City life vs country life: As a born-and-raised city girl, having temporarily adopted a country life in Australia, I think it is safe to say I have experienced the best (and possibly worst) of both worlds. They are two entirely different ways of life – each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Note: since the writing of this article (many years ago!), I’ve lived in a few dozen other urban AND rural locations around the world. In general I tend to lean towards rural (or semi-rural) locations, however I still like getting my “city fix” from time to time.
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City Life – Advantages
You can get pretty much anything you want, at any time of the day or night. (Gosh, do I ever miss sushi and dim sum).
“Mail Order” is an entirely optional part of your vocabulary.
Public transportation (in some cities), or at least living close to amenities, saves the need – environmentally and financially – for a car.
The variety of jobs and careers available is wide. Where else can you be a slinky repair technician AND be in demand?
The variety of accommodation available is even wider. Urban lofts, flats, houses, skyscrapers, hovels, you name it.
A faux pas or fall-out with somebody is easily overcome. Just make new friends and hang out with different people.
There is always a general interest course or class available for you to take, on any variety of topics. Belly Dancing? Wiggle away. How To Write a Romance Novel? Craft those prose. Poker Website Design? Please, just….don’t.
Proximity to fire departments, police, and hospitals can make city living safer.
You wouldn’t think twice about going out to see a movie or show. It’s all right there.
You can streak through the city, completely naked, and chances are it will never get back to you. (Not that I’ve ever…never mind).
City Life – Disadvantages
Cities are inherently expensive. Besides the higher cost of living, something happens whenever I find myself in a city: I spend more money. I don’t even know where it goes. It just….goes.
The anonymity can be suffocating.
Crime is higher. The really bad kinds of crime too.
Competition for jobs is fiercer. When newcomers move to the area, they’re likely to move to the city.
The cost of accommodations is considerably higher. Even hovels come at a premium.
The rat race.
Stars? What are stars? Do you mean movie stars?
It can be a real dog-eat-dog world.
Country Life – Advantages
You look out your window every morning to see what people from the city drive for hours (and sometimes pay big money) to enjoy.
Peace and quiet. Real quiet. Hearing a car – a single car – drive by within a kilometer is a noticeable event.
Stars. Many, many stars.
Inhale. No really. You won’t smell garbage. Inhale!
Fresh air, blue skies, and way healthier living.
The grapevine is awesome (if it works in your favour).
Locking your doors is entirely optional.
People work together and look out for one another, creating a greater sense of community.
Living in the country can make you stronger and more independent as a person.
You can walk down the street of a country town, and chances are you’ll see somebody you know.
Cell phone reception sucks. (Yes, this is – or at least can be – an advantage!)
Country Life – Disadvantages
Your mail is delivered to a place that you have to drive to get to. That is, if you have a mailing address at all. (In Grenada, my address was “3rd house on the right past the pasture”. Amazon doesn’t have an address field for that).
Being sick or tired is difficult if you’re on your own. Pizza delivery is rare in the country, so you’ve got to take care of your self (or yodel at a neighbour to help you).
Piss one person off, and expect not only the whole town to know, but expect the whole town to give you the cold shoulder along with it. One move can make or break you in the country.
Because you’re so likely to see somebody you know in the street, everything seems to take way longer to do than you think.
While you’re chatting with that somebody you just saw in the street, all the stores are closing and your next chance to buy milk will be in two days.
Technology isn’t always top of the line. For example: fiber optic internet – what’s that?
The politics are brutal (if they’re not in your favour).
Anything within 50kms is considered “close”.
Expect to be required to order something you really need by mail at some point – and have the wrong thing delivered. (Again, if you even have a mailing address to begin with).
Getting a social life can be very difficult. (If, however, you choose to be social with trees, you’ll have no problem).
Streaking through the streets in the nude will only lead to trouble.
Want to see Where in the World I’ve Traveled and Lived?
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50 thoughts on “City Life vs Country Life: An Unbiased Analysis”
is there really anything that is truly unbiased!?
I recently came accross your website and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. Nice website. I am going to keep visiting this weblog often.
@Isaura – Thanks! Glad to have you on board.
I absolutely hate city living. I feel so calm and at peace in the countryside. My aim very soon is to get a house somewhere rural and indulge my joyful habits with many great books and films to look at.
