What are the best benefits of living in the city?

By Tyler Zdenek
Posted 6/6/2019

You may have wondered, “Why do people live in cities?” Or are even considering moving to the city yourself. Whether it’s for a job, new experiences, love, recreation, or because you’re just sick of finding parking every single weekend, there are some incredible benefits to urban living that aren’t always visible from the outside.

Urban Skyline

City living = Less time and money on daily travel.

What’s worse than spending an hour in gridlocked traffic? Doing it every morning and every night. A Trulia study found that renters had on average, significantly shorter commutes than home owners.

Renting allows workers to live closer to where they work, because they aren’t confined by the same constraints as a home owner. Owning a home means you cannot easily move if your job changes, and the rising cost of homes can make it even more difficult to find something close to public transportation or even a major freeway or highway.

What does your suburb to city commute really cost in a year?

The American Public Transportation Association found that the average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation. 93% of that 18 cents goes to purchasing, maintaining, and operating a car. AAA puts the annual cost of new car ownership at a staggering $8,500 annually.

There are hidden costs to a long, self-driven commute you may not have thought of. Driving yourself to work requires your full attention. When you live close enough to walk to work you gain back your commute time. When you take a bus, train, or rideshare, you can read, catch up on news, play games, or even get a little more sleep before you get to work.

What’s worse than spending more money to sit in traffic?

According to University of British Columbia psychologist, Elizabeth Dunn, an additional hour spent commuting to work has the same negative effect on your happiness as unemployment. People are willing to do almost anything for personal happiness. Dropping your commute by finding a work adjacent nearby apartment in the city is a simple solution. You’ll save so much in the long run, gaining back 75 gridlocked hours a year if you live in San Francisco to 116 hours in Portland.

Renting an apartment in the city means a shorter commute, less money spent on transportation, and an increase in your personal happiness. What could be better than that?

City job growth is outpacing suburban job growth.

Cities are seeing the largest amount of job growth as major employers have been gradually moving their headquarters into city centers for several decades.

Mapped data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that metro areas with more than a million people captured almost 9 of every 10 newly created jobs since 2007. Rural areas have lost 3.7% of total jobs in the same time frame.

You may be wondering why the difference is so stark between cities and rural areas, but job growth grows jobs. A study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute found that every one new high-tech job created four more jobs in other goods and service sectors including cooks, retail employees, teachers, and even dentists.

What Not to Expect

City Living and City Job Growth

A city community can improve your health

A new study indicates properly planned dense communities can increase physical and mental wellbeing. Why does a city improve physical health? It’s walkable.

Let’s look at the average walk scores of some major cities and their suburban counterparts.

City Seattle, WA Shoreline, WA Portland, OR Gresham, OR Denver, CO Aurora, CO Los Angeles, CA Downey, CA
Walk Score 73 48 65 43 61 43 67 59

You can see the difference. Scores average out to an 18.25 point difference in these four cities alone. That’s because stores are more evenly spaced in cities and are supported by a much greater abundance of foot traffic. Shop owners don’t have to rely on clustering or carrying a gigantic amount of merchandise just to stay in business. This also serves to diversify the number of specialized businesses in a city radius as compared to the same area in a suburb.

The same study also found that the increases in social interaction from living in a denser community had a net positive increase on residents as well. Though the study doesn’t elaborate, they hypothesize that a dense residential environment could act as a substitute for community social capital and support.

Are you ready to move into a city?

Transportation savings, job opportunities, and a sense of community you can’t always achieve in broadly developed rural and suburb areas make city living ideal for more and more people every year. If you’re ready to find the perfect city apartment, Holland Residential builds and manages some of the newest and best rated apartment complexes, townhomes, and high rises in cities throughout the Western United States. See if we’ve got an apartment listing near you.

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