Difference between life in a city & life in a town

Written by marie brown
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Difference between life in a city & life in a town
Consider your lifestyle preferences when choosing whether to live in a town or city. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

It is not uncommon for people from a small town to imagine leaving for big city excitement or for those from crowded cities to envision escaping to a peaceful, slower-paced town. In fact, the Wilson Quarterly article "The Second Coming of the American Small Town" by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Pater-Zyberk reports findings from a 1989 Gallup study regarding people's preferences: "34 per cent chose a small town. Only 21 per cent chose a suburb, 22 per cent a farm, and 19 per cent a city." While choices vary, examining some differences between city and town life could put preferences in perspective.

Friends and Neighbors

Appreciate that living in a smaller town with fewer people often means that most people are familiar with one another. Being able to maintain a tight sense of community and knowing when someone needs help can occur by word of mouth, through neighbours noticing the behaviour and whereabouts of others. Contrast this with city life, where people are often too busy rushing around to stop to say hi to neighbours, much less notice, help or develop close relationships with them.


Accept that small towns offer fewer places to shop, that stores will close at dusk and that prices will be slightly higher. Be thankful, however, because shop owners will remember your name and take the time to help you locate items. Compare this to the city, where mega and shopping malls are the norm; low paid workers come and go and self-service registers accept your payment, all without a single word shared between employees and customers.


Expect fewer entertainment options in a town. Changing your attitude about what constitutes fun is needed. Learning to enjoy unstructured time, such as taking a peaceful walk, sitting on the porch enjoying the fresh air and sharing the company of family or friends contributes to a sense of well-being. Stay in the city if you like racing around town, schedule book or phone in hand, trying to keep multiple appointments every day and being surrounded by people.


Find out where to locate the nearest doctor, optometrist, hospital, and even big chain grocery store. Planning to travel long distances to use services not available in your town is part of small town life. If you like knowing that the hospital is ten minutes away from your home, that you can have choices in doctors or dry cleaners, or that you can grab a cup of coffee and shop for groceries any day of the week or at night, living in the city is the best option.

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