Why is growing up in the city better than growing up in a small town?Why is growing up in the city better than growing up in a small town?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Um, this is actually a very personal question.  In my opinion, growing up in a city is NOT better than growing up in a small town.  Because this is on the discussion board and no one has really expanded fully upon the opposing point of view I thought I would take a crack at it, kind of, ...

A tiny bit of background:  I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and HATED everything about the big city in which I grew up.  I hated the lack of natural anything.  I hated the traffic.  I hated feeling like a sardine around so many people.  I hated the beach.  In fact, as soon as I took my "college tour" and saw a mountain or two (and found a place where other people besides me liked country music), I was hooked.

That being said, after I graduated, I got to visit a true small town, literally in the middle of nowhere (with the biggest grocery two hours away) in northern Pennsylvania.  You know what?  I didn't like that either.  There was simply nothing there except nature.  No choice of friends.  No choice of schools. No choice at all.

Therefore, I have to say that for me, living in a small town that is near (within a one-hour drive) of a small city or two is the best situation.  Here is my reasoning (that also proves why this is a personal decision that wouldn't be the best for everyone):

  • Gaining major privacy by owning more land.
  • Lowering the general cost of living.
  • Having the added experience of exploring the natural world.
  • Feeling camaraderie with country folk of similar Christian values.
  • Driving faster to get somewhere faster (quite simply!), instead of being stuck in traffic.
  • Allowing a lower-stress academic environment for children while not sacrificing good education.
  • Experiencing more safety and security through sheer geography.
  • Driving only a short distance to allow for opportunity in school choice, nightlife, quality healthcare, entertainment, etc.
  • Using the same social media that everyone in the city utilizes, keeping one connected with everyone, regardless.
  • Soliciting help from friendly strangers (if needed) without having to worry about safety issues.
  • Lowering the general stress level by living in a place that's more "relaxed."

And you know what?  That's where I am blessed to live, ... in western North Carolina!  (The irony is that my great great grandparents owned a dairy farm in this very area over one hundred years ago.  I guess it's in my blood, eh?)

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can see advantages of big city life for some in that there are indeed more choices in terms of education, entertainment and socialisation. However, in the rural school I teach in now, I see a community spirit and understanding from the young people that I have not experienced elsewhere. The fact that you are 'known' in a community of 4,500 people may be intimidating for some, but I feel my son is safer here than anywhere. He may not be able to hop on a bus and hang around the mall, but he can go biking, hunting, fishing and playing sport with friends. There is not so much scope for our young to get into trouble as all of us (or most of us) observe and look out for one another's kids. It's hard to 'get away' with stuff when everybody knows you! Our kids work at their leisure time and sport participation is huge. We have no public transport so kids bike, skateboard, walk or strive to get their licence. We have one supermarket, no shoe shop and only a handful of clothes stores. Kids save their cash for occasional trips to 'town' or buy online. I think they lead safer, healthier richer, greener lives than kids anywhere else.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This "truth" exists depending upon who you talk to. I did not grow up in the city and find I am happy with this because I am close enough to visit, and it can be exciting because it's not what I am accustomed to. For example, we go into the city a lot to watch professional baseball or go to museums with special exhibits.

However, I would imagine that living in the city helps people who grow up there to move through crowds, learn to navigate a city with a car or public transportation, creates a stronger sense of community (that may not exist in the 'burbs when people may not live close enough to become really acquainted), and provides for an enormous amount of exposure to various kinds of people, many races and religions, city life that does not end when the sun goes down—especially exposure to the arts, etc., and institutions created for the public "consumption," such as libraries, universities, etc.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am going to echo the above responses to say that this question assumes something that is not necessarily established, that city life is better than small-town life as a setting for children.  However, I also want to add an additional advantage that I have found for my own children.  Children who are growing up in a city often have more independence than children growing up in small towns because public transportation systems are so much better and because children can, at a much younger age, explore even on foot in their cities. For example, my children were able to go to the library or museum on their own, pick up a quart of milk at the supermarket on foot, or get on a bus to go to events downtown at fairly young ages.  They felt like the entire city was their turf, which fostered greater independence for them.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, it is not necessarily true that growing up in a city is better than in a small town.  But if this is what you have to argue, here are two important reasons:

  • More opportunities to do things.  People who live in cities are able to go to museums and aquariums to broaden their educations.  They have more access to various forms of entertainment.  This is an advantage.
  • Exposure to a more diverse group of people.  People in big cities tend to meet and get to know people of different races, different religions, different social classes, etc.  This is less true in a small town.  This allows people who grow up in cities to be more prepared for life in a diverse society.
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are a couple more advantages of a childhood spent in the city.

