I have lived in Miami for the large majority of my life, and as such I have become accustomed to this beach and city lifestyle. I have always found it interesting to look into what characteristics people have depending on where they are from, so I have been speaking to a lot of friends recently to find out their take on how their environment when growing up has affected them. I spoke last week with my buddy Daniel DeKoter, he used to be my next door neighbor in my birth town of Osceola County in Iowa, a very small town indeed. Whilst I headed for urban life, Daniel stayed put and loves it, here is his take on what benefits being raised in a small town can bring.
A point which I certainly agree with Daniel on is that in many corners of the world the sense of community has been heavily eroded, leaving behind it higher crime figures, higher divorce rates, higher levels of mental health and general a colder world. Of course there are times when a disaster hits and the world clubs together, take 9/11 for example, but generally speaking community spiritedness is on the decline. Being residents of Osceola County in Iowa, with its population of just under 7,000, means that we are very much a community and that really means a lot to families and young children.
Daniel went to college in New York so he knows what he is talking about when he compares living in a big city with living in a small town. One aspect which Dan points out is that the stress levels when you live in a big city are far higher than if you do live in a small town. This is because there is a significant reduction of noise levels, contamination, hustle and bustle and general chaos when you move to a small town like Osceola County. It is true, my experience of people here in Miami for example is very different from those who live in quieter towns, they are more receptive, they have more time for you and they generally appear to be happier individuals.
A really key point in the debate between small town and big city is the level of safety from a crime perspective. To put this in to context, a car was stolen in Osceola County last year, and the culprit was found within 3 hours of the car going missing, because everyone knew who’s car it was, where it went to, and who was driving it. The large percentage of crimes which take place in the USA happen in big cities and in inner-city areas. Even know in Osceola County, children play outdoors unattended, doors are left unlocked and there is a real sense of safety around the place which you simply couldn’t find in a big city.
What do you prefer, big city or small town?