Advantage & disadvantage of living in a big city

Written by emily jarvis
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Advantage & disadvantage of living in a big city
City life appeals to many people, but crime, pollution and other considerations keep others away. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Choosing whether to live in a big city or a small town requires serious considerations of your lifestyle. Big-city life isn't for everyone, but many people thrive on the hustle and bustle of a metropolis. As with any dichotomy, there are advantages and disadvantages. No two cities are alike, and each has a different vibe that attracts certain people.

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Heavy traffic and constant congestion keep car-lovers away from large cities. The freedom to get behind the wheel and choose your destination is lost in many cities where cabs are the only vehicles on the road. The advantage of a large city, however, is the efficiency of public transportation. Reliable subway or bus systems and ever-present taxis make transportation relatively inexpensive. There is no need to buy gas, and many city dwellers don't own cars at all, eliminating the need for insurance, registration and maintenance.


There is no scarcity of entertainment in big cities. Concerts, theatre and events are happening all the time, and many free options exist for budget tourism. The disadvantage of a city that draws tourists is the crowds. Droves of people coexist in a single city, so all aspects of life can become crowded. The mixture of different cultures also draws people to cities. There are scores of goods and services that small-town dwellers cannot access.

Cost of Living

Big cities are associated with a high cost of living. Houses and apartments in prime neighbourhoods tend to be much smaller and much more expensive. Goods and services can also be more costly. The cost of living is somewhat mediated by higher average salaries and public transportation. It is also easier for people in many industries to find work in a big city.


Big cities tend to have higher rates of crime due to poverty and density. Crime rates are dropping in the nation's 100 largest cities, but both violent and nonviolent crimes remain cause for concern to city residents and visitors.


Congestion causes severe pollution in many large cities. Air quality is very low in large metropolitan areas, which can lead to respiratory illnesses. This can raise the cost of health care and reduce productivity in the workplace. Many large cities are implementing eco-friendly initiatives, however, and it is easier to live a "green" lifestyle in cosmopolitan areas that are invested in reducing their residents' carbon footprints.


Many large cities are considered walking cities, where it is easier to get around on foot than to travel by cab or public transport. Neighbourhoods have all of the amenities residents need for daily life, including markets, restaurants and schools. Walking cities promote a sense of community and can improve health.

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