City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (2023)

Thinking about switching up your city or country living choice? With our experiences living in both types of places and the backdrop of making smart money decisions to reach financial independence, we’re going to offer our personal take on city life vs country life.

It’s 2022 and the real estate market means making the right decision is more important than ever.

I dove deep into the living experience between both styles to uncover the benefits of each. So make sure to read this comparison until the end. You’ll be armed with the knowledge to decide which is best for you.

These are the 12 categories I evaluated to determine city life vs country life pros and cons:

  1. City Life vs Country Life
  2. From Country Life to City Life
    1. Defining City Life: Urban vs City
  3. City Life vs Country Life (Pros and Cons)
    1. 1) Walkability
    2. 2) Business
    3. 3) Education
    4. 4) Population
    5. 5) Career
    6. 6) Responsibility
    7. 7) Community
    8. 8) Environment
    9. 9) Services
    10. 10) Individuality
    11. 11) Transportation
    12. 12) Cost of Living
  4. Give City Life a Chance
  5. City or Country (Just Be Happy)

City Life vs Country Life

Top considerations comparing life in a more rural or urban setting.


  • And what that means in the context of services vs nature


  • Competition and the balance of change vs reliability


  • Access to schools, certifications, and learning opportunities


  • Density and its psychological effects


  • Advancement opportunities and specialization


  • What you have to worry about


  • The communal experience


  • The effects on the environment; air quality, sound pollution, etc.


  • Municipal services


  • Strength of your individual voice


  • Transit systems and access to transportation networks

Cost of Living

  • Average costs associated with living in the place

From Country Life to City Life

Before I get to the point-by-point comparison, I wanted to quickly give you a little background on our jump from country life to city life.

I also want to define what we mean by “city life” by comparing urban vs city.

Today’s realities have caused people to reconsider city living.

While Jenni grew up in Virginia, I’ve lived across the country.

My entire childhood was in traditional middle-class American suburbia; total ticky-tacky.

I didn’t have much of city life vs country life experiences as a kid to draw comparisons. That changed pretty quickly when I wound up in the hills of Appalachia for undergrad.

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (1)

The college had a student population smaller than the high school Jenni and I attended. I lived on campus for the first few years.

By the end of my sophomore year, I moved off campus into a small house a few miles away with three other friends.

That’s right, that made four of us, who divided a $600/month rent.

Add in the occasional romantic interest and a Saturday night would routinely have eight of us sleeping there. Cramped quarters for sure! There were countless nights of bonfires, outdoor parties, and work on cars in the grassy “driveway”.

I’ll never forget the first time my parents visited that place. Even as a pair of old hippies—I think they were mortified by the living conditions.

But, I had a blast!

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (2)

We had space to have a good time, and generally no one to bother you. It was a stark contrast to campus living or the suburbia I grew up in.

Jenni and I made the jump to our current city in 2013.

Defining City Life: Urban vs City

There’s a big difference between a dense city center with skyscrapers where everyone takes public transit and the urban life we lead. We don’t live in Tokyo, London, or NYC. Our city has an improving bus system, but aside from Amtrak, there’s no local train system.

We own an attached townhouse-style home. We have a little porch and back patio. There’s parking for Jenni and a garage for my toy. But, we don’t have a yard to speak of.

Within our neighborhood, yards are small enough that many people just turn them into rock gardens or brick them over for a larger patio. There’s a five-story apartment building every block or two.

It’s not “downtown”.

I’m not suggesting that a high-density downtown experience is better or worse. It’s different.

(Video) City Life VS Country Life | Which one is better? | Pros & Cons

There are key differences between downtown and urban city life as I see it:

  • While the roads have a low-speed limit here, traffic isn’t much of an issue
  • There are plenty of trees and greenery in the right-of-way or sidewalk medians—it’s very green
  • Parking can be a pain to find, but it’s typically free, and usually just on the street shoulder
  • Typical middle-class career workers can afford a multi-bedroom row house, townhouse, or condo
  • While lawns are very small, they’re big enough for many people to have lovely front and/or rear gardens—it’s not a concrete jungle
  • The air remains reasonably clean and breathable
  • While you routinely bump into people, sidewalks aren’t so packed that you’d have any trouble going for a jog
  • Noise isn’t so bad that you have trouble sleeping due to traffic, neighbors, or industry

Having access to your heart’s desire within a short distance is easily one of the greatest benefits of city life vs country life.

Whether you’re looking at the true urban core of a city or the outskirts of that urban core like where we are, you won’t have any trouble finding all the things you could possibly need.

Of course one of the biggest components of city life vs country life comparison is cost. While we can’t get quite the value for our money in terms of square footage and land as a suburban or rural person could, we think we’ve managed to keep our housing costs relatively low.

We bought our current place which has 1,250 square feet plus a 300 square foot finished attic for about $230,000 in 2013. That’s not something we could find two miles down the road in the heart of the city.

We’ll talk more about the cost of living between city life and country life in point twelve below.

City Life vs Country Life (Pros and Cons)

Alright, let’s get to the point-by-point comparison of city life vs country life!

I’m going to break this down into a dozen categories and compare points between both.

