Five reasons why you should try living in a small town

This post originally appeared here.

Whether you call it Jimmy Stewart’s hometown, the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, or just by it’s name — Indiana, Pa. — it’s a small town. And guess what? That doesn’t suck.ChristmasTreeCountySign

People thought I was crazy when I decided to stay in Indiana after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012. I remember nights downtown with friends drinking to “getting out of here” and “moving to the city.” Almost five years later, Indiana has become more than just the town I went to college in – it’s become my home.

Here are some reasons why living in a small town is actually pretty great:

1. Knowing your neighbors

Some people prefer their privacy, and while I can appreciate needing space, I think it’s great to have a relationship with the people around you. Now, I’m not saying that my neighbors and I are hanging out every day, but it’s nice that they’re around for a cup of sugar (yes, I just went 1960 on you) when you need it; to grab your mail when you go on vacation and to be “that cool house” that your cat disappears to during the day.

2. Knowing, well, everyone

Indiana has about 14,000 people in it, so obviously I don’t know everyone. But when I go to the grocery store, to grab gas or just when I’m out walking the dogs, I’m likely to see someone I know, and they’re liking to strike up a conversation.

And, the town I grew up in, Susquehanna Depot, has just over 1,600 people in it. You want to talk about knowing everyone? Around there, people know when you go to pee.

3. Community-based events and activities

Every season in Indiana has awesome community events, like Concerts in the Park and wine tastings in the summer, and big events like the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival in the winter. And depending on where you live, you can probably walk there, too.

Oh, and if you’re looking for events – check this out.


4. Community support

Because I help manage the local newspaper’s website and social media accounts, I get to see first-hand when the community steps up to help one of their own. Whether it’s a house fire, a car accident or a sudden illness, there is always someone in the community that starts a benefit, a GoFundMe account or finds some other way to help others in need. It’s really a wonderful thing to watch.

5. The option to go elsewhere

A benefit of a small town is that even though you don’t necessarily need to leave town to get the necessities, you sometimes have to travel further to get the things you want. And that’s not a bad thing. Getting out and exploring other places is important. But don’t get me wrong, I always support shopping local.

It’s nice to be able to go to Pittsburgh whenever I want and enjoy city life without having to live there.


Moral of the story: Living in a small town isn’t terrible, like most 20-somethings think. In fact, it’s pretty wonderful. (Dare I say “It’s a Wonderful Life?”)

Will I live in Indiana forever? Who knows. But I can tell you that I’m loving every minute of this chapter of my life in Small Town USA.


Don't knock small-town living before you try it.

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  1. Chanel van Reenen

    It has always been my dream to live in a small town! I love the quietness of them!

  2. I live in the mid-west where small towns are the norm. Personally I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have traveled and see the world, coming back to our small town is always the best. We are not hicks or uneducated people just because we live in a small town.

  3. I grew up in a small town and I’ve always appreciated it. While my town wasn’t small enough to necessarily know everyone, there was such a endearing vibe about recognizing people when you were out and about. Plus you get grass! And the cost of living! I currently live in a suburb of Washington DC and what these people pay for their small houses with their small yards blows my mind!

    As a 20 something, I would love to live in a small town again to be honest.

  4. Mmm – I wish! I currently live in DC but would love to move back to my small home town I grew up in. Although I do have to say, my church community makes DC feel like a small home town.

  5. I like how you mention that living in a smaller town allows you to really benefit from the community, whether that be a house fire, car accident, or sudden illness. In my opinion, in a small town the community would be especially supportive of public schools and local government as well. I will have to look more for real estate for sale in a tight knit city.

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