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A rural landscape in autumn A rural landscape in autumn

Should you live in a city or the country?

Published on April 16, 2024

What’s involved in country living vs. city living? They are fundamentally different, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Beyond the obvious things that quickly come to mind, here’s what you need to know when deciding whether to settle in a rural or urban setting.


Comparing urban and rural living

Living in the city gives access to a large job pool, a wide variety of entertainment and all services, but the population density can be irritating. In the countryside, the tranquility, open spaces and abundant nature are undeniable advantages, but access to services is often more limited. The decision to settle in one place over the other depends on personal preference in terms of lifestyle and priorities.

3 advantages of living in the city

Although they can vary by city, here are the main advantages of living in an urban environment.

1. Job opportunities

Large cities (Gatineau, Laval, Lévis, Longueuil, Montréal, Québec City, Saguenay, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Sherbrooke, Terrebonne and Trois-Rivières) tend to offer more employment opportunities. The number and types of job will vary according to the size of the city, its location, the local economy and the dominant areas of activity.

There is often a wider range of industries, which means more options for different types of work. In addition, cities offer easier access to professional networks, educational institutions and other resources that make it easier to find a job.

A city street with pedestrians and commercial buildings

2. Access to services

Cities generally offer tons of services to meet the needs of their residents: public transport, schools, universities, healthcare centres, retail shops and more. These amenities improve the quality of life and attract many people from rural areas, as well as people from other countries.

3. Vibrant cultural life

Urban areas offer a lively cultural life and a variety of entertainment, from renowned museums to independent art galleries, avant-garde theatres to small comedy clubs and concert halls to bars with live music. There are many festivals, exhibitions and shows to choose from, giving city dwellers and visitors access to a host of events. There is always something new to discover, whether in the visual arts or on the musical or theatre scene.

3 disadvantages of living in the city

Living in an urban environment can also have some disadvantages, which vary in intensity depending on the city.

1. Cost of living

Living in an urban setting is generally much more costly than in a rural or suburban area. Rent is one of the main household expenses. Food prices may also be higher than in other areas. Public transport costs can take a big chunk of your budget. Also, be sure to factor in entertainment costs, which can add up.

2. Population density

Most cities are densely populated, which leads to problems like traffic and lack of privacy. Added to these sources of stress is the ambient noise. The outdoor spaces in cities are limited in size, compared to the sprawling countryside, so they don’t offer as many opportunities for outdoor activities.

A house on a country road in summer

The advantages of living in the country

  1. Quiet and calm The countryside is peaceful, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, and therefore good for mental and emotional health. Residents enjoy a slower pace of life, direct access to nature, picturesque landscapes, green spaces and abundant wildlife.
  2. Tight-knit communities Country dwellers often have a greater sense of solidarity and mutual support. Social support and a sense of belonging are among the values of country living.
  3. Cost of living Living in the country and in small towns gives your wallet a break with generally more affordable real estate prices, services and products.
  4. Wide open spaces The countryside is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts: hiking, cycling, fishing and many other recreational activities are practiced in an untouched natural environment. As a bonus, the fresh country air is usually less polluted than in urban areas.

The disadvantages of living in the country

  1. Distance from services Rural dwellers may have to travel significant distances to access hospitals, schools, stores and public transport. Also, in many cases, homeowners are in charge of their own water supply and waste management systems (i.e., a well and septic tank).
  2. Limited employment opportunities With fewer companies and industries on their territory, it is more difficult for people in rural areas to find a job nearby that matches their skills and interests.
  3. Dependence on cars Without an efficient public transport system, people in the country are more dependent on cars to get around, which leads to additional costs and environmental concerns.
Bird’s-eye view of houses dotting the countryside

Leaving the city to live in the country

Leaving the city for the country is a transition to tranquility and simplicity. Busy intersections are replaced with bucolic landscapes. Going back to basics, far from the crowded spaces and noise of the city means a slower pace of life and a deeper connection with nature.

Moving to a rural area

Moving to a rural area is a big change in living environment. In these less populated areas, the pace is slower, you have more direct contact with nature and housing costs are often more affordable.

Finding a property in the country

Rural areas mainly have single-family homes and hobby farms. You can find one by searching by region or village.  If you’ve decided to take the plunge, read the following article for tips on saving on your move.

A woman rides a bike in the city

Leaving the country to live in the city

Leaving the country for the city is a radical change in lifestyle, starting with adapting to smaller spaces. Nature and vast horizons give way to urban settings and lively downtown areas. Your routine and social interactions will change. New avenues, paved with challenges, will open up to you.

Buying a property in the city

Some of the types of properties available in cities include condominiums and single-family homes. You can use the search filters on the DuProprio.com website to search according to desired location, desired space and budget. This way, you can find options that meet your needs and preferences.

Now that you have all the information you need to make a decision, all you have to do is book your moving truck and plan your move to the setting of your choosing!

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