  1. Walkability
  2. Business
  3. Education
  4. Population
  5. Career
  6. Responsibility
  7. Community
  8. Environment
  9. Services
  10. Individuality
  11. Transportation
  12. Cost of Living

1) Walkability

With city life, all your needs can be just a short walk away.

We have access to an incredible diversity of entertainment, culture, and shopping within a half-mile walk of our place. A high walkability score (91 at the time of writing!) was a key component of our decision-making to live where we are.

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (3)

Within that 10-15 minute walk, we can find all sorts of ways to spend our money:

  • Arts museum with a huge free collection, award-winning restaurant and pub, rotating bi-annual international exhibits, educational opportunities for kids and adults, and a stunning sculpture garden
  • History museum sprawling Virginia’s long and storied past, keeping up with the dramatic changes our city is seeing, featuring bi-annual special exhibits and educational opportunities
  • A historic commercial area with:
    • Dozens of local sellers with everything from a dingy record shop to high-end fashion
    • Every personal service you could imagine: barber, salon, nails, dentist, doctor, vet, massage, physical therapy
    • A second-run movie theater with cheap films, showcases, and performances
  • Scattered around the neighborhood there are plenty of restaurants, fast food joints, coffee shops, bars—Yelp suggests there are about 40
  • Four major grocery stores—making it easy to save money on groceries
  • About half a dozen bodegas or small markets plus a couple of 7-11s
City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (4)

We also wanted to have easy access to public services in this same half-mile radius. Our city offers a wealth of community safety, education, and care services.

  • Fire Station
  • Community Center
  • Community Garden
  • Tennis Courts, Basketball Courts, Soccer Fields
  • K-12 Schools
  • Library

Of course, there are also plenty of specialty services, religious buildings, banks, urgent care, and random small businesses thrown in there, too. This is all within roughly a 10-15 minute half-mile walk!

Having access to a wide variety of public services, culture, education, and entertainment within a short distance has helped us take steps toward our financial freedom. We don’t have to closely evaluate the cost of transportation or the time it takes to get what we need or want.

We could quite reasonably—even happily—never drive a car and access everything we need within this small radius of our home.

Country life trades a lot of this walkability to services and entertainment for more direct access to nature. You can often walk right out your front door to acres of woodlands and quiet retreat.

What’s more important to you in the city life vs country life walkability equation? Nature or services?

City Life

  • Walking access to services
  • Transit service dependent

Country Life

  • More direct access to nature
  • Car dependent

2) Business

Business competition creates change and variety.

When Jenni and I go for a walk around our neighborhood, and especially through the historic shopping area I mentioned, we constantly see new places to visit. There’s significant competition for retail space so new businesses are popping up to replace ones that have gone under as trends or fashion change.

We’re not stuck with having only one plumber in town who you have to work with even if you don’t like them or they’re no good at their job.

There’s enough population density to support multiple people working in the same specialty that wind up competing with each other. That’s good for us as consumers as businesses innovate and bring the latest improvements to their niches quickly to market.

Meanwhile, country living often means less change and variety of businesses. But, this can be a positive. Stores often become anchors for the town, core to society and direct supports of the inhabitants.

The relationships between customers and businesses typically run deeper in country life as they tend to operate longer.

When making the city life vs country life comparison, what’s more important to you: reliability or variety in surrounding businesses?

City Life

  • Competition forces change
  • Business variety offers options

Country Life

  • Businesses integrate with the community
  • Lack of business options

3) Education

Within 5 miles of our place, there are three universities with 4-year programs. One is close enough that I frequently jog through the campus on my running route.

The universities keep fresh ideas coming into the city along with money. The university nearest us has rehabbed countless buildings downtown as their campus expands, reinvigorating blighted areas. They claim to have brought multiple billions of dollars of economic impact and nearly 50,000 jobs to the city. Aside from the macro benefits a large school brings, the university also funds or manages:

  • A theater with student performances of historic stories and new modern works at a low cost
  • Health and dental clinics that are partly operated by students still learning their specialties at a low cost
  • A massive contemporary art building with rotating student exhibits open to the public
  • Well-maintained green spaces and public squares
  • Sports centers for college athletic programs bring entertaining game days
City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (5)

Personally, I think one of my favorite benefits of living in an urban college town is simply that the population skews younger.

There’s a vibrancy and energy that college students bring.

It supports turnover and change. It stands as a contrast to the nature of Virginia, building upon centuries of American history with new interpretations of the past.

Of course, the opposite side of that is that things change frequently. Your favorite spot can get replaced pretty quickly!

Historical icons end up seen with a new lens that might just turn the tide against them.

The flip side of this is that education may be less consistent for those living the city life vs country life. School zoning may change from one year to the next as population changes or bus routes are altered.

Education for country dwellers tends to be more stable, predictable and personal. Parents are much more likely to have a direct relationship with the teachers when the community is smaller and they’re likely to run into each other outside of school.

City Life

  • Better access to higher education
  • More funding for high-cost educational opportunities

Country Life

  • Parents and teachers tend to have more direct relationships
  • Education is more consistent and predictable

4) Population

Are you OK with a lot of people?

