Two-thirds of the world’s population live in cities. That number has increased with globalization. But is city living as exciting as its fans claim? Living in a bustling city has perks and pitfalls. If you want to move into one, weigh them first.
The Positive Impact of City Living
Without a doubt, living in a city has selling points. These advantages are why people come to major metropolises like New York or Los Angeles in droves.
1. City life is efficient
That you can get what you want, at a near-instant is a draw. The fast pace of city life means that things are efficient and prompt. It is suitable for those who need things done at once.
2. Living in the city is safer
Many city dwellers avoid walking home, fearing that they would become victims of crime. But they have no cause for worry. According to the New York Police Department, crime and traffic accident rates are higher in the country than in the city.
Though the risk of homicide is greater in towns than in the countrysides, take heart. Murder rates in urban areas have declined. New York had 414 murders in 2012. This rate is low, considering its population of over 8 million residents.
Further, statistics show that it is safer to ride a cab in the city than in the country.
3. Obesity Rates Are Low
Note, too, that obesity rates are higher in rural areas than in cities. The Rural Assistance Center reveals that the amount of walking in urban areas leads to people staying trim and fit.
4. Small Carbon Footprint
You may think that your carbon footprint would be lower in the country than in the city. Debunk that notion. A report by the International Institute for the Environment and Development suggests that greenhouse gas emissions are lower in the towns than in rural areas.
They attribute it to increased walking and easy access to transport in metropolises.
What are the negatives of city living? Though these findings are gratifying, city life has its pitfalls.
1. City Weakens Your Mental Health
Urbanites, beware. According to studies, city living plays with your mind. Urban dwellers have a 21% higher risk of developing anxiety disorders than people living in the country. Further, your likelihood of developing mood disorders will increase by 39% if you move to the city.
A 2011 study reveals that urban-dwelling may increase weaken your resistance to stress. It increases activity in your Amygdala, the neuron that processes it.
According to Lifehack, some psychologists blame these statistics on the tall buildings in city areas. Many people find cityscapes boring compared with country scenes. The exposure to tall buildings, together with demand jobs, makes city folk susceptible to boredom.
Psychologist Colin Ellard made some city folk wear skin conductors. They allowed his researchers to tell when participants felt excited. The researchers brought them to a restaurant and a whole foods building. Ellard noticed that their boredom increased at the Whole Foods building than at the packed restaurant.
Further, a dull city environment can bring on socially-induced ADHD. It makes a person fidget and make impulsive decisions.
City life weakens your immune system. A study published in the US Library of Medicine assessed 1300 older adults with rhinitis. In urban and rural areas. The people from urban areas had stronger allergic reactions to tests than those from the countrysides.
2. The frantic pace of living is stressful
The pace of life is faster in a city than in a rural area. A 1999 study published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology measured city dwellers’ walking speed. As expected, the people in developed countries walked faster than in less developed ones.
3. You put up with unhealthy air pollution
It is official. The pollution in cities may jeopardize your health. A 2013 study measured how urban pollution affected adults in Rome. It focused on two conventional pollutants, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter. The researchers found that pollutants increased death rates.
4. Living in the city disrupts your sleep
The bright lights of the big city are attractive, but keep you awake at night. Research available in Chronobiol International showed that city dwellers had a higher propensity for jetlag than those who lived in the countrysides. They experienced shifts in their sleep schedules and consequently, high rates of obesity.
5. You put up with noise pollution
Traffic noise and constant shouts, prevalent in cities, can infuriate you. Research published in the European Heart Journal found that traffic noise triggered an increased risk of death. Researchers studied 8.5 million Londoners over nine years. It found that exposure to the noise raised cardiovascular mortality rates.
6. People are uncaring
City dwellers tend to experience the Bystander Effect, a phenomenon associated with city living. It got the name after the murder of Kitty Genovese, who suffered multiple stabbings while neighbors, or “bystanders,” watched. Another 1968 study of young men in smoke-filled rooms showed that they avoided reported the smoke if they were in groups.
So, should you live in the city?
Being an urbanite has some perks. But these are insignificant when you weigh the pros and cons.