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Old 01-23-2016, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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A town of several million meets my needs just fine: World class live opera, etc., etc., etc. Yes, I am aware of the disadvantages, traffic congestion being the major one. But for me the advantages FAR outweigh the disadvantages.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
A town of several million meets my needs just fine: World class live opera, etc., etc., etc. Yes, I am aware of the disadvantages, traffic congestion being the major one. But for me the advantages FAR outweigh the disadvantages.


That's really what it boils down to for everyone whether your preference is large or small.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:31 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
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I live in a town of 35,000.

Retiring here would be a disaster for most folks, but that's because nearly everyone here is from here. Newcomers find themselves forced to sit through gatherings where the subject of conversation is often about people the newcomer doesn't know. I can barely tolerate the mind-numbing purposeless gossip coming from my own wife and stepdaughters. I can imagine what it is like for true outsiders.

So for me, the issue is not so much the size of the population, but what percentage of the population have roots in the area. The more rooted the population, the worse it is to me.
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:21 PM
 
6,625 posts, read 3,756,268 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezerrunner View Post
This is a question I have been thinking about for a few weeks, and I am sure people have different opinions.
My premise is that there is a compromise to be made between the attractions of a larger city, but the higher costs of real estate, greater congestion, traffic jams and crime, and the quiet life in a smaller community which may be more friendly but may lack some of the facilities you need or want.

Here are a few observations that occurred to me.

Towns under 10,000 population:

Typically no hospital, just a clinic.
No big box stores- you may have to go to the city to buy a dishwasher or tv set.
Poor choice of restaurants, just a few fast food franchises.
Often no car dealers, or just one or two. Prices may be high as no competition.
Small public library, or perhaps none.

On the plus side:

Housing prices typically lower as weak local job market.
No parking meters, or traffic jams.
Friendly neighbours and you get to know people in stores.

Towns 25,000 to 100,000 population:

A few independent and ethnic restaurants.
Churches of various faiths and denominations.
Fair sized hospital but probably not offering a specialized cancer or cardiac unit.
More entertainment options- movie theatre, festivals, sports teams.

Towns of 250,000 population or more:

Good highway access, but much more traffic.
Local theatre group, art gallery, wide range of book stores etc.
All major ethnic restaurants, a variety of pubs and bars.
Regional indoor shopping mall, big box sores, all major car dealers have franchises locally.

but:
Higher housing costs, property taxes, less friendly.

So what do you think is the ideal size town for retirement?
I would prefer a big city, but I've decided on a mid-sized city (100,000 - 200,000), mainly because of cost of living. I think it'll be Tyler, TX (but maybe Lafayette, LA, now that we've had a death in the family in La. so that I may want to be closer to family).

Mid-sized cities will have almost all that a big city will have, but on a smaller scale, but with a few exceptions. Mid-sized city advantages:

1. Health care. Tyler TX is a retirement city. It has a largish medical complex, incl. a cancer center. Plus the cost of health care there is less than where I am (a big city). Lafayette also has all the health care specialists one would need. I can't get a handle on the cost, yet. EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE MID-SIZED CITIES, THEY HAVE COMPLETE AND GOOD HEALTH CARE.

2. Both mid-sized cities have local theatre groups.

3. Both mid-sized cities are very near big cities that have awesome plays, musicals, and events.

4. Both mid-sized cities have ethnic restaurants (tho not as many as a big city).

5. Both mid-sized cities have indoor shopping malls (Tyler has only one; Lafayette has more than one).

6. Both mid-sized cities have thrift and consignment shops.

7. Both mid-sized cities have a wealthy pop. that lives there (great for the consignment & thrift shops), as well as drawing good dept stores.

8. Both mid-sized cities have big box stores (Tyler has WalMart Supercenter, Home Depot, Sam's Club, Lowe's, etc.). Lafayette is larger than Tyler, so has at least what Tyler has.

9. Both mid-sized cities have name dept and other stores (Macy's, Pier One, etc.).

10. Both mid-sized cities have major car dealerships (Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc., but probably don't have things like BMW, Subaru).

11. Both mid-sized cities have excellent libraries (for checking out DVDs and books, maybe a book club)

12. Mid-sized cities will have some form of modest public transportation, like a bus system. (How useful it is to you is another matter.) They will also probably have a taxi company in town, but maybe only one.

13. Mid-sized cities will usu. have an airport, altho it will be small.


What mid-sized cities won't/don't have, usually:

1. Good public transportation (I would've liked to be able to get around via public transportation, should I ever get to the point of not being able to drive safely)

2. Hustling, bustling and excitement of a big city

3. Employment opportunities

4. Lots of groups where people get together to form walking or hiking groups, bicycling groups, etc. Like through meetup.com.

5. Diversity of political thought (mid-sized cities, at least where I'm looking, tend to be ultra conservative... I mean seriously ultra conservative, to the point where they don't accept others who aren't of a like mind).

6. Often don't have easy, fast access to major highways, for traveling. Tyler TX doesn't have a great highway to go to see my family in La., but it is just a few mins. off of I-20, a major highway-easy & fast to get to Dallas TX or Shreveport LA, the two closest big cities. Lafayette sits right on major highway I-10, which I can take as a straight shot to my home town. So a mid-sized city MIGHT be sitting on a major highway. It depends.

7. They don't have major hub airports. Flights tend to fly first to major hubs, then you transfer to complete your flight plan. This adds time and expense.


I think that big cities are as friendly, if not friendlier, than smaller cities. That's because they're used to people moving in and out regularly. Also, many of the people you meet will be newcomers themselves, or recently were. Small cities can be closed and not very accepting of newcomers. In my home town, the people have known each other for many years. They see no reason to go out of their way to become friends with newcomers.