Even though we happen to live in a city that has a large park system, we’d have to travel a good 30-45 minutes by car until we could reliably be in a wide-open space where we wouldn’t see or hear another human.

Working from home, one of my favorite mid-day breaks has been to go to our largest city park system. It’s a stunning wooded area along a body of water with different running, hikes, or bike routes.

While the park system has some 550 acres and 22 miles of primary trails, it’s still somehow right in the middle of the city.

(Video) City Life vs. Country Life | Pros, Cons & Q&A

Hiking along a densely wooded trail on a random Tuesday at 2 PM, I usually see a handful of people in passing. The din of the city is still audible: traffic and trains pass closer in certain areas.

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (6)

We’d have to get in a car to really escape to solitude.

If you love your peace and quiet, population density is probably a negative aspect for you when thinking about city life vs country life.

You should also consider how you feel about your interpersonal relationships. With higher population density, city life will offer you greater access to varied interpersonal relationships.

Country life is perhaps more supportive for those in stable interpersonal relationships and healthy family and friend connections.

City Life

  • High population density
  • More access to varied personal relationships

Country Life

  • Low population density
  • More dependent on existing relationships

5) Career

Having access to a wide variety of services and other experts nearby in an urban area means you should really consider embracing becoming a specialist.

While living out in the sticks means you have to know how to handle the basics of fixing everything that could go wrong, it’s really the opposite in the city. There’s someone else nearby who knows how to fix everything better than you could if you tried to be a generalist and do it all.

A jack of all trades, a master of none.

Find the masters

Living in the city lets you leverage all the masters around you. Of course, hiring them can cost a pretty penny.

If you don’t particularly like the activity and enjoy your work, why not “trade” your time in that way?

It’ll let you focus on your own strengths and advance in your career.

I can handle basic handyman activities. But when it came to replacing a second-story downspout, repairing the gutter connection, and installing gutter guards, I’d be in for a lot of learning and tool buying to do it myself.

I imagine that’d take me a few days of labor and traveling store-to-store to buy the appropriate hardware and tools. My work would presumably be a bit lower quality than that of a pro, too.

Instead, I hired the work out to a known contractor with good reviews. I came around to learn a bit about what he was doing and made an observation here and there to understand it, but generally stayed out of the way.

Instead, I worked on a few paying projects while he was out there doing the hard work.

After visiting to do an initial review and identify the materials he would need, he had the work done in an afternoon.

He had a pickup truck to haul off the old material—something my little sports car wouldn’t have liked—and all the other tools he needed to get the job done quickly.

Be free to do what you do best

Instead of multiple days of hard work on my part with a questionable outcome, I spent a day earning enough money to pay him for his work in the comfort of my own home doing what I specialize in.

That’s economically more efficient for both of us: we’re doing what we each do best!

By having access to educational opportunities to specialize and lots of people to network with, city life can help you quickly advance your career.

Country life is more likely to expose you, personally, to a wider variety of problems that’ll lead you to become a generalist. You need to be resourceful and able to solve things yourself.

6) Responsibility

As resources are more scarce in a city, they tend to be more costly. The effect is that we learn to live with less. We have a smaller house and less land than we could afford in the country.

But, the upshot is that we have less to worry about.

One full bathroom instead of multiple means having to caulk only one tub every couple of years (it’s humid here!). It means having to redesign and maintain fewer rooms. We don’t have a barn full of tools because we don’t have to maintain a big plot of land.

Less space means lower heating and cooling costs, too!

There’s no septic system to worry about. In fact, in our personal situation, we don’t even have a boiler or heating system to worry about. Hot water (which drives the radiant heat as well) is provided by the community we live in from a commercial-grade boiler.

Of course, we indirectly pay for that through high HOA fees. More on that in the next point.

City Life

  • Friendly to minimalism through shared resources
  • Smaller living footprint

Country Life

  • More to maintain with individual responsibility
  • Larger living footprint

Our HOA fee, a frequent source of questions in our monthly expense reports, is $350. It’s a lot of money, especially considering our actual mortgage payment is under $900.

HOAs are often a point of contention for folks that favor country life vs city life.

The HOA is handled by our neighborhood’s volunteer, owner-run association. It’s used to pay for utility and maintenance expenses as well as upkeep of common areas. That means we don’t have a separate fee for water, heating, landscaping, pest prevention, gutter cleaning, trash removal, and a few other maintenance tasks.

Our community just finished installing in-ground, connected LED lighting along all the footpaths to the homes. That was paid for by our monthly fees, built-up over time. A few years ago, an automated in-ground sprinkler system was installed.

We’re fortunate to get along well with our neighbors, but there’s a downside to these shared expenses that is exemplified throughout the urban environment. It’s the downside of a shared community.

The tragedy of the commons

Because our flat HOA fee covers our utility expenses for heating and water, there’s no financial incentive for us or our neighbors to efficiently use the related resources. I’ll share a related anecdote as to why this is a problem.

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (7)

Typically, I’m pretty quick to respond to maintenance issues that cause a rising long-term expense. Our main bathroom’s toilet started running a few times per day months ago. After a week or two, I finally remembered to order a new flapper, assuming that was the problem. I replaced it, but no dice. It still ran. It kept running for months, I’m sad to admit.

