13+ Lifers Share the Pros and Cons of Living in a Small Town

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If you grew up in a big city, chances are that you’ve got certain ideas about what it’s like to live in a small town. They may be sweet notions of neighbors who bring over cups of sugar and summer evenings rocking on the porch with a sweet tea, or they may lean more toward the nosy, everyone knows your business neighbors and you could drive for a day and never meet a person who isn’t white.

You can never know what a place is like until you’ve lived there, though, so if you’re curious, here are what some long-time residents see as the pros and cons of living in a small town.

#15. Here we go.

“Ah, here we go. I grew up in a town of 1000 people. One street light. One subway (our only fast food). Two gas stations.


– no traffic, ever.

– cost of living is cheap.

– people will generally always be nice and always help you out when you’re in a pinch. Don’t have any illusions. It is because the whole town will know they’re a dick otherwise.

– Everybody knows you


– Gossip, always

– job prospects are limited

– social circle may be limited

– available activities are limited

– everybody knows you”

#14. Some like this, some don’t.

“Running into someone you know almost anywhere you go.

Some like this, some don’t.”

#13. No jobs at all.

“Pros: Amazingly peaceful. Unlimited opportunities to enjoy nature through hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and biking. Also, super cheap housing! Cons: No jobs at all… Had to leave my dream town.”

#12. Dating can get creepy.

“No traffic. Cheap cost of living. Easy to park.

Dating can get creepy because everyone knows everyone.”

#11. Town drama.

“Pros: You know all your neighbors. Lots deer and moose always skulking about. Fishing/ outdoor activities Large property

Con: Hard to find places to go (my town doesn’t have a bar or restaurant so I have to drive everywhere). Everybody knows you. Stupid town drama. Many elderly people where ita hard to meet people my age.”

#10. To sum up.

“Pro: You know everyone.
Con: Everyone knows you.”

#9. Nothing to do.

“Pro: Low cost of living

Con: Racism, rampant drug use, everyone hates outsiders including you, nothing to do, have to drive to a larger town to buy anything useful.”

#8. Odd to me.

“I can’t really speak for any else’s experience with the small town life, but automatically saying racism simply because it’s a small town seems odd to me I guess. The town I’m from is small, around 5k or less I believe, and I don’t really know that I’ve seen any instances of things that made me say, “wow, that is racist.” I live near a larger city and I’ve seen and heard things there that are racist and I’ve had experiences in other towns, but I don’t believe simply being a small town means racism is rampant. Job prospects and everybody knowing each other and everyone’s business, yes.”

#7. Weirdly religious.

“Idk how small you’re talking but I grew up on the outskirts of a town with a population of 2000.

Pros: no neighbors to hear you sing loudly, no traffic jams or even traffic really, low crime rate, people are friendly

Cons: Having to buy stuff online because there are no specialized shops, realizing simultaneously that you’re out of eggs and it’s Sunday, everyone is Weirdly Religious, the schools are also Weirdly Religious.”

#6. Still an outsider.

“Pro-it’s small enough you get to know everyone like shop workers and restaurant owners. You know everyone’s business and going to the store there’s a 50% chance you’ll see someone you know. You know your travel routes because it’s so small you can get from point A to B in 5-10 minutes. Cons-unless you were born and raised your an outsider. If you’ve moved in people ask where your from originally. Racism is big and so favoritism in politics.

Been in my small town 5 years still an outsider but it’s getting better.”

#5. Endless relations.

“Pros: You know everyone, everyone knows you, its simple and you can build respect really fast. Its quiet and you can meet some of the greatest people.

Cons: You know everyone’s business and everyone knows your business, If your born and raised there you’re related to almost everyone somehow, if you moved in then you’re an outsider that bought so and so’s property.”

#4. It’s quiet.

“Pro: it’s quiet. Not too many people.
Con: all the bars are towny bars where everyone knows each other and stares at you when you walk in cause your an outsider.”

#3. The worst.

“Basically what ZombieBisque said

Pros: no traffic, no one fucks with you or you can find out who they are and where they live, neighbors tend to be friendlier, people wave to each other, cost of living is super low

Cons: racism is usually more abundant because there’s not much diversity, you’ll get bored of all the restaurants and stores really fast, you have to drive far if you want something out of the ordinary, people do drugs out there more because there’s not much for them to do recreation-wise.

The worst: All the restaurants are generic – probably one “Best Food In Town” mediocre Chinese place and a couple of greasy pizza shops that all sell the same crap. All the bars are probably shitkicker bars that only have Coors, Bud, and Pabst on tap.”

#2. When I think of one.


Limited job opportunities because the local economy is usually structured around a particular industry, particularly if that industry is declining. I grew up in Farmington, NM, which has one of the US’s largest petroleum industries. But Farmingotn also happens to be one of the US’s fastest shrinking cities, and has a high cost of living in what the US Census Bureau reports is already the second-poorest state in the union. If you don’t work in petroleum, there’s so little opportunity for you. Non-profits, schools, libraries, almost everyone here depends on donations from the petroleum companies. And the community leaders are doing almost nothing to support other industries or otherwise prepare for the day that the nodding donkeys stop nodding.
High costs of living. See what I wrote above. I disagree with everyone on this thread who says small towns are more affordable.
Intolerance. If you’re a minority and you don’t live in a large city, usually you’re treated as either invisible or as less than human. (Source: I’m LGBT and I have a mental disability. I also have a lot of peers who are Navajo, Acoma, Cochiti, Latino, Arab, etc.)
If you want to do anything fun, you usually have to drive to another community to do it. For me, that meant either driving three hours to the south to Albuquerque (where I currently live now), or driving to a national park that’s a day away in one direction.

I’ll come back to you when I think of one.”

#1. A change of scenery.

“Pro: You know the place like the back of your hand, you pretty much know everybody, nice and calming.

Con: Since you lived in the same small town your entire life, it can get boring or mind numbing. Sometimes you feel like you need a change of scenery.”