How To Choose A New City To Live In

Choosing a new city to live in can be one of the most exhilarating – and stressful – choices you make in your life.When your current city or town has become comfortable, it’s understandable to feel cautious about striking out in a new place. Will you like your new stomping grounds? What happens if you struggle to make friends or find a job? Your comfort zone may feel safe, but it can end up backfiring on you if you’re not careful.Choosing the right city for you will take a little research and a smidgen of bravery, but you’ll be glad you took the plunge. We’re going to break down the parts and pieces that go into finding a compatible new home below.

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An Overview of American Moving Habits

While moving statistics have seen a dip thanks to the pandemic, Americans are still a mobile bunch at the best of times.

 

Did you know the average American will move nearly twelve times in their lifetime? A Census report back in 2019 found around 31 million people moving across the country, an impressive volume that has fluctuated only a little during the pandemic.

Some of the most common reasons Americans move to a new city are:

  • Job opportunities
  • Raising a family
  • Moving back in with family
  • Personal enrichment
  • Emergency reasons

Learning how to choose the right city for you means breaking each location down into a few working parts. The first question you should ask is…

#1: What’s the Cost of Living Like?

Make no bones about it: living in the United States is pretty expensive. Cost of living is easily the most common concern people have when moving to a new city, so much so they can put off moving for years.

Thanks to inflation and a struggling economy, it’s becoming less common for Americans to purchase and own a home. Renting is the standard choice for several demographics today, with financial reasons cited as the most common cause. When researching the right city for you, it’s essential you whittle down the cost of living into a number your budget can handle.

Cost of living expenses include (but aren’t limited to):

Choose an Apartment or a House

When figuring out living expenses, you’ll need to start off with the most expensive: housing.

According to an ongoing study from Statista, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment hovers between $1,000 and $1,200. This number can double and even triple in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles or New York City. Studio apartments and dorm living are some of the most affordable options, but keep in mind they’re in very high demand.

If you’re on a tight budget, it’s well worth looking into smaller cities or city-towns. There are many fantastic locations that don’t get as much mainstream attention but have better pricing.

Narrow Down Your Food Expenses

How much money do you spend on food per month? Grocery expenses can easily run off with you, particularly when you combine them with transportation costs.

Consider finding a city that has a lot of local farmers’ markets and nearby grocery stores so you can save on expenses. Smaller cities – or city-towns – don’t always have the most accessible food options, even in the age of delivery services.

If you want to save on food? Cut back on fast food and delivery in favor of more home-cooked meals. If you’re too tired or time-strapped for cooking, meal shake plans are an affordable and healthy alternative.

Figure Out Transportation Costs

Transportation costs are a major concern for Americans, even those that own cars. Gas prices, car repairs, and car insurance are notoriously expensive.

How often do you leave the house? Are you single and without children or are you living with a large family? Tally up your average transportation costs before finding a city to move to.

In fact, let’s look into something similar with the next section…

#2: Do You Need Good Walkability?

Walkable cities – sometimes known as 15-minute cities – are the next big thing. They’re categorized as such due to having basic necessities just a walk away, such as grocery stores, clinics, and schools.

Walkable cities also tend to have very reliable public transportation that can be found just about everywhere. If you’ve ever had to walk over an hour to reach a bus stop, walkability is a must-have feature. Even car owners will sometimes skip a drive if it means saving on gas!

The most walkable cities in America include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Washington D.C.

Some of the least walkable cities in America include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Fayetteville
  • Atlanta
  • San Antonio
  • Orlando
  • Indianapolis

#3: What Does Your Work Situation Look Like?

Remote workers have the greatest flexibility when it comes to finding a new city to live in. When you have the ability to work from anywhere with a stable internet connection? The sky’s the limit.

If you have to work in-office, your options will be more limited. This detail crosses over with transportation, since you need to factor in what your potential commute will look like. Go over your work options before choosing your city, as you won’t be able to enjoy your new home if you can’t pay the bills!

If you want more flexibility with your work-life balance, consider seeking out remote work or hybrid work options. Upwork’s 2020 survey found nearly 60% of workers today to be working remotely half the time, with two out of five workers working entirely from home. Your current job might even pay you to relocate!

#4: What’s the Local Culture Like?

Local culture may seem more minor than food expenses or work, but it’s the icing on the cake. You want to enjoy all the flavor your new home has to offer.

Culture is the lifeblood of your city. It’s what makes you feel connected to the community, history, and most importantly, yourself. Elements you should look into when gauging local culture include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Parks
  • Concert halls and theaters
  • Food scene

#5: Do You Have a Back-Up Plan?

This last question boils down to common sense. You can research and plan the best you can, but sometimes your new path doesn’t quite work out.

Have one or two backup cities if your new home turns out to be incompatible. Make sure they still line up closely with your budget, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Today’s modern resources have made it easier than ever to tally up moving costs and get back on track in no time at all!

Conclusion

Narrowing down how to find the right city for you means being honest. You’re not trying to map out anyone else’s life: you’re trying to make yours better.

To find the right city, you need to narrow down your cost of living, work situation, walkability, local culture, and food expenses. One person might thrive in a major city because they’re a single student with no children. Another person may find a smaller city suitable because they’re a homeowner who wants to help elderly family members age-in-place.

What do you want to get out of your new home?

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