Differences of Urban and Rural Lifestyles

Written by joel le blanc
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  • Introduction

    Differences of Urban and Rural Lifestyles

    When deciding where to live and what sort of lifestyle is right for you, there are a lot of factors to consider, such as employment, social interaction and health. Urban and rural lifestyles vary in incredible ways and individuals must make a choice between the two based on what they know about themselves and what sort of lifestyle they enjoy.

    Whether living in the country, a small town or a city, people need to make a decision that suits their personality. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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    Activities and leisure activities vary greatly depending on whether you live in an urban or a rural setting. When living in rural communities, depending on what country you are in, there is a much greater variety of outdoor activities that connect with nature, such as walking, hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking, forests, vineyards and gardening. By contrast, urban centres provide a more diverse range of businesses, entertainment and culture, such as museums, art galleries, cinemas, cafe's, restaurants, night clubs and retail shopping.

    Nature and the outdoors is much more accesible from rural areas. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

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    The complex demands of living in an urban environment places increased stress on individuals and impacts their emotional well-being. Many people find themselves experiencing loneliness and isolation in large cities, which research is showing us can lead to mental health problems. In a study published in "The British Journal of Psychiatry" in 2004, Dr. Kristina Sundquit and colleagues discovered that men and women living in urban centres experienced higher rates of depression and psychosis than their urban counterparts. The most important factors that made city-dwellers susceptible to depression was living alone, immigrant status and level of education. Social networks, community support and having local friends make rural living a better choice for supporting stress levels.

    Feelings of isolation can affect mental health. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

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    There is evidence to show that people who live in rural settings, compared to their urban counterparts, are healthier and experience better quality of life. In a large scale study published in "The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health" in 2006 by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, researchers found that the more green space was in a person's environment, the better their health was. This was most true for the elderly and youths, whose health responded the greatest by having more green space in the surrounding area. Rural environments support health better than urban environments, and individuals concerned about their physical well-being will benefit from country lifestyle.

    Having green spaces in your environment has a positive effect on your health. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    When looking for employment, it is going to be most challenging when exploring rural areas. Lack of economic diversity means it is difficult for many people to find work, and they often feel obliged to keep jobs they dislike due to having few other alternatives. While poverty rates are higher in urban centres than rural, those who experience poverty in rural areas are often poor for much longer periods of time. In addition, it is much more difficult for ethnic minorities to find work in rural areas compared to urban.

    Many industries offer better employment from urban centres. (Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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    One of the biggest reasons for people leaving rural areas besides seeking employment is to further their education through tertiary institutions. Every year thousands of youths flock from small towns and from the countryside to live in urban centres and attend colleges and universities. Some urban centres may run colleges that offer tertiary education, and extramural education offers students the chance to live in rural areas while studying. However, cities often provide a much larger range of courses and opportunities for studying and advancing one's career.

    Youths often have to travel to a different city to pursue higher education. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

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