I don’t like to waste water (or at least the energy required to repump it). I certainly don’t want to waste money on the water bill itself, but, hey my neighbors all paid for the minor increase. There was no direct financial incentive for us to fix the problem. And I knew it’d be a pain to figure out what the problem was.

Eventually, I got off my butt and figured out that the flapper wasn’t making quite the perfect seal against the outlet pipe in the tank. I bought a two-dollar gasket that fits around the pipe, making a larger surface area for the flapper to seat against and…boom.


I’m certain I would have repaired this more quickly had I seen a rising water bill. And this is coming from someone acutely aware of and sensitive to cost increases! That’s the problem with shared costs where individual users can’t see their impact.

(Video) City life vs. country life

Incentivizing individuals

As another example, I know our attic is poorly insulated. But I’m assuming it’d cost thousands of dollars to have that insulation repaired, replaced, and improved. We’d reap a minor improvement from our cooling costs since we pay the electric bill directly, but the bulk of the improvement would be for heating. Our community pays the heating bill through our HOA fee.

Jenni and I aren’t incentivized to fix this insulation issue in an economically efficient way. Judging by how the snow melts off the roofs around our community in dramatically different ways, I’d guess we’re not the only ones with poor insulation.

I’ve talked with our HOA about simply having the community pay to improve the insulation for all the homes. I suggested we could just share the cost, too. Either way, it makes economic sense to do so as a whole community.

Naturally, at an individual level, people don’t want to end up paying to have this insulation installed for only certain homes though.

The inefficient insulation problem remains unsolved.

When you live in a rural home, totally dependent on yourself, and able to directly reap the benefits of your improvements, you’re more motivated to complete them.

The tragedy of the commons in action!

Divvying up resources

Of course, a similar problem occurs with loads of shared resources around a city. Infrastructure is underinvested in and funds are argued over.

  • Why should my taxes go to pay for your bike route when I drive a car?
  • Why should I have to pay for an increased property tax which mostly goes to schools when I have no kids?
  • The new building project should go to MY neighborhood for those sweet investment dollars!

We often don’t see the forest for the trees. We look at our individual situations and want what’s best for us rather than the community.

That’s pretty natural for a human.

But, it does create a problem in a city where we organize like a collective. Rural life is much more independent. The balance between collectivism and independence should be considered when you evaluate city life vs country life.

Ignoring the financial side, it’s even a problem at a moral level. It’s why there’s a “pick up after your pet” sign on nearly every block. People don’t think their individual actions matter (they generally don’t), but they sure do when enough people think they don’t.

Your dog couldn’t crap enough on 66 acres in Vermont for it ever to become a real problem.

Transient nature of a city

While Jenni and I don’t have much trouble making friends and keeping enough relationships to create a socially healthy atmosphere, cities, in general, are quite transient. They’re also packed with entertainment and things to do.

Our local connections change as people leave the city to settle more permanently as they age. Frequently, other couples wanting to have kids will move out of the city in search of more space and better (or at least, less expensive) schools.

Businesses grow and change hands, sending some connections off to new cities for new opportunities.

All the entertainment and things to do around the city mean that people’s schedules tend to be pretty full. Sometimes that makes it a little harder to set aside time for friends as we’re less dependent on each other for amusement.

Country life can build stronger bonds as interactions seem to be more necessary.

City Life

  • Transient communities
  • Suffers from “tragedy of the commons”
  • Friends tend to have busier schedules

Country Life

  • Stable community
  • More dependent on active leaders
  • Entertainment tends to be more dependent on personal interaction

8) Environment

It’s simply more resource-efficient for people to live in a city due to the distance between places people travel and their physical footprint. From a collectivist point of view, it’s way more resource-intensive to live in a rural area, all else being equal (spoiler: it’s often not—keep reading).

The primary drivers of your carbon footprint as an individual are energy usage and transportation. Both of these factors are driven higher by rural living.

You have to travel much larger distances to get routine tasks done like grocery shopping or visiting a doctor. That’s usually done with a car where, in urban environments, you can often walk, bike, or use public transportation.

Energy use

Dollar for dollar, you can buy more house in rural areas than in urban typically. That’s more to heat and cool, more energy used.

Speaking of heating: what about heating with firewood?

I can’t claim to be an expert here, and there seems to be some reasonable debate over this topic. On the one hand, if at an individual level, you were to replant all felled trees used for heating, and you transported those trees in a low carbon footprint way (i.e. they’re on your property), it’s reasonable to assume that the net emissions would be less than that of using natural gas.

However, this doesn’t account for one key component: where those emissions are going. If you’re heating with wood, those emissions are likely being output through a chimney from your home. The particulates are going to hang around locally, and as much improved as modern wood stoves have become, they’re far from perfect per the EPA.

I think there’s room to argue that transporting energy consumption and the resultant emissions from a city to the suburbs or rural areas where power plants are is a bit immoral, though.

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (8)

All else is not equal

I opened this section under the guise that rural resource consumption is higher than urban “all else being equal”. In practice, “all else” doesn’t tend to be equal.

