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Articles on Living in Small Town America

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Choosing a Small Town

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The benefits to your quality of life are numerous in small town U.S.A.  The following is a list of the basic improvements:


Crime is lower in the small town than the big city.  This is a fact and cannot be disputed.  If you look at a website that tracks crime statistics, like, you will immediately see the difference.  Crime in most small towns is about 50% to 80% less and violent crime is off the charts lower.

What this means is that you do not have to live in fear of crime all the time like you do in the city.  You do not have to obsess over where your kids are or if you have locked the house.  Most people in small town U.S.A. don’t even lock their houses during the day.  Why should they?  There is almost no crime.

On the flip side, coming from the big city, you may consider the small town police a bit unforgiving.  This is because small town U.S. A. is not tolerant of things that get by in the city.  For example, street people and panhandling are not permitted ever.  Such folk are taken to jail.  If you like having street people hitting you up on every corner, then small town U.S.A. is not for you.  Since there is greater density of police in most small towns, you may find that speeding or driving under the influence will not be tolerated either.  If you like to have a few drinks before driving, you are going to have problems.

Besides the absence of crime, you will also benefit from your kids growing up without the “ugly” aspects of life being apparent everywhere.  Kids that grow up without the constant threat of harm seem to be happier and more positive in their outlook and they feel more confident in their environment.


With few exceptions, pollution is a big city phenomenon.  It takes heavy manufacturing and lots of automobiles to create the environmental nightmares like Los Angeles and Dallas.  Small town U.S.A. does not have these things, nor the resulting brown air and ozone issues.

If you go to and plug in the zip code of a big city and that of a small town, the difference is huge.  Quality of air in a big city (on a 1 to 100 scale, where 100 is best) may score a 10.  In small town U.S.A., it’s more like 80.

People with traditional hay-fever, nasal issues, with burning eyes, will find themselves “cured” in small town U.S.A.  Within Days, a lifetime of problems is old news. 

And, of course, pollution in most cities is only getting worse everyday, so this difference will continue to accelerate over time.

Not only will you feel better, you will actually start noticing and appreciating the things that small town people have already known for decades -- the great smell of flowers and rain, and the therapeutic nature of cool breezes.



One of the big differences between the big city and small town U.S.A. is the “inclusion” in small towns versus the concept of “exclusion” in cities.  In small town U.S.A., everyone is invited to everything.  Maybe because there are fewer people to go around and so they need everyone to pitch in.  You will be invited to every party, every charitable cause, everything you can imagine on day one.  You will think you are the most popular family in town, but you will soon learn that nobody is excluded from anything. 

In small town U.S.A., for example, all kids are invited to try out and participate in almost every activity.  If you want to play football, you’re on the team.  There are not enough people to go around, so nobody is turned away.  You may be the worst basketball player on the earth, but you will still get playing time.

In the big city, the system is replaced with exclusion.  There are too many people in every activity, so the system is set up to reduce down the number through different rules and barriers.  For example, in most small town country clubs everyone may join.  There is no selection process.  If you want to play golf and can afford the membership fee, then you are ready to set up a tee time.  Compare that to the coldish and insulting state of affairs in the city and the waiting list -- if you are chosen at all.


If you think chivalry is dead, then you haven’t been to a small town U.S.A.  lately.  The last bastion of proper child rearing is in a small town.  While in the big city, many families become lost in a world of two-income households, fast food, Nintendo and peer pressure, small town families spend a good deal of time teaching their kids proper values and respect.  In small town U.S.A., you can still find kids that say “thank you” and “sir”.

You will also be struck by the maturity of these kids, especially the older teenagers.  In small town U.S.A., most of the high-schoolers hold jobs -- they have to since the town needs everyone to do their part to keep it running -- and as a result they have much greater seriousness about careers and schooling.  You can carry on a better conversation with a 14 year old in a small town, than a 24 year old in the city.  Further, since housing prices are low and the cost of living is eminently more affordable, teenagers are not far from being self-sufficient financially while still in high-school.

Boys treat girls much better in small towns as well.  Perhaps that’s because people generally get married younger, or maybe it’s the extra dose of parenting.  You have far less to fear from a small town boy dating your daughter than a big city guy.  There is much more maturity regarding such subjects as driving and timeliness. 


Small towns are known for their reverence of the elderly.  Children visit their parents constantly, and many activities are based around the entire family unit -- young and old.  Every strata of society in small town U.S.A. is geared toward offering special benefits to the elderly, whether it’s the police or the neighbor.


City people at first think that the neighbors must be putting them on with too much kindness when they first move in to the small town, but its genuine.  Small town people care about their neighbors many times more than big city people do.  They watch over your kids, your yard, everything.  If you go out of town, the neighbor can tell when you left and when you come back.  If they see someone suspicious near your home (which rarely happens) they will immediately call the police.  If your child is walking down the street, there are a lot of eyes upon them.  Some people believe this is nosiness -- but it’s misunderstood by city people.  Your neighbor is keeping track of your activities not to snoop or spy on you, but to be watching for moments to render aid.  This is similar to how frontiersmen were with each other, always watching their back. 


Upon arrival in a small town, you will immediately find that there are activities every week, available to everyone without exclusion, and often free of charge.  They range from Friday night high-school football games to other sports events, to town picnics and gatherings, to church functions, to a million outdoor activities. 

You will have no shortage of fun things to do in small town U.S.A.  You do not have to spend a lot of time combing the newspaper for weekend ideas --  they are everywhere.  In addition, things are generally more fun when you know everyone on a first name basis, and that’s what small town U.S.A. is about.  Within a few months, you’ll already have more friends than you had in 30 years in the city.

There is also no barrier to entertainment financially.  You do not have to consult the family budget every time an activity is tossed out.  Most are free, others cost very little.  In a small town you can not ask a lot for admission -- nobody would show up. 



If you are into open marriages or alternative lifestyles, small town U.S.A. is maybe not for you.  The rate of divorce in a small town is much less than the city.  Maybe that’s because of the greater focus on the family unit.  Also, it may be that there are not as many “temptations” to wander.  Since just about everyone who is older is married, there are not as many single men and women running around. 

Children are taught that a family revolves around a father and a mother, and that seem to be a formula that works in a small town.


In small town U.S.A. residents have a greater sense of pride in their community.  They turn out at events more, and are more active in town government.  They give more freely to fundraisers to benefit the town.  Normally, the fire department is made up of volunteers.  They see themselves as part of a well-connected community, and they understand their part in the process of society.

In big cities, people often congregate based on school or club affiliation -- in the small town, it’s the entire town that is the club you belong to. 

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