(Natural News) What’s not to be happy about city-living? Everything you need is at arm’s reach – great food, entertainment, shopping malls, the list goes on. You will never get bored. But a recent study suggests that people residing in rural areas are in fact happier because of their simpler life.
A team of researchers from Vancouver School of Economics and McGill University conducted a study which aimed to find out the happiness levels of 400,000 Canadians. Using the responses and by cross-referencing them with other survey data, they were able to identify which factors actually bring happiness to people.
Results were quite surprising as it showed that people living in rural towns are eight times happier than those who reside in urban areas. This was measured using responses from the participants when they were asked to rate “how satisfied” they are with their lives. On a scale of one to 10, the average score ranged from 7.04 to 8.94.
Furthermore, it appeared that some factors expected to largely affect a person’s happy disposition in life weren’t really as relevant; these include higher salaries, higher education, and great jobs. Meanwhile, the research found that simpler factors have more bearing on what makes people happy. In both communities, rural and urban, results showed that Canadians care more about the following things:
- Commuting for shorter periods of time.
- Spending less than 30 percent of their income on housing.
- Living in the same place for at least five years.
- Capacity to attend church regularly.
- Having a sense of belonging within the community.
According to the study’s authors, the findings made it obvious that “Life is significantly less happy in urban areas.” This is mostly due to the fact that living in busy cities may also mean it’s more difficult to connect with family and friends. (Read: Children raised in rural environments and surrounded by animals develop stronger immune systems.)
Social isolation, as per a separate study, can have adverse effects on the brain. It can actually make a person feel fear and aggression. Moreover, a Toronto therapist, Lesli Musicar, confirmed that people who live in urban areas feel less safe than those in rural towns.
“There isn’t the same feeling of safety. People are generally less trusting. There’s a heterogeneous population, it’s not a homogeneous population, it’s not like in a small town where there is a lot more commonality, ” she added.
Benefits of choosing to live in a rural town
Granted, we all have our preferences. On one hand, some people love walking in busy streets, being in crowded places, and being surrounded by loud sounds. On the other hand, some enjoy the quiet and less-hectic lifestyle.
But in case you’re wondering why some people still choose to stay in less developed areas, here are three benefits that rural dwellers get:
- Cheaper cost of living for a bigger space – Bigger and more spacious houses are offered at lower rates since the real estate value in rural areas is not as expensive as in the city. Aside from cutting housing cost, you get to enjoy being close to nature and having your own yard. As a bonus, you can see the stars in the night sky, instead of tall buildings.
- Less amount of stress – We’re talking about not having to tolerate traffic jams, high crime rates, and long queues all the time. Everything can be done at your own pace when you live in rural places.
- A sense of community – Just like what the study above identified, people – whether consciously or not – long for a sense of belonging. Since those who live in rural towns have more time in their hands to get to know their neighbors, communities are more friendly.
Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of living in urban and rural areas by visiting Research.news today.