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Old 05-31-2011, 09:36 PM
Location: Poplarville, Mississippi
119 posts, read 323,697 times
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Me and my boyfriend have been looking all over the South for good small towns to start a family in, but most of these towns have populations in the 13-17,000 range. I am from Mississippi in a town of about 45,000 when I was growing up, an his town has about 15,000. We live in Hattiesburg now which is a well sized city for MS (over 100,000 in metro), and we love country life. My neighbors have been telling me about some very quaint, beautiful, charming, picturesque small towns located all around Mississippi. The populations range from 700-3,000. At first I thought these were way to small, but what is it like in these towns? They seem very intriguing now, how everyone knows everyone and the sense of community. do people ever move to towns like this? I know people from towns like this, and most of them say the towns are pretty nice. So can someone tell me what it is like living in towns like this?

Thanks y'all!
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:49 PM
7,100 posts, read 24,815,346 times
Reputation: 7335
Living in a small town is exactly like living in subdivision with about the same number of people. If it doesn't have what you need within it's borders, you have to drive somewhere to get it. If you can't find work within, then you drive to the larger city.

Everyone will probably know a goodly number of the homeowners. The biggest difference would probably be the amount of available land if it's in a farming area.

Over the years, a community spirit and common goals would have developed. Some small towns do not welcome new comers. Others do. It will depend.

Yon need to figure out why it is a small town. If it's backward because no one values education or was it larger and now it's going down hill. Maybe it small because it's just starting and expects a lot of new growth.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:29 AM
Location: interior Alaska
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I currently live in (well, near, I'm out in the woods) a town of less than 1,000. Because it's pretty far from other communities, it's got most of the amenities - grocery store, hardware store, clinic, etc. Everyone pretty much knows everyone else (or at least knows your family or friends within a degree of separation), so it's pretty gossipy, which conversely means that people really, really value their privacy when it comes to personal matters. People move here (hell, I moved here) but the population stays pretty steady due to people leaving for school, work, fleeing the weather, whatever. The pace of live is extremely slow. I like it here, but I can see where a person who likes things livelier - or someone who isn't into making nice - wouldn't do too well.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:31 AM
Location: Minnesota
4,140 posts, read 5,475,648 times
Reputation: 4908
I live in a town of 700 folks. It seems like you know just about everyone and everyone knows you. A friendly wave comes from every passing car. When I shop or go to any store I'm treated almost like a family member. Now I don't know everyone but I've only been here four years. It's nice to be able to relax, let your guard down, so to speak - as you feel safe in this type of environment. Anytime I'm out walking there will be a conversation with another local, for sure. It could be small talk, something pressing about the community or it could be current events...

I don't feel isolated, never lonely. I love the quiet that comes with it. We watch out for each other around here and help out when ever necessary. Of course the pace is slower but it makes it easier to enjoy. Living here is great, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:45 PM
Location: Branson, Missouri
7,290 posts, read 17,464,634 times
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I live in a small mountain town in NM of about 350 people full time and 600 part timers.
As far as community goes, when something goes wrong, like for instance we had a big forest fire a couple of years ago and it nearly burned our town up. Fortunatley, the wind wasn't blowing and the fire was contained before it burned everything up. We all pulled together, we helped each other, 2 people had their homes burn to the ground. It was the greatest pull of the people I've ever seen. I've lived in a lot of places and I think living in a small area has it's advantages.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:37 PM
Location: Middle America
37,222 posts, read 43,430,711 times
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My hometown has 350 people, and apart from a bar that only serves drinks, no food (except maybe a frozen pizza made in a toaster oven if you're nice to the bartender, the only other business is a grain elevator/crop productions services office. There is a post office and a volunteer fire department. There is a city park that takes up about 1/8 of the area of the town, one whole corner. Apart from that, there is a lot of corn and soybeans, and nothing much else until you get about 14 miles away, and then there's a town of 7,000 that has things my hometown lacks, like schools, limited retail, a newspaper office, a hospital, several manufacturing facilities, railroad station, dining options, grocery stores, hardware stores, doctors, dentists, attorneys, banks, and access to interstate highways and freight lines.

My hometown used to be a tiny, tightly knit community of families who all knew and took care of one another, home to merchants and small businesses...enough to serve the population...this was true up through my early childhood, I'm told, in the late 1970s. In the 70s, the schools there and in other small surrounding farm villages were closed, and everyone was bused to a consolidated school district. The community began to become unattractive for families, due to there not being local schools...when that happened, businesses started closing up. The farm crisis of the 80s hit, and even more people who'd made their livelihood in the local agricultural industry left, having lost family farms, and faced with having to farm their former land as tenants or find other employment. As people left, they were replaced mostly by the type of people who choose a community based on the fact that law enforcement is seldom seen (place has no municipal police, and is occasionally patrolled by county officials, but it's so off the beaten path, they never come unless called. You get a lot of deadbeats, shady characters, people who are hiding out, meth heads, etc. The decline is a real shame.

I have a deep love of small towns...but the tiniest of them are fragile. My hometown was once a proud community, now it is seedy and dilapidated. When you only have a couple of hundred people, it's far easier for a few bad apples not only to ruin the bunch, but to become the pervasive norm, very easily. In a community only slightly larger, just a couple of thousand, you are more likely to have a slightly more diverse cross section to balance things out.

The book Denison, Iowa: Searching for The Soul of America Through the Secrets of a Midwest Town, written by Pulitzer-winning journalist Dale Maharidge, gives a pretty decent slice of life regarding living in a small community. A good read, for those who are interested.
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:57 AM
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,215 posts, read 17,169,146 times
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I live in a county with a total population of about 10,000. The county seat is just over 1,000 people, and there are several communities with between 200-600 folks. Most of the towns are thriving in their own way; many of these little towns still have a bank, grocery store, and hardware store, and at least one repair shop. There are a couple of towns in the northern part of the county that are close enough to a bigger town with major retailers that they haven't been able to maintain any business services, these towns seem to be barely hanging on and don't have much character or community spirit anymore.

My town curretnly has a population of about 40 people. We're in a beautiful area on the side of a hill overlooking a state wildlife management area, but we're a long way from anything. We have a small motel geared to hunters and fishermen, a repair shop that sells chain saws, and a bar and grill that serves huge tenderloins that people drive from iles away for. That's it. If you need a gallon of milk, a pound of nails, or a pair of work jeans you have to drive 8 miles. If you need underwear or a television you have to go 30 miles.
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