I used to live in the city and loved going out with mates but changed totally 180% in recent years. Having severe pain and needing rest played a role in my change of lifestyle and outlook but also my love of the countryside peace where I can read all about history, space and time and all the great novels.
I absolutely changed in a few short years and now I simply care for nothing about modern life. I just enjoy nature and peace.
Where in England I will move I am not sure but somewhere very very peaceful. My brother loves bars and life and gyms and all that but I am the complete opposite. I should have been a shepherd honestly. I love animals of all kinds and feel totally alive and at peace on a farm. I guess my ancestors were all farmers so it is in me.
I love a roaring fire and reading. Then go for a walk and hear the birdsong and smell the country air. That suits me so much now.
I hear you, Nathan! This is an old article and since then I’ve bounced back and forth between rural and urban living a few times. But generally, I too love the countryside. Enjoy!
The bustling city is alive. The crazy crowds and traffic generate energy that challenges the human body. Perhaps that it is why some city people are stressed and unfriendly. The peacefulness of the county is where I enjoy spending my time.
Life in the city is challenging. Yes, there are tons of activities to do. Shopping, going to catch a movie, hit up a museum, or watch a hockey game and many other activities. City living has its disadvantages just like everything. The noises, the smells, and the traffic – ugh, can’t handle the noise. I am used to living in a place where there is no noise except for cows mooing and birds chirping. So it’s a huge difference for me living with sirens, traffic, and roommates!
There are so many benefits to living out in the county. Peaceful, privacy, and you can basically do anything without your neighbors judging you. As I said before about the whole quiet and peacefulness, you don’t hear traffic and loud noises that come along with living in a city. Living on a farm you can do about anything you like. You are far from others unlike living in a city where you are 5 feet away from your neighbors and can see everything they are doing. I know some of our bored Sunday afternoon activities involved building a raft with my brothers and going downstream of a small creek. Those are the memories I will have forever and living in a city you don’t get to do those kind of activities that most farm kids get to do, without your neighbors judging you.
Another huge advantage to living in the county is its cheap. You don’t have temptation like you do in the city to go to a store and buy new clothes. Land and property are also less expensive in the country because its not at such high demand. When in the county you are forced to stay at home and cook so that saves you a lot of money.
That’s why I encourage you to try and live out on a farm or small town where it is peaceful and you are free to do any activity your little imaginary mind can think off.
Thanks for your input, Leandra!
After many years (since writing this post) of living rurally around the world, I must say I vastly prefer living outside of cities. They’re great for short visits to get my “fix”, but I love returning “home” to the country.
I do not know how people get any sleep in the big cities. Sirens going 24/7 non stop. I guess if you live there long enough you become numb to the noise.
This is an amazing list of differences between the two. It really is unbiased. City life is like a jungle or a wilderness, killed or be killed. Everything is paced so fast that if you let time fly by you, you’ll be left out and it will be hard to get back on your feet if you’re not strong. While living in rural places are the opposite. It’s more laid back and more carefree.
Good points! I’ve been living largely rurally around the world since writing this post (7 years ago!). Cities are okay for me, but in small doses. But, different strokes for different folks!
Nice post! Would like to see “Life in the suburbs” added. I personally have lived in the suburbs, city, and country. If I had to pick, I would choose a small beach town instead though! Ha! I agree that there are so many pros and cons to each area though.
Some you missed;
Downsides to Country Life:
Higher amount of racism/prejudices. Can be much harder for anyone who sticks out…blacks, vegetarians, foster children, mixed race families, handicapped, etc..
Difficulty finding food products/restaurants for those on special diets or seeking healthier choices like almond milk, wheat allergies, and alternatives for those with peanut allergies. (Like sunflower butter)
Town Gossip. Eek.
Lack of nearby veterinary care.
High speed driving means more accidents and high speed driving mixed with drunk driving is more common.
If youre alone, it can be lonely. In the city, individuals are everywhere, doing things on their own. In the country, individuals, especially younger ones, can feel far more alone.
Long school bus rides for children.
Cant hear tornado sirens.
City Life Downsides;
Those on lower budgets may get stuck living right by a highway.
Many people “befriending” you simply to use you as a resource. Hard to find real friends.
Less job security.
The costs for home repairs can be far higher for those jobs the average Joe cannot do alone…major plumbing, roofing, fence building.
Even Masters degrees and Phds can leave you blending in with the crowd when it comes to job searching.
