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How Moving to a Smaller City or Small Town Will Improve Your Life

Thinking of relocating to a smaller city or town? Great idea! Here's what to expect.

By Livability.com on September 7, 2022

Fort Collins CO
Fort Collins / iStock/RiverNorthPhotography

With the cost of living rising sharply in large cities, and affordable housing options becoming scarce, more and more people are looking to move to a smaller U.S. city. If you’re considering making a move to a smaller city or a small town, here are some of the positive lifestyle shifts you can expect to experience. (And a few things that might take a little getting used to.) 

Cost of Living

Yes, it can be cheaper to live in a small town. The median price of a Chicago one-bedroom apartment clocks in at $2,206 per month, but if you want to live in one of the smaller towns and cities around Lake Superior, you could find a fantastic place for just $958 per month. 


Getting a car used to be a teenager’s dream, but many millennials don’t want the bother of monthly payments, maintenance and insurance. In larger cities you can easily get around on scooter and bikes, or you can use public trains and buses. Sure, you can still pilot scooters and bikes in small towns, but you may face longer distances between offices and stores. The pace of living is slower, though, so walking might be a welcome detour.

Athens/Limestone Co. AL
Athens / Jeff Adkins


Big cities are promoting micro-houses; small towns have lots of space. You may be squished into a 450 square-foot efficiency in Chicago, but your one-bedroom apartment in Madison, WI may be almost 1,500 square feet and less expensive.

As we mentioned above, housing is a huge issue in major cities. Today, the larger the city – New YorkSan FranciscoLos Angeles – the more expensive your rent is going to be and your place is going to be tiny.

Moving to a smaller city will afford you the opportunity to get a bit more space for your family. And maybe you can finally plant that garden you’ve always dreamed of.

Madison WI
Madison / Nathan Lambrecht


We already talked about the traffic nightmares in huge cities. And if you’re commuting for work, you might be driving two hours every single day in Boston or Atlanta.

If you move to a smaller city, you’ll free up many hours of each day by avoiding a bumper-to-bumper commute. What could you do with two extra hours in each day? Start a business? See your family more? Get more work done? In smaller city, this is the norm.


That said, a major factor that makes living in a smaller city so amazing is the lifestyle. Simply put, you get the best of both worlds. In a huge city, you’ll be up late because of sirens or bars letting out across the street from your apartment. While in a smaller city, you’ll be able to get away from the hustle of your downtown area and relax each and every night. It’s no wonder that small cities are perfect places for introverts.

And if you really miss the sounds and sights of a bigger city, you can always take a weekend trip with your family. But in terms of day to day lifestyle, many small U.S. cities will provide plenty of activities to enjoy locally.

Before you make any move, take an extended vacation to your proposed new location. A slower, rural lifestyle may be just the thing for you. And if you’re struggling to save money and navigate through the age-old rent vs. own debate, perhaps a smaller city is just what you need.

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