small town business area with quaint shops

How to Decide if You Should Move to a Small Town

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The Corona Virus Keeps People Home

We have spoken before about places to take a real vacation instead of going to a land based casino.  In this article, we will talk a little about what people should look for if they are seriously thinking about relocating to a small town in the aftermath of the corona virus crisis.

Why Would People Wish to Relocate?

First, many people are successfully working from home as their offices are shuttered because of the virus.  If they can work from home during the crisis, why can’t they work from home after the virus has run its course?  In fact, for many people, distance working will quickly become the norm rather than the exception.

In addition, many people who live in big cities now see the cities in a slow spiral downward.  So many businesses have closed for good that it will take many years for the cities to recover.  In the meantime, cities are experiencing rising crime as police forces are being downsized, especially in the United States.

Third, many people live in big cities but grew up in much smaller communities.  In the United States especially, small town life has been romanticized for many years even as many people left them when they came of age and factories closed.  There has always been a strong small town sense in the United States.

Some big cities are actually called big cities with a small town atmosphere.  New York City and Los Angeles are not examples but Chicago is.  Chicago is known as the city of neighborhoods but even so the city has been losing population for at least 40 years and the movement away from the inner city is growing.

Moving is Not the Same as Taking a Vacation

This one is obvious but it bears repeating because of the romantic sense of small town life that many people have.  So, what are the main priorities families should emphasize when they are looking for a small town to move to?

What is a Small Town?

Before we answer the question we raised above, we really should discuss what a small town actually is.  Some would say that any town of less than 25,000 people is a small town.  Some would define a small town as having a much smaller population while some would go as high as 100,000 in population and still consider it to be a small town.

We feel that whatever size you think you want is fine.  The priorities are the same whether the town is minuscule or big enough to have traffic congestion twice a day!

Here are a few priorities we feel you should investigate as you look for a small town to relocate to:

  1. Low crime rate.
  2. Excellent schools.
  3. Some night life.
  4. An entrepreneurial class of people.
  5. Closeness to a big city.
  6. Outdoor activities.
  7. Reasonable weather.
  8. Good medical services.


Whether you are moving as an individual or as a family, the number one priority should be low crime.  Crime comes in two forms: property crime and violet crime.  It will take some research to find a short list of small towns with low crime rate that for other reasons, including the low crime rate, you might choose to relocate there.

Crime is far from the only parameter to consider but it should be parameter number one.

Why Night Life is Important

This could be a pub with live music.  It could be a local theater company.  If you can act at all, you might join the local theater group.  Even if you don’t act, you can take a part in these amateur theater productions.

Night life gets people out of the house and the lockdowns have shown us in dramatic form just how important it is for people to have somewhere to go.  Many people remember the days before universal air conditioning when neighbors would sit outside on those warm and muggy nights just talking about nothing.

Getting out of the house is very important.

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Outdoor Activities and Reasonable Weather

These go hand in hand.  Some online sites that talk about relocation are extolling the virtues of Fairbanks, Alaska.  We think that as much as Fairbanks offers in the way of outdoor activities he weather is so far from reasonable that we don’t put it on our list of possible relocation spots.

In addition, the mosquitos in the area in the summer are as bad as the cold in the winter!

Outdoor activities should include playgrounds for the kids, hiking, and some access to water sports.  You might prefer the mountains for hiking or the seashore but being able to get outdoors easily is the key point.

Local Entrepreneurs

A small but active local entrepreneurial class will establish small businesses that will breathe life into the town.  Depending on the location and the types of small businesses, they might attract tourists which will open up even more opportunities for other small businesses.

The Importance of being Close to a Big City

A small town cannot provide everything you have always enjoyed in big city life.  You want to relocate to someplace smaller and quieter but you are not yet ready to give up on all of the amenities of a big city.  Even one hour from a very big city, you will be in a low density or even rural environment.

And you will be just one hour from the city where there are (or will be as soon as this pandemic ends) many more opportunities for night life and extra-work activities.

Access to Good Medical Services

Services in general from electrical to plumbing to asphalting and many others are all important but none is more important than medical services.  Find out about the local doctors, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and so on.  You wouldn’t want to relocate to a town where the doctor is about to retire or the hospital is far away and doesn’t have a great reputation.

Avoid Towns Close to Casinos

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