And for fun…
Advantages to suburban life;
Can feel like a mix between country and city; friendly neighbors, yards, safe, not busy but not overly quiet.
Still close to cultural activities, restaurants, groceries, parks, and so on.
Can be very walkable and bikable.
Children can readily play with other children, walk to a playground, experience many cultures.
No need to drive them to friends’ houses and you already know what they’re family is like…they live three houses down.
People tend to be more health-conscious.
Neighbors watch eachothers kids free of charge, lend a stick of butter, share books and cookies, and so on. A neighborhood feel. Independence Day parties included.
Yard is big enough for planting, play areas, deck but not so big that it takes a ton of work.
Great for dog walking!
No issues with sirens.
May not be able to hear tornado sirens.
Taxes are very high.
A lot of money will get you a small house.
If you are someone who prefers to keep to youself, you may have issues. Suburbans want to get to know you.
If homes near you are rented out, it suddenly kills your home value…and you never know who will move in, who owns it, or how long theyll be there. Or itll be taken care of.
Can have some of that country gossip here too but rather it being based on prejudicial type issues, its about home upkeep or other childrens behavior.
Not as many food delivery options as in the city.
Lack of creative architecture…cookie-cutter homes.
Wow – brilliant additions. Thanks! And small beach town life sounds pretty good to me as well! 🙂
I don’t say countryside Life is bad, but city life is not so bad, specially if you like technology, architecture, culture, ETC so they (to me) are both good, different, but good
I think there’s good and bad to each. It’s a matter of personal preference and lifestyle design, I think!
It’s really up to yaself to decide. A’mean there can be so many pros ‘n cons that they’ll surely eventually even out…
I aint rely on reading about other peop’s opinion. Just follow ya heart, soul ‘n mind!
Depends whether the country has more ice-cream or if the city has more ice-cream…
Quality and availability of ice cream is a most important thing to consider when living anywhere. Good point!
It also depends on what nation you live in. I would assume that country life in the UK would be the equivalent of living in the suburbs in Canada, which isn’t so bad. Country life in Canada is unbearable there is very little amenities and in some cases you are left to your own devices. Most of these rural towns are dependent on mineral extraction and natural resources which creates a boom and bust economy. Plus consumable items are more expensive and fewer since fright has to travel longer distances, Try living in Nunavut or the extreme north/arctic then tell me how good rural living is.
Do you live rurally in Canada? Because although you have a good point that living in the extreme north or mining towns could be difficult, that’s FAR from the only “rural” option available in Canada. There are plenty of small rural towns in more accessible and beautiful areas that could be comparable to rural living in the UK, as an example.
I wrote this article many years ago (2008) when I experienced my first slice of rural life in Australia. Since then, I’ve lived mostly rurally….in no less than a dozen other countries. For me, I prefer the rural lifestyle. But I also have some “conditions” that have to be met, such as good internet access, and an ability to satisfy basic necessities (groceries etc) without a car (usually).
So yeah….I think I’ll pass on living in the arctic….for now. 😉
I like cows and there are none of those in the city.
Yes there is, BEEF!!!
I believe that the city is not a bad place but I enjoy the countryside a little more
After living in NYC and all of south Florida I am done! Moving to small town north west . I’ve had it. I truly believe this city life can drive me to insanity . I work in med field and Studies show that people that live in green spaces suffer less from depression and generally live happier . I believe it. I also think living in the city disables people and they become so dependent on modern conveniences. Oh and so materialistic! People rude not very nice out for themselves selfish
I can believe that city-life is less healthy than country-life….in my view it’s necessary to have the chance to put feet on the ground – a ground other than concrete – every day! The city can be very disconnecting. And materialistic? Yes. Every time I visit or live in a city, my expenses are always higher….
This is pretty good! Thanks. Do you know the crime rate of cities compared to the countryside?
I would assume by the sheer amount of people living in cities vs the countryside, that crime is much higher in the city. But it also depends on where you go.
I love nature, trees, flowers, and wildlife. However, I moved out to the country and the first thing I see is dead and dying deer. The hunting and poaching is awful and out of control and from every direction. And, law enforcement does nothing to stop it becaue most of them are hunters, too. Hearing gunshots is not my idea of peace, and is very distressing. I’d love to move back to the country, and it seems a shame to me, that I can’t.
