Urban areas seem like the land where all dreams of a common person may come true. More opportunities, higher income, fancier lifestyle, and various other factors make moving to an urban area a long-term dream for many. Lately, there has been a shift in this dream plan. Counter urbanization or deurbanization is a process by which people migrate from urban to rural areas. The basic idea of this process is to move from densely populated cities to sparsely populated rural areas. The data calculated for counter urbanization is inversely related to urbanization. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published data in 2009 stating that people are migrating from cities with over 4 million to rural areas with a population of around 1-2 million. This process of counter urbanization takes place due to different causes across different parts of the world.
Let’s take a look at five reasons why city people are fleeing to rural areas:
- Communication Technology
In recent years, the growth of communications technology has made it easier for people to work in their rural communities instead of living in urban regions. With the widespread use of the internet, it is easier for rural areas to connect with urban civilizations. Hence, people living in rural communities can exploit certain employment opportunities. These opportunities can be executed through virtual communications without leaving the comfort of their homes.
In an article posted in 2019, The Washington Post wrote – “Over the last 20 years, in fact, home broadband in the U.S. has witnessed one of the fastest adoptions of new technology ever seen.” The increasing adaptation of Internet Services makes it easy for people to choose to work from their homes.
- Simpler Lifestyle
People who are not born and brought up in urban areas usually find it difficult to adjust to a metropolitan area’s lifestyle. Further, being away from home to start your career in a densely populated region can be scary. The struggles of smaller spaces to live, busy roads, public transports, and pollution are not appealing. As a result, people choose to retire back to the rural communities they come from once they are content with their work in urban areas.
Nobody wants to live their later days struggling through the crowds of concrete jungles. For a far more peaceful living, people choose to flee urban areas in their later days. According to the Center for Urban Design and Mental Health – “Cities are associated with higher rates of most mental health problems compared to rural areas: an almost 40% higher risk of depression, over 20% more anxiety, and double the risk of schizophrenia, in addition to more loneliness, isolation, and stress.”
- Cost of Living
There is a large difference in the cost of living in urban areas as compared to rural areas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics posted an article titled “Expenditures of Rural and Urban Households in 2011.” According to this article, Americans in urban areas spend USD 17,226 on housing, while those living in rural areas spend USD 12,115.
Further, urban households spent 28% more on food, away from home, but 5% less on food at home compared to rural households. Finally, urban families eat out more than rural households on a weekly basis. Transportation costs, however, were different according to the needs of the community as rural communities spend more on trucks, used cars, and oil and gasoline.
On the contrary, urban areas spent more on public transport to go to work, schools, and vacations. Thus the overall expenses of basic necessities are higher in urban areas. Although incomes are higher in urban areas, the high cost of living reduces the overall savings of households. This factor persuades people to move to rural communities.
For people who moved from rural communities to urban areas, the idea of going back to the comfort of their homes is appealing. The availability of opportunities to do the work they have been doing in urban areas by living in their rural homes is motivation enough for them to move back to their homes. As far as urban households are concerned, more living space and better living conditions are attractive factors. The idea of a comfortable living makes fleeing to rural areas an exciting journey for them.
- Climatic Conditions
Climate Change is a serious concern the entire world is facing. With rising temperatures and increased pollutants, crowded areas are not feasible environments for one’s health. For the older population, the struggle of walking through polluted air seems unnecessary.
Further, with the recent COVID-19 Global Pandemic, multiple families from urban areas have fled to rural areas. In addition, since cities across the United States had explosive transmission rates, families moved to rural places for health-related precautions. Finally, better water and food quality make it a good option for people stressed and irritated with living an urban life.
Considering the recent turn of events the world has faced, the opportunity for social distancing and a healthier lifestyle seems like the option of choice. A cleaner environment and better quality air and resources are what the world needs to get past this crisis.