Thursday, January 10, 2008

Small Town Living

Why are small towns dying? Why are companies moving out of small towns and into big cities? What do the cities really have to offer? Lots of people, congestion, pollution, bad tempers, high crime, etc.

People in small towns, especially in the Midwest, are hard workers. And we are much less likely to have a terrorist strike us, though we are not immune. Bad things do happen here, people are people, but there are more moderating influences here.

BTW, this has nothing to do with race. People in small towns are surprisingly open minded about race, they tend to take each individual or individual family on its own merits.

Not that small towns are perfect, there is not as much to do, but my sister moved during high school. In a city of 350,000 she complained of being bored, same as she did when she lived in town of 10,000. If you move to a town of over 10,000, then you can avoid much of the "everyone knows everyone else's business" that many people worry about with small towns.

Another problem with small towns today is the ubiquitous Wal-Mart. Although Wal-Mart probably makes prices less in actual terms, it severely limits the selection. There are other options however, many small towns also have chain hardware stores, auto parts stores, and other places one can find things like windshield wipers, paint, rakes, and the like.

Is the absence of a mega-mall really a negative thing? In truth, many small towns actually do have a mall of sorts.

Cost of living is less, but so is the pay, however you still come out ahead. I bought an 1800 sq ft brick ranch house for $85,000. My wife's cousin lives in LA and said our house would go for $260,000 in his area. There is no way that I could get a job that would make up that kind of difference without becoming involved in the entertainment biz.

Concerts don't come around here very often, mainly bands who’s last hit was in 1988. But that's a good thing for those that want to cut back on spending. If I lived in a big city I would constantly be tempted to go see bands that may or may not be worth the money. If I go to a concert now, It takes 2-3 hours of driving, so I have to really want to see them. Or win free tickets! (Hasn’t happened yet.)

With internet, cable and satellite TV, there isn't much in the way of home comforts that are denied in small towns.

Overall, one comes out ahead in a small town, unless you feel compelled to drive to the city to do your shopping. Many people here head towards a town 45 minutes away that is about 75,000 people, around 3 times our size. We never leave town for shopping. There really isn’t anything that we need that isn’t here.

I would like to encourage business to consider the pluses of small town life, and instead of relocating to a megalopolis, promoting the pluses of getting away. Towns of 10,000-75,000 within two hours of a major city are all over the place. Pick one with a college or university and there is more likely to be a culture that many people like.

Small town living is also more green. Less driving, means less fuel to burn. Where I live is 4 blocks from the elementary school, and 10 blocks from work, so I walk or ride a bike most of the year.

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