  • Better access to advanced healthcare, including being able to get a variety of opinions. Cities by nature are the homes of the best hospitals and medical research facilities. Similarly, most cities have free clinics for children's dental and health problems, problems that might be ignored in a small town.
  • Like the first point, the parents of children growing up in the city typically have more choices when it comes to education. Most cities offer a variety of magnet, charter, private, and public schools which have to be competitive with one another (in price and quality) to keep their doors open.
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is nothing that can be used as evidence to prove that this assumption is a fact. Our lifestyle is really what determines how ourgrowth and life span development will be like. Back home there is a commonly-used phrase that says "The place does not make you, but you make the place". In other words, the location in which you live does not pre-determine your fate. You do. You could argue that city life offers perhaps a few more opportunities in terms of employment and education, but there are drawbacks to that as well. In the country you can become just as educated and ready to get a great life as any city person could.

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with pohnpei that it is not always true that city life is superior to small town life, but here are a couple of additional points that may make city life a bit better.

1) Better social support services, such as libraries and recreation centers. Although these services typically exist in small towns, city facilities tend to be more expensive and/or well-equipped.

2) City living typically offers more privacy than small town life.  It's more difficult for eveyone to "know your business" when the numbers are greater.


clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many would argue that city life is a different kind of "relaxed" because it often does not include the kind of grueling commuting that those who live in more rural areas endure.  City dwellers with access to public transportation are usually disappointed to leave this kind of convenience.  Cities are often more advanced in energy conservation than rural towns.  Culturally, city life usually offers a variety of arts, music, theater, and restaurants that are of a caliber which would be considered greater than those in more rural areas.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Who says big cities are better places to live? I grew up in a town of about 10,000 people, and I certainly wouldn't trade the experience for anything. People in small towns are friendlier and quicker to help a stranger. Things are more relaxed and people don't seem to be in such a big rush. Big cities do offer a wider spectrum of entertainment and business opportunities, but I find they are a great place to visit--nor to live.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I actually don't agree with the statement at all, but I would agree that if you are going to argue this statement you need to do it by looking at how growing up in a city offers more life chances in terms of opportunities in every sense. There is more culture, greater educational opportunities, more contacts, a better range of services and so on.

thewanderlust878 | Student

I grew up in an extremely small town, and I hated it. I have always wanted to live in the city, and now that I'm in college in a city, going back home to the nothingness makes my skin crawl (on top of that I lived on a farm). I definitely think growing up in a city has more advantages than a small town. For example, you have more choices for schooling, more places to shop, go to a movie, concert, etc, where as in a small town, you have basically none of those. 

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nishatabubakar | Student

As for me all i can say is that both the city life and the village life can help a person to develop in a number of ways. As a city can offer a person many opportunities and a better life style but on the other hand a village life can teach a person to be polit and make friends. Basically be a better person.

And yes a person will alwayz prefer city life as it is full of many luxuries and amenities, but a village life can help you be a better person

krcavnar | Student

I must disagree that living in a city is somehow superior to living in a small rural town.  I think that living in a small town you can often see people for who they are rather than the color of their skin or based upon what part of the city they live.    In fact I find there are some advantages to small town living.  Students in small towns students may excel in a sport, however, in a large urban area that student might have been overlooked and thus lost any ability to go to college.  I think that access to the wide-open spaces is something that urban children are missing.  Many urban children have no access to fresh air, sunshine and those activities that arise around a small community.  As a child raised in a small town, I believed I received a good understanding of community, friendship, responsibility and value of honesty and a valuable work ethic. Responsibility came from the chores i was expected to do daily without being reminded and expectations from many people other than my immediate family.  Did everyone know my business ?  Yes, and knowing that kept me honest and straight.

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shizza123 | Student

it is hard if you are a teenager...

you may have an accent

your dressing sense may not be "city appropriate" according to them

it might be hard to fit in..... :)