Friday, November 17, 2017

Why, Deep Down, We All Think About Moving To The Country

It’s an old idea and an even older point of contention for those who like to indulge in the “city vs. country” argument. For a lot of us, even city-dwellers, there are romantic notions about life out in more rural communities and wilder locales that have an almost instinctual attractiveness about them. Here, we’re going to explore why so many of us still yearn for a country life and whether or not that yearning is entirely justified.

We want privacy
This is a big issue and it’s steadily becoming a bigger one with each passing year as technology advances and the cities seem to adopt some of the most worrying amongst them. There’s no doubt that developments like “smart cities” as shown at are going to make things convenient and possibly much safer. But the argument between “security vs. privacy” has been raging for decades now and a lot of people are starting to tire of security winning over privacy. Compared to the cities, more rural communities have next-to-none of those invasive technology measures. For someone who isn’t entirely trusting of non-transparent uses of surveillance, it can be a breath of fresh air.
We love nature
On a much more positive note, one of the big reasons that so many return to the country after experiencing the city life is the same reason that city-dwellers love their parks. We have an innate and instinctive fondness for nature at its peak. If you live in the country, you’re much more likely to live near one of the nation’s fantastic national parks, for instance. But simply being able to take a quick ride or walk from your home and being likely to encounter not only true wilderness but all kinds of animals and birds has an immediate appeal. Of course, nature isn’t always idyllic and friendly, and you have to be aware of the real risks. But if you’re responsible and careful, it has real benefits.

We know city life is unhealthy
You can’t live in a city and ignore the real negative effects that the environment can have on you. Not just smog and poor air quality, but noise pollution and cramped living conditions can have real consequences on both physical and mental health that many of us want to escape. That’s not to say that there aren’t real health risks to living in the country. There’s a great risk of being in a car accident, for one. But there’s also a serious healthcare concern as shown at, with much fewer doctors working in rural communities than urban ones. With less access to healthcare, conditions are more likely to go undiagnosed and lead to unnecessary suffering.
We think country folk have a better community
The hospitality and close-knit nature of smaller communities has a shining reputation. It is true that if you live around fewer people in total and you can reasonably remember most of them by name, you are likely to feel much more secure in your community and like you have a closer connection to the place. However, what does that mean for us as individuals? There are conflicting studies on the idea of “happiness” depending on where you live, The common wisdom is that rural people tended to be happier than city-dwellers. However, the answer is no longer as clear-cut, with a  2011 study showing that certain demographics, such as economically challenged people, are actually much unhappier in the country. The truth might be that when things are good, they’re better in the country, but if you can’t support yourself, there isn’t as much support in general.

We yearn for a simpler life
To some people, living in the country is all about feeling accomplished with the work that you do there. It’s why many people choose to use services like to buy farms and ranches. The stereotype that rural communities breed hard-working, tough people is well-deserved in many parts and there’s a great allure to the idea of living an existence that brings you closer to that ideal. Farming, for instance, isn’t always easy, but farmers and foresters in rural communities consistently rank amongst some of the highest professions for job satisfaction.
We want space
We touched on briefly when talking about the negative health consequences of living in the city, but it’s a major point that needs some focus on its own. The impact of living in cramped conditions and its relationship to stress is well documented by now. Not only is stress unpleasant, but it has real consequences regarding cardiovascular health, too, in particular raising our chances of suffering from heart disease. In the city, states that you’re 21% more likely to develop an anxiety disorder and 39% more likely to develop a mood disorder in general, and studies suggest that a lack of personal space plays a big factor in it. There’s no doubt that some people thrive on being one amongst a sea of faces, but it might not be the optimal way to live for most.

We don’t want to live in fear of crime
The truth is that each environment presents its own kind of danger. For the bad reputation that they get, cities actually tend to be safer when it comes to some of the worst kinds of violent crime due to increased surveillance and police presence. That said, the perception of crime in the city is significantly higher than it is in the country. That’s because people are clustered much closer together, so even if there was a 1-in-100 chance of being a victim in both the city and the country, the city would seem more dangerous because there is objectively more crime happening there.
It should be no surprise to anyone with a sense of reason (and no bias in the city vs. country argument) that living in the country can be much more satisfying than living in the city, but that the opposite can also be true for some. It’s all about what your priorities are and what kind of “speed” you prefer to live your life in.

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