Rural living tends to have more self-reliant, DIY folks. They also tend to follow trends less and have less disposable income. City dwellers, on the other hand, keep up with the latest and greatest while having more money to spend. That results in greater electronic and fashion waste.

While the robot version of humanity may be more environmentally efficient in cities, the real humanity somehow manages to outwit the inherent advantages to urban life all too often.

Owning large amounts of land

Ultimately, it’s infeasible for all 330 million Americans to live on 66 acres like the Frugalwoods. If the US average household size is 2.6 people, that’d require about 8.4 billion acres of land for each household to have 66 acres.

The total land area of the United States is 2.4 billion acres.

The numbers look even worse from a global perspective as the US has a below-average population density.

City Life

  • Theoretically more energy efficient
  • Trends reduce efficiency
  • Greater density results in less land use

9) Services

I can count on one hand how many times the power, water, or other utilities have been out since we’ve lived here.

As the city provides us with the means to heat our homes, power our gadgets, and keep us watered, we don’t have to worry about manually transporting or maintaining these fueling systems.

  • There’s no oil tank to refill, we have ready access to a gas line for cooking
  • Water is shuffled away via massive sewer and wastewater systems
  • Electricity is delivered directly via the city grid
  • City services pick up the trash and recycling for us, frequently

We could hook up a solar array to the grid if we wanted. We don’t have to worry about trips to the dump. There are even routine heavy materials and electronic waste removal days.

Biking infrastructure

As I mentioned before, we’ve got a great park system nearby that the city maintains. They’ve also been expanding the bike routes. We live on a bike route with great access (a Bike Score of 82 at the time of writing). It’s an easy ride around our neighborhood and about 2 miles along a residential route with sharrows to reach downtown.

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (9)

Bike routes run from downtown to other cities. We could make a trek a solid 55 miles on a single bike route, mostly separated from traffic, passing through different neighboring cities.

Telecommunication infrastructure

We have multiple high-speed internet providers to choose from. They compete with each other, which is one way we manage to get 100mbps for just $40/month. Our ISP even provides access to its mesh wireless network that blankets the city. Staying on WiFi makes it much easier to use cheap cell phone MNVO providers to keep my cell bill at under $4/month. It also means we can more easily take a laptop or tablet out on a walk and continue to have internet access for work or fun.

I like to play the occasional video game, and while I’d argue some video games are good for you, it’s mostly just to have fun these days. I play online with some old buddies and I’m sure glad I’m not trying to do that on a satellite dish internet connection or over a cell signal.

Speaking of connectivity, all the major cell providers have a presence here as they do in most urban environments. Using Google Voice to host our primary cell numbers, we can easily swap to different SIM cards as new promos come around and just forward our calls to the new SIM’s number. It makes it easy to try different technologies as they come about (like when LTE was becoming prevalent).

Infrastructure is typically a positive point for city life vs country life.

Having communication service options lets us be picky and competition yields improvement while keeping cost low.

City Life

  • Municipal electric, sewer, and trash services
  • Large transportation infrastructure
  • Modern telecommunications networks

Country Life

  • Flexibility to provide your own services
  • More car dependent
  • Slower telecommunications
(Video) CITY or COUNTRYSIDE advantages and disadvantages of living in the city #vocabulary #city

10) Individuality

As opposed to being a big fish in a pond, it’s hard to have much of an impact on a city. You become just a number, one of many members of the community. If you’re thinking about volunteering in the city, you’re not going to be the only one.

In fact, you may find there’s a volunteer list for the food pantry or shelter. There are loads of people already ahead of you wanting to help.

The flip side of this is that, when you can have a direct impact, it can be on a much larger population. You may not develop quite the same one-on-one relationship you would when starting a food pantry in a rural place with a low population, but you could be turning the tide of an entire neighborhood for generations.

If you’re happier about making quantitive change across an environment versus qualitative change for the individual, an urban environment may be the place to focus your energies.

For better or worse, city living will expose you to more problems in the world—expanding your circle of concern. It makes it harder to wrangle your circle of control as more concerns press in.

City Life

  • Easy to become lost as “just another number”
  • Possible to have an outsize effect on larger numbers of people

Country Life

  • Easier to have a personal impact
  • Personal experiences provide direct, noticeable results

11) Transportation

While I’ve worked remotely since 2012, Jenni has a commute. Since 2013, her commute has been 2.5 miles each way. That’s short enough, and mostly through residential neighborhoods, that she’s made the commute by bike many times.

The commute takes about the same amount of time by car as by bike.

Many friends and family commute an hour or more from the suburbs into the city. It’s always boggled my mind that people can become accustomed to, even accepting, of losing two or more hours of their day to commuting. Not to mention the tremendous financial cost of maintaining and replacing a vehicle to keep pace with that commute.

Of course, this issue is greatly reduced once that daily commute to work is gone. That alone can be a big motivation for financial independence, retire early (FIRE)!

City Life

  • Traffic
  • Potential alternative commute methods (bike, walk, transit)

Country Life

  • Long distances
  • Car dependent

12) Cost of Living

Of course, coming from a blog about retiring early and personal finance topics—cost of living is one of the most important differences between city life and country life.

