Bright Lights, Big City: Pros & Cons to Consider Before Moving to the City

By Aaron Swartz on June 16, 2022

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A lot of us have considered it at some point in our lives, especially if you’ve lived in a less urban area for most of your life. Cities are vibrant, exciting places, full of unique people, diverse cultures, and all sorts of incredible opportunities. Unfortunately, as anyone who’s done some looking into moving to one knows, cities are also loud, cramped, and have a host of problems all their own. If you’re debating whether or not city life is right for you, here are a few pros and cons you should keep in mind that will help you make your decision.

via Pixabay

Pros

Better Work Opportunities

Ah, the land of opportunity. Cities are full of great jobs, much more so than rural areas. Due to the sheer population density, there are a huge amount of career opportunities ready and waiting for enterprising folks to start applying. There are also a lot more kinds of positions open, which will give you the chance to work in whatever field interests you. Most jobs in cities also pay better than their less urban counterparts which means working in a city will let you support yourself financially in a career that means something to you, which isn’t a chance everyone gets.

Great Social and Leisure Options

Cities are full of things to do and it can’t be overstated how much of a boon that can be. Do you like art, museums, and studios? You’ll be able to see some amazing exhibitions. Love nothing more than a good live show or a packed club? You get the choice of some of the finest music venues. Just want to meet new people and make friends? Whether you like the bar scene or more lowkey social outings, the opportunity is there if you want it. The amount of people and the variety of interests means that no matter what you’re passionate about you’ll be able to find something you love and people to love it with.

The Wonders of Public Transit

Owning a car is expensive. Gas, repairs, inspections, and oil changes, all of it adds up. Then of course there’s parking and storage — and if you live anywhere there’s snow you have to deal with digging yourself out whenever the weather turns cold. If for any of those reasons you’re fed up with owning a car, you can turn your back on driving and embrace public transportation in the city. Most big cities (like New York City, Boston, etc.) have great public transportation systems. They’re efficient, cheaper than a car, and save you a lot of hassle; plus for the eco-friendly, it’s a much more green option. Whether it’s buses, subways, trams, or trains, public transportation is just one of the many great things the big city offers.

Diversity

One thing cities have that puts them head and shoulders above less urban areas is their diversity. Cities are home to a broad spread of people from all backgrounds. You’ll meet people of every ethnicity, religion, and identity, and for many, the city can be a place to truly find your community. If you’ve ever felt alone in your hometown, the city might be just the place to find your people.

Cons

Cost

Of course, not everything about city life is glittering and golden, and let’s start out with what ends up being the biggest stumbling block for many people. There’s no getting around it: living in a city is expensive. Places like New York City are famous for astronomically high rents, and a lot of people eyeing the city as their potential home have to reckon with that unfortunate reality. While a lot of positions in the city do pay more, this doesn’t fully counter the increased cost of living. Either way, it’s certainly something to bear in mind as you debate moving to the city.

Space

Another famous issue that haunts city life is that cities are crowded. Now, this does have some benefits; part of the reason there’s so much to do in the city is there’s a lot packed into a small space. Unfortunately, that space is very much at a premium, which contributes to the expensiveness of city living. Most living spaces in the city will be much smaller than places you could find in less urban areas, so you really have to weigh whether that’s something you’re willing to give up by moving to the city. Additionally, there’s less access to nature than in rural or suburban areas, with a lot of outdoor space bounded by parks. If you’re a big nature lover then the city might not be the best choice for you.

Noise

Cities are sprawling, busy, and hectic, but they’re also cramped and loud, with sirens, neighbors, and traffic creating an undercurrent of noise as part of life within them. While most people are able to get used to the volume over time it can definitely be a big adjustment if you’re not used to it, and you should definitely consider whether or not the noise of the city will impact your choice to move there.

There are a lot of great things that come out of moving to the city, but it’s not without its trials and tribulations. Hopefully, you’ve got a better idea of what you can expect if you’re thinking about making the change to the urban lifestyle,

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