Yes, being in the country near an active hunting area must be difficult. I think it depends on where you are; there are many country spots where hunting isn’t a problem or prevalent.
Great post! (Even after 9 years) and interesting to hear different views.
This is my story: I was born and raised in a mountain town in Patagonia, with wildlife and nature on my doorstep. And will always thank my parents for giving me that. I loved it. My thing is that due to a vision problem, I cannot drive.So I moved away, for study and work, and have been living in cities across Europe for the last 12 years. The main advantage of this city life for me is not needing a car. All the other “advantages” are outweighted by the ones that come from living near wild life and nature. So Im done with this. I wanna build the rest of my (and my future kids) life around grass, trees, water and wild life. Its going to be tough due to my inability to drive, but I cant stand cities anymore.
When I define the perfect place to live for myself, it’s a rural location, but close enough to a town that I can survive without a car. I had this perfect balance in the Sacred Valley of Peru, where I lived about a 10 minute walk outside of Pisac. I was nestled in the mountains, but I could easily walk into town for most of my supplies, and when I needed to take the “bus” to the “big city” Cusco it was cheap and relatively easy.
So…I just wanted you to know that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds! I hope you find something that’s a perfect fit for you soon.
I am an Australian City girl from Sydney ( the eastern suburbs ) I grew up across the road from the beach . I now live in a coastal country town , it’s not a tiny town it has supermarkets ,small shopping arcades ,restaurants etc take away pizza & those type of things , but I miss the energy of the city ,the culture. I miss being able to jump on a bus or train I didn’t drive in the city but where I live now it’s pretty necessary. We have a beautiful home with ocean views ,a huge backyard & we couldn’t have this in Sydney as it has become too expensive to buy back there.Its. a 3 hour drive to Sydney & I do it often , it feels like I’ve come home & my anxiety leaves me . I think I grew up in the most beautiful place & I’ve come to believe it’s in me on a cellular level which is why I love that city
Interesting way of saying it – that Sydney is in you on a cellular level – very cool! I think there may be something to that.
What people tend to forget is without cities the renascence would have never taken place, basically we would still be a wild hunter/gatherer society struggling to survive. Cities allow people to come together and exchange information. If not for cities we wouldn’t have any understanding of medicine or common language to communicate with each other. The country isolates people, what people in the country neglect to realize is agriculture was a revolutionary technology that only happened when people gathered together and exchanged that knowledge, how did they exchange that knowledge..a city brought them together. But as a species we’ve essentially come to a peek to are development, there is not much left to be discovered so I can see why people have some anonymity towards cities and it has lost some relevance. Personally, I still prefer the city for the knowledge exchange and people in the city tend to be nicer because they encounter people all the time and are forced to learn how to work together or run to the countryside where they can avoid learning how to cooperate.
Very interesting point, and true! And I agree; cities remain a great gathering place for sharing information and ideas. Perhaps with the internet now, this sharing of information doesn’t have to happen in person to the same degree, which is why country-life has become more of a possibility.
It’s interesting to learn about country life and city life. Living in a country home has always been a dream of mine, and this just convinces me that it’s still a good idea. I love the idea of becoming more independent, just by living in one.
I’ve lived in cities my whole life, but now my husband and I are moving back to his home town, which is very small, agricultural town. I really appreciate this article being completely unbiased and comparing city life to country life. Reading the benefits of country living has made me excited to live in a place with fresh air and stars and peace and quiet.
Thank you! And enjoy your new country home. 🙂
Live in the countryside and I find the people cliche
And cut across my drive way because , I have a joining
Driveway which carefree foolishness and rather sad.
Also I found your article didn’t include the insulters and people tutting about petty silly things.
My folks are tired of living in the city, and they have decided to move out when they retire. They have been thinking of living away from the city to age quietly and peacefully. I’m glad that it was explained here that country life makes you stronger and more independent as a person.
I grow up in Brazil, Porto Alegre, a city that on those days, was filled with trees, open fields and lots of places to play. I mean, mainly play soccer with the boys 🙂
I lived by a beach town in Spain (Marbella), moved to England, Bournemouth (gosh, I was so lonely there) but beautiful and lived in London.
In 1991 I moved to Hawaii. It was for vacation, but I couldn’t resist and stayed, and finally, I moved to NYC. The city that I will always love. I married and had kids in NY, which made us move to the “suburbs”. In the NY area, it means moving states, if you want a home with a yard. I raised my kids in NJ, great schools, but I always hated the suburbs.