The BLS, fortunately, keeps some great data about the cost of living between urban and rural areas.

This table reveals some key cost of living and income data for city vs country living. Data is from a 2015 analysis.

Pre-tax income ($)71,57849,841
Annual spending, total ($)57,05945,031

How does that break down into actual categorical spending?

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (10)

Whether city or country, you have to keep your cost of living under your control. By choosing to live below your means, you’ll keep your options open and further your financial security.

The city as your living room

I think an under-appreciated aspect of living in a city is just what you’re paying for. NYC gets a bad rep for its housing cost, but I think it’s reasonable to make an argument that they’re not paying $4k/month for just a 700-square-foot apartment.

They’re paying to be in that city.

You’ve got to love that city because what you’re buying is access to it.

I shared my experience with costly lifestyle creep in one of the most expensive metro areas of the US. You have to be very cognizant of what you’re paying for when you look into the high cost-of-living cities.

The local bar is where you get together to watch TV and chill out with friends.

The bodega is your pantry.

Your living room is the city.

You can’t be a homebody, otherwise, why not live somewhere else if you’re just going to stay inside anyway?

City Life

  • Small living space
  • The city becomes your living room

Country Life

  • Large square footage
  • Nature is your place for solace

Give City Life a Chance

Recently, Jenni and I have had multiple friends and family members move to the metro region of our city. It was all a bit of a coincidence, but it has been an opportunity to see how different folks approach making that jump.

Some went all-in from afar, deciding to purchase land from a distance after making a short visit and then building their own place. Others decided to rent a place within the metro area for a year, get a feel for the region, and then decided to buy a home. Still, others simply made their decision based on where existing friends lived and moved into the same community, mostly ignoring other aspects.

People take very different approaches to decide where to live and what’s important.

My strongest piece of advice would be to simply try-before-you-buy.

We’ve long thought about moving to different areas of the US and internationally, even as happy as we are with our current home. We’d do see by visiting for a few weeks first.

After that, we’d envision living there for a handful of months via a short-term rental to see what it’s like on a normal day-to-day basis once the novelty has worn off. Not until then would we consider making a permanent move and possibly purchasing real estate.

If you’re thinking about making the jump from rural to urban or the reverse, look into at least spending some significant time there.

You may think you know an area, but it could be pretty different at night or around certain holidays.

Look into a longer-term AirBNB rental and really get a feel for local life. Even if that’s more expensive on a daily basis, it’ll be a lot cheaper than turning your life upside down and realizing you’re not happy in your new home after moving.

City or Country (Just Be Happy)

City Life vs Country Life: Pros and Cons in 2022 (11)

Since leaving undergrad, aside from the exceptionally remote experience living in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps, I’ve mostly lived in pretty urban circumstances. Jenni and I are very happy about that. With both of us working, it’s made a lot of sense to have easy access to shopping and entertainment for when we have time available.

As Jenni has found the benefits of part-time work and I’ve reduced my work to a handful of hours per week, a new world of living possibilities is opening to us. As we continue the march into early retirement, we might just end up with a very different idea of home.

Whether country life or city life, don’t let comparison be the thief of joy in your life. Our goal is to be happy with where we are.

(Video) Excel 9. Module 3. City life, Country life

What’s your neighborhood like—more country life or city life?
What are some of the pros and cons you’ve noticed?


Is city life better than country life? ›

A life in the city could mean a life without a lot of nature. There is a lack of open space compared to the country and it's usually expensive to live in a building with patios or a roof. On top of this, cities are more polluted than the country so your air quality may not be the best.

What is better country life or town life Why? ›

Until recently, it was believed that isolation of rural living, lack of social networks and difficulties accessing amenities have a negative impact on the mental well-being of country folk, but the new study has confirmed that those people enjoy better physical and mental health than city-dwellers.

What is the difference between life in the city and life in the country? ›

One of the most notable differences between city life and country life is the environment. City life is an extremely different environment to the rural living countryside, and those moving from a big city can often find themselves a little culture-shocked to say the least, and vice versa.

Is country Life safer than city life? ›

"Injury mortality increased with increasing rurality," the scientists wrote. "Urban counties demonstrated the lowest death rates, significantly less than rural counties." The researchers found that the risk of death from injury was 1.22 times higher in the most rural counties, compared with the most urban ones.

Is moving to the country worth it? ›

Less stress, less crime, less traffic, more space, cleaner air, and cheaper living are all good reasons to move to the countryside. Yet, rural living is not for everyone – it poses plenty of challenges that may cause you to regret moving to the country, especially if you're not well prepared.

Which country life style is best? ›

  • Canada. #1 in Quality of Life. #1 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Denmark. #2 in Quality of Life. #12 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Sweden. #3 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Norway. #4 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Switzerland. #5 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Australia. #6 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Netherlands. #7 in Quality of Life. ...
  • Finland. #8 in Quality of Life.

