless of what time of the day or night it is.

There Are Limited Services

We spoke about how you might do okay in a small town if you work freelance or work full-time for a company, but you do so remotely. Many businesses allow that these days since the pandemic started. The only problem is that you need an internet connection, and that’s not always the easiest thing to get if you’re out in the middle of nowhere.

You can try to set up a hotspot, but even those don’t work sometimes if you’re out in the middle of Nebraska or South Dakota. In some parts of these states, rural really does mean rural. It can be very tough to get internet access, and without it, any kind of work you do can suffer. Even if you don’t need the internet to work, you might not be able to use it to send emails or use streaming services.

Aside from that, you might be miles from the nearest hospital if you fall and hurt yourself or have some other kind of medical emergency. If your house catches fire, it could be half an hour before the fire department can get to you.

These might not add up to enough reason for you to decide not to live in a small town. Maybe you’ll move to one on the smaller side, but still not as remote as some of the situations we’ve described.

If you genuinely want solitude, though, some conditions come with that, and we’ve talked about just a few of them in this article. Consider what we’ve mentioned before you commit to making a move to a much smaller, more remote community.


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Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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