It is neither one nor the other. I still hate it. I am grateful that all kids are grown, one is living in Israel another in DC and recently I remarried a man from Portugal.
We are talking about moving to Portugal and my question is: We are deciding between a small town close to the beach in Portugal where he comes from (not by the beach, more in the town) or by the mountain where there are grapevines and more land. I am a city person at heart but I love the country as well. In Portugal, no matter what, nothing is that far, although the Portuguese people don’t drive as much as the Americans do. For us, 30 miles is nothing. In Portugal, they wouldn’t drive that far.
In the country, we could do something like workshops since I am a Chef and now a licensed Holistic Esthetician. Any opinions anyone? Mountains or a small town in Portugal?
I know you wrote this a few years ago but must say what a fascinating life you’ve lived already, you’ve lived in all the places I’d like to! Portugal sounds perfect I think I would have chose the mountains especially if nothing is too far either way.. I wonder what did you choose?
I liked Nora’s article and hate the city. People get so tight and anxious and weird in the city.
Living in the countryside will indeed give you a more relaxed life, but I prefer living in the city because it offers the things that I wanted and needed. I could always take a vacation to unwind if ever the bustling city stresses me out, but living outside it is a no for me. The number one factor that affected my decision is the medical services, the city assures me that if anything bad happens to me I will receive the best medical assistance there is, and the facilities are not that far away from home, unlike in remote places that you have to travel plenty miles just to visit a doctor. Urban life also provides a lot of entertainment that can suit your taste, there are never-ending options here. I recommend you read the article on , there is a list of benefits here that you can experience if you are planning to move to the urban area.
“People work together and look out for one another, creating a greater sense of community.” That is a bunch of garbage. This is only true if you fit in. The country can be a very unwelcoming place if you don’t want to blend into the status quo, if you dare to question the politics or call out the racism that is often so present in the country (which is usually pretty white). I’ve lived in cities all my life and 3 years ago moved out to the country and only had one neighbor who looked out for us, as the others were freakish conservative conspiracy theorists who loudly support candidates and causes that are overtly racist. The great hypocrisy as well about living in the country is the assumption that everything is so much healthier… Which couldn’t be farther from the truth unless you are exclusively growing your own food and none of your neighbors are spraying their properties with Roundup and the like. Pesticide use is huge in the country, Walmarts are everywhere, and because of the lack of choice and healthy eating options, processed food abounds at the few places there are to eat. When the pandemic hit, my county showed its complete disrespect for mask mandates and social distancing, and assaults on essential workers became normal. People looking out for each other, my arse.
I disagree that if you live in the country you don’t get mail delivered to you. I live in the country and get mail delivered to me. Just my opinion though, not trying to argue.
Such a great timeless post! I love how people still come here to comment even today haha. We live on a boat so we can choose to have country or city at any time (not always easy getting the car from a to b though!)
For me the peace of the country is what I love but I find it hard to get around with no car and no roads/public transport. The city is a lot more convenient if you just want to quickly go out without it being an all day event. Both have their advantages!
This article just keeps on living! Not sure why it went so viral over the years, but I’ll take it. 😉
I lived on boats in the Caribbean for a few months, and indeed, the lack of car on land can be problematic, especially since not all marinas are centrally located.
I’m not sure where you lived in the country (you probably mentioned somewhere 😂), but I strongly disagree with the notion that country life is supposedly much quieter than city life.
Except if you’re EXTREMELY lucky, you’ll not have less noise around you, just different kinds of noise.
I live in a very rural area in Ireland, and there’s loads of noise: huge tractors with trailers driving by the small bumpy country road about 50 meters from my home from 5am to 9pm; people constantly mowing their huge lawns with huge lawn mowers; BANGERS (automatic gas explosion devices for scaring away birds or something) creating 5 explosions every 20 minutes from sunrise to sunset; also, as romantic as it may be, cow mooing can also be pretty loud and unnerving in the middle of the night if they happen to be “parked” next to your home.
So, as a warning to other readers: If the main thing you’re looking for is peace and quiet, be sure to move somewhere in the country where the nearest even remotely busy road is at least 300 m away, and there are no fields / cattle nearby, and also no neighbours.
You are very right about the DIFFERENT types of noise! Well put.