What do you prefer living in the city or countryside? ›

In the city there are more jobs than in the countryside. In the cities are also more shops. For me, countryside is better than the city because there is calm and clean air. The access for food in the city is more easier , but in the countryside the food is more natural and healthy.

Which life is better rural or urban? ›

Features comparison Rural Vs Urban living
Clean, natural surroundings.More pollution and waste management issues compared to rural areas.
Introduction of new technology limited to the need in occupation and some personal use.Widespread adoption of technology in almost all walks of life.
3 more rows
30 Apr 2022

Is it better to grow up in the city or the country? ›

The better option would be a city with an excellent quality of life where children could play in parks and gardens. To sum up, growing up in the countryside can be very positive for someone's childhood, but the city will usually offer better opportunities for their talents' development.

What is the biggest difference between living in a city and the countryside? ›

In general, the life in the countryside is peaceful, calm and tranquil while the life in the city is fast-paced. Cities are overcrowded with people, vehicles and buildings whereas the countryside has a picturesque setting with greenery, farmlands, hills and forests.

Why the city is better than the country? ›

However, compared to rural areas, urban areas have more convenient public transportation, developed security systems, better medical centers, diverse entertainment, and high quality education and job opportunities. Clearly, living in the city is better than living in the countryside.

Why city life is the best? ›

There is so much more money in circulation in the cities than in the villages, which increases the prospects of prosperity. There are many career opportunities for both skilled and unskilled people. Also, the high population in cities is very attractive to businessmen and increases the chances of businesses succeeding.

What are good reasons to live in a city? ›

Good Things About Living In a Big City
  • Better Job Opportunities. ...
  • Mass Transportation System. ...
  • Meeting Several New People. ...
  • Vast Entertainment Options. ...
  • Top-of-the-line Shopping and Restaurants. ...
  • Best Medical Service Possible.
27 Jul 2020

Where should I live country or city? ›

Cities and towns generally have more choice when it comes to restaurants, bars, theatres and cinemas, meaning far more options for those fun nights out with family and friends. And if you are into something a little more niche, there's a better chance of finding like-minded people in a city than a rural area.

Is living in a city unhealthy? ›

The detrimental effects of urban living on physical health have long been recognised, including higher rates of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. More recent, however, is the revelation that urban living can also have adverse effects on mental health.

What are the biggest problems with living in cities? ›

Poor air and water quality, insufficient water availability, waste-disposal problems, and high energy consumption are exacerbated by the increasing population density and demands of urban environments. Strong city planning will be essential in managing these and other difficulties as the world's urban areas swell.

What country is the best for an American to move to? ›

Canada has the highest overall quality of living in the Americas. Their top cities of Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary often rank high as some of the most livable cities in the world. They have a stable social health care system, good education, and some of the most beautiful nature in the world.

Whats the easiest country to move to from us? ›

Here are the 9 easiest countries that you can move to from the United States:
  • Svalbard.
  • Mexico.
  • Portugal.
  • Ecuador.
  • Malta.
  • Spain.
  • South Korea.
  • Australia.

What to consider before moving to the country? ›

9 Things to Consider Before Moving to the Country
  • Income. Income is one of the major considerations in deciding to move. ...
  • Commute. When you move to the country will you stay at your current job? ...
  • Availability of Utilities. ...
  • Availability of Services. ...
  • Transportation. ...
  • Weather. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Neighbors.

Is country life cheaper than city life? ›

It's cheaper

A study looking at the cost of living for urban and rural areas in Pennsylvania found that those in the country paid less for everything from groceries to health care to transportation, with the greatest price differentiation having to do with housing costs (12.7% less in rural areas than urban areas).

Which is No 1 country in world? ›

United States. The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world's most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television.

Are people happier in the countryside? ›

In line with earlier research, we found that urban populations are, on average, happier than rural populations in that they return higher levels of happiness.

Why do people prefer living in the countryside? ›

Unlike cities, where people live in congested areas with housing limited to apartments, the countryside offers us much more space within which to work, live and play. Peace & Solitude. The dense urban landscape is overpopulated. In the countryside, one can live like a hermit if one so wishes.

What are 5 advantages of living in a rural area? ›

The case for rural living
  • Lower upfront costs for a more luxurious home. ...
  • Reduced cost of living. ...
  • Space to live and enhance wellbeing. ...
  • A stronger sense of local community. ...
  • A more relaxed pace of life. ...
  • Better professional opportunities. ...
  • Easier and cheaper to move around. ...
  • Access to a large variety of amenities.
15 Jan 2019

Is rural or urban safer? ›

Conclusion: Using total injury death rate as an overall safety metric, US urban counties were safer than their rural counterparts, and injury death risk increased steadily as counties became more rural.

Is urban safer than rural? ›

More Crime: Big cities tend to have much higher crime rates than small, rural towns. The type and amount of crime vary greatly from city to city, but with more people, there is more potential for both minor and violent offenses.

What is the disadvantages of city life? ›

The problems can be common such as high pollution level, traffic congestions, high cost of living, crime rates or exceptionally high real estate prices etc. Each city has it's own set of benefits but disadvantages as well.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of country life? ›

Living in the countryside has a lot of advantages, but also many disadvantages. As the advantage we can consider the fact that the country is less polluted and the traffic isn't so heavy. You are fit and you don't need to worry about your health condition, because in the countryside the air and water are so clean.