People are more apt to know your business in small cities. If you get fired or get cancer, word will get around. Don't expect to keep secrets in a small city.


I'm moving to a mid-sized city. If there were a good large city with what I need, I would move there, but there's not. But a mid-sized city will work very well for me. I do not want to move to a smal city, for sure.

Last edited by bpollen; 01-23-2016 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:22 PM
 
6,504 posts, read 3,087,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
I live in a town of 35,000.

Retiring here would be a disaster for most folks, but that's because nearly everyone here is from here. Newcomers find themselves forced to sit through gatherings where the subject of conversation is often about people the newcomer doesn't know. I can barely tolerate the mind-numbing purposeless gossip coming from my own wife and stepdaughters. I can imagine what it is like for true outsiders.

So for me, the issue is not so much the size of the population, but what percentage of the population have roots in the area. The more rooted the population, the worse it is to me.

I agree and was thinking the same thing when someone posted they were moving out of a small town because they couldn't make friends. There are some tiny southern towns I could show up in and have friends almost immediately just by giving a local a check with my maiden name on it. They would tell me they knew so and so with that name, we'd establish they or their granddaddy knew my granddaddy and I would be in even though none of my relatives have lived their in 20-30 years. My Yankee husband would have to work harder at being accepted.


The town we retired to in Fl on the other hand, has a more varied population. Its not a typical retirement destination, but it and the University here were founded by a New Yorker and there are quite a few northerners here.....whether retired or came here young and decided to stay. Also, a smattering of immigants tied to the University. At any given social event I've been to its probably 40% native, 20% from somewhere else but here so long they almost have native status, 30% percent new retirees from mainly northeast and the rest foreign, recent immigrant. So, they are fairly welcoming of new people who make the effort to join in/fit in.


But youre right on with the gossip. We made an offer on our house sight unseen other than internet and having my sister check it out for me. Seller or the two realtors involved apparently told someone who told someone and I guess it was the talk of the town for a while. Two months after we moved in at a party on the totally opposite side of town, someone told me about these crazy people who bought a house online!


I personally, would not move to a small or very small town where I had nothing connecting me or that didn't have a fairly sizable population that was not native. I don't want to work that hard to make friends.
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Old 01-23-2016, 03:29 PM
 
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OP, great job of delineating what each size has to offer (but you forgot the increased traffic with major metro areas). I love how you included ethnic restaurants---that happens to very important to me since I don't like chains and prefer to eat authentic Asian. And with the way I cook/eat, I need access to places to markets with lots of produce of all varieties.

I try hard to not buy into the mindset that a little tiny burb will contain all the friends I could possibly want and a peaceful, satisfying way of life. Truth be told, when we used to travel, I was bored staying in a charming little town for a night or two! So now I live in metro Atlanta, where I have to work hard to find charm and friends and inner peace---but it IS all there and rewarding to find it!

Tomorrow, for example, I am going to see a live broadcast of the Bolshoi Ballet in a movie theater a mile away. I couldn't do that in a teeny town! Is the movie theater in a soulless mall? Yup! Will there be some traffic along the way? Most definitely (but hey, it's a mile--I can deal with it). But unless I live in a populated area, wouldn't be able to experience this. After the ballet, will go to an amazing farmer's market with stuff (and people) from all over the world, and then eat an Ethiopian restaurant. I couldn't do that if I moved to an isolated, less populated community. Tradeoffs, like others have pointed out.

Ironically, I am quite the introvert---but realize I can't/shouldn't move to a place with much less people!
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Old 01-23-2016, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Central IL
15,254 posts, read 8,548,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS35a View Post
I moved to a small town three years ago. I've found that you'll almost never make friends with the locals. If you're not from there, and you're not family... you don't exist.

I'm moving to a city of half a million now.
Very true - small town folk are only "friendly" with their own...and even then it's in a "bless their heart" kind of way. I'm from a town of 2,000 and I'll never go back to live there even though it's cheaper than dirt.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Finally escaped The People's Republic of California
11,119 posts, read 7,572,904 times
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I retired to the outskirts of a town of 200 and love the peace and quiet
Live 20 miles from town that has anything I want...
Not interested in plays and "culture"
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:06 PM
 
Location: it depends
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Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
I live in a small area of a county with over 4 million people. I have a small town lifestyle but nothing is more than a few miles away. I am sure most major metro areas have similar areas.
Best post in the thread. We snowbird in the greater Tampa Bay area, and one could enjoy all the amenities of this major metropolitan city while living in ANY of these situations: urban core, old suburbia, new gated suburbia, rural acreage, farm, small town, beach village, river front, bay front, gulf front. It's all here, take your pick.


Today we left our small town, traveled 10 miles to a Broadway traveling show, drove 15 miles to a waterfront restaurant for a lovely meal, drove 10 miles home to our small town. Big city medical facilities, small town festivals, everything in between. Small town hardware store? Check. Lowes/Home Depot? Check. Independent restaurants and chains as well.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:41 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,592 posts, read 3,677,435 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
I live in a town of 35,000.

Retiring here would be a disaster for most folks, but that's because nearly everyone here is from here. Newcomers find themselves forced to sit through gatherings where the subject of conversation is often about people the newcomer doesn't know. I can barely tolerate the mind-numbing purposeless gossip coming from my own wife and stepdaughters. I can imagine what it is like for true outsiders.

So for me, the issue is not so much the size of the population, but what percentage of the population have roots in the area. The more rooted the population, the worse it is to me.


Even larger towns will have that -- getting up toward 50,000. Almost everyone is related or knows the family tree of everyone else so you have to be cautious with what you say or who you choose to associate with. I had a secretary who was the wife of a deputy sheriff and had the goods on everyone.
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