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Old 11-28-2012, 05:58 PM
1 posts, read 2,487 times
Reputation: 10


Hi there-

After what seems like a million google searches I can't seem to find the particular information that i'm looking for.

I am currently married to a Military man, we have a son and a new baby girl, and are living in Washington DC. I am hoping to get more of a "family" atmosphere, especially since i'm hoping to have more children. I have been researching tons of "small towns" (Under 2000 pop.) and found a couple that seem nice.
I really, really, really would like to live somewhere where everyone kind of knows eachother, a close knit community basically. Due to my husband's job promotion, we will be staying stationary so I want to find a home in a town that we can stay in through the children's young lives.

My only question is how small does the town have to be to be considered a "good area" for kids.
I am considering Laytonsville, Maryland (Population around 300) and Cottage City, Maryland (Population around 1300)

Which one would be better for what i'm looking for? Is 1300 too big to be the small town feel i'm looking for? Is 300 too small for the kids to thrive.

Any thoughts would be wonderful.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:43 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
31,301 posts, read 50,609,311 times
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300 or 1,300? Either one might be nice, or they could be disaster.

I think that so long as you stay below 2,000 you doing good. The size of a town should not be the only thing to look at.

What about the crime-rate? The school system?

There is a lot to be said for sitting in a diner and talking to the locals.

"family" atmosphere, somewhere where everyone kind of knows each other, a close knit community for the kids to thrive.

Some small towns become over-taken by drug use / drug trade. Not all, thankfully not my town [pop 250], but it does happen in some towns.

To me 'children thriving' means outside play and exploring, using their imagination, avoiding video games and TV. You need elbow room for that; meadows to pick berries in, creeks to swim and fish in. When places become too urbanized, children can not be allowed to run and explore. meadows with berries disappear in favor of tract-housing. Fishing holes get posted, etc.

No matter where you live, the responsibility will always be on you as parent, whether you allow electronic baby-sitters [video games, TV] or not.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:28 AM
Location: Under the Redwoods
3,748 posts, read 6,332,520 times
Reputation: 6037
My children were raised in what would be considered a small rural community. It was a community of multiple small towns ranging in population from around 300 to 1,500 and maybe the whole population that utilized the 'hub town' was maybe 5-6,000 people. All the children from the area attend the same school. Graduating classes are about 60 students. The friendships my children have made will be life long. There is a sense of security and stability in that I think. I envy my children's friendships for I have nothing from my childhood and as an only child, I could have used a psudo-sister.
However, not all kids take to small town life once older. It really depends on how close a 'big city' is and what sort of action there is for them. When they are older they will need things to do. And I'm a little concerned. You say small town when they are young. Will you move them out of that small town at some point? At what age? I know it's me, but taking them away from an environment that your children have real roots in would be painful.
We had to leave our small community when my youngest was in the 5th grade. We did not go too far so she was able to visit friends back 'home'. We moved to a larger town that had a small town attitude which was nice. In the 3.5 years there, my daughter developed new friendships, more friendships that will last and she was so miserable when it came time to move away again.
My oldest child has stayed where he was raised, his brother has joined the Coast Guard, but will be returning 'home' (next station is 2.5 hours from his hometown) in May. My daughter, not so much attached to the area.
So it all depends on a lot of things. I like a small town, but they do have their problems. I also like rural living outside of a large town (pop. 10,000).
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:27 PM
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,728,423 times
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Submariner and I have butted head on the forum before, but his post here is 100% spot on. It isn't the size of the town alone that makes it a good place to raise kids. My little town has about 1200 people; but most importantly it has a real sense of community, great schools, and low crime. I grew up here and couldn't wait to leave and see the real World, as soon as I saw the real World I missed this place. As soon as I had kids of my own, I moved back here because of the exact things you are also looking for.

Go to a town meeting, visit the school DURING school times. Look at the way the teachers and kids interact in the halls and the look on the kids faces. Gloomy and angry... move on; happy and smiling, look deeper for the other important things. Don't discount a school because it doesn't have the highest test scores, there may be a very good reason. The schools here didn't have the highest scores in this area, but when talking to the Superintendent (easy to do in small Districts) he made it very clear that each student was encouraged to learn to the very best of their abilities and if that fell in line with the standardized test that was a bonus, but if it didn't, the District could hold it's head up high and be proud in the fact that each student is treated as an individual and got the very best education they could. Remember a good student will excel in any school, and a bad student will fail in any school; no matter what the standardized test scores are in either place.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:48 PM
192 posts, read 303,218 times
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When I decided where to go I tried to compare numbers. Think of it as, how many kids are in your sons school now. The amount of parents there are. Do you know them all? are there too many or would you know them all if there were more? Also, I dont believe a town can be too small and if you are worried about friends, as long as you are willing to take them to play a sport in a nearby bigger town once a week to meet more people I think you would be fine picking the smaller town. after all, a small town can get bigger, if you move into a town where the population is perfect for you, how big is it going to be in 20 years? will your privacy and peace be invaded?
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:52 PM
18,847 posts, read 32,460,924 times
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There are a lot of small towns, with no kids. The older folks have stayed, no jobs, so younger folks moved on. So, see if there is an elementary school and how far is the high school? Maybe a larger town, like 5000 can still feel "small", but has more population base for school activities.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:27 PM
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,705 posts, read 64,673,694 times
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Originally Posted by spencerstone85 View Post
I am considering Laytonsville, Maryland (Population around 300)...
Any thoughts would be wonderful.
Don't confuse suburbs with small towns (regardless of the legal specifics)

Laytonsville is in a 2000 people per square mile suburban county and only 22 miles from DC.
(Montgomery County 500 : 1,000,000)
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