What are advantages of country life? ›

Lower stress

All of these benefits to living in a rural community lead to one thing: less stress! Studies show that those who live a rural area are less stressed due to the close proximity to nature, reduced noise, cheaper cost of living, cleaner air and more room to breathe.

What are 5 negative effects of urbanization? ›

Negative effects of urbanisation:
  • Population increase causes housing problems.
  • Overcrowding.
  • Unemployment.
  • Development of Slums.
  • Water and Sanitation Problems.
  • Poor Health and Spread of Diseases.
  • Traffic Congestion.
  • Urban Crime.

What are 4 urban problems? ›

Major issues and problems confronting US cities today include those involving fiscal difficulties, crowding, housing, traffic, pollution, public education, and crime. Several of these problems stem directly from the fact that cities involve large numbers of people living in a relatively small amount of space.

What are 5 positive effects of urbanization? ›

Accessibility to the Internet, better healthcare, education, recreational activities, social services, and more all improve livability. Additionally, modern cities have the potential to better plan their city for sustainability and boost their economy.

Why is it healthier to be on the countryside than in the city? ›

Rural residents are less likely to have employer-provided health care coverage or prescription drug coverage, and the rural poor are less likely to be covered by Medicaid benefits than their urban counterparts. Two thirds of the deaths attributed to car accidents occur on rural roads.

Is it better to grow up in the city or the countryside? ›

The better option would be a city with an excellent quality of life where children could play in parks and gardens. To sum up, growing up in the countryside can be very positive for someone's childhood, but the city will usually offer better opportunities for their talents' development.

Why is city life the best? ›

There is so much more money in circulation in the cities than in the villages, which increases the prospects of prosperity. There are many career opportunities for both skilled and unskilled people. Also, the high population in cities is very attractive to businessmen and increases the chances of businesses succeeding.

Why city living is the best? ›

Close to Amenities and Public Transport

Urban living means living within walking distance of shops, schools, work, recreational and cultural facilities and public transport. And all this walking instead of driving means inner-city dwellers tend to be healthier and more active.

Is country life cheaper than city life? ›

It's cheaper

A study looking at the cost of living for urban and rural areas in Pennsylvania found that those in the country paid less for everything from groceries to health care to transportation, with the greatest price differentiation having to do with housing costs (12.7% less in rural areas than urban areas).

Why country side is better than city? ›

That feeling of community can be hugely beneficial when it comes to settling in quickly. As we outlined above, city life is busy, hectic and can be stressful. Rural neighbourhoods are generally safer, with lower crime rates, as well as experiencing fewer problems with traffic and fewer people on public transport.

Are people happier in the countryside? ›

In line with earlier research, we found that urban populations are, on average, happier than rural populations in that they return higher levels of happiness.

Why is it better to live in the country side? ›

Not only are rural areas quieter and picturesque, but they're also known for being safe, with less crime, pollution and traffic. This makes them particularly suited to older people, parents raising families, or simply those who want to live a more secure and relaxed life, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.

Is city life stressful? ›

Most people understand that city life can be stressful: Research has shown urban living has a significant impact on mental health. One Dutch study found that those living in cities were 21 percent more likely to experience an anxiety disorder, and carried a 39 percent increased risk of mood disorders.

Is city living healthy? ›

Can living in a densely populated urban centre make you healthier and happier? Yes, according to a study that found that city dwellers have lower rates of obesity and socialize more than people who live in the suburbs.

Does living in a city make you happier? ›

Think back to a time before cities were ravaged by Covid-19: Were city-dwellers happier than country-folk? The answer is a resounding yes. The scientists calculated the happiness average for the worldwide urban population to be 5.48, compared to 5.07 for the worldwide rural population.

What are the problems you face if you are living in city? ›

Major issues and problems confronting US cities today include those involving fiscal difficulties, crowding, housing, traffic, pollution, public education, and crime. Several of these problems stem directly from the fact that cities involve large numbers of people living in a relatively small amount of space.

What are some disadvantages of living in a city? ›

  • Busy towns or cities can feel crowded and may mean you feel more stress or pressure. ...
  • Urban areas tend to be more expensive to live in. ...
  • Houses are more compact in urban areas. ...
  • There are often fewer green spaces in a town or city.

What is the cheapest but nicest country to live in? ›

10 best and cheapest countries to live in
  1. Vietnam. For those wanting to live and work in an exotic place, but not pay a fortune, Vietnam is any budget travelers dream. ...
  2. Costa Rica. ...
  3. Bulgaria. ...
  4. Mexico. ...
  5. South Africa. ...
  6. China. ...
  7. South Korea. ...
  8. Thailand.
15 Mar 2022

What is the most cost effective place to live? ›

Here are the top 10 most affordable cities to live in the U.S., according to the Council for Community and Economic Research's Cost of Living report.
  • Cedar Park, Texas.
  • Midland, Texas.
  • Ogden, Utah.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Provo, Utah.
  • Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Austin, Texas.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota.
28 Jul 2021


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