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In the not so distant past, there was an exodus of young men and women living in the rural areas towards the big cities. The attraction and the steady flow of talent and bodies from the small town into the urban areas can be easily explained. There were simply few opportunities in the county as compared to the city.Fortunes and careers had to be made and so off they went. In the process, the exodus contributed to the spectacular growth of key cities. Urbanization came with the correct mixture of population growth and economic success.But the sudden growth and the population explosion have overtaken those who are chasing the American dream in the cities of America. Now, more and more people are longing to go back to the rural areas and live in small towns.This paper will look into the benefits of moving to a small town and raising a family there. The argument is sustained by the fact that cities in general are plagued with the problems of overcrowding, high crime rate, high pollution, absence of natural beauty, hectic lifestyle, no opportunity to exercise or play outdoors etc. In other words the quality of life in the city is so poor that it is difficult to imagine a middle income family enduring another 30 years of this kind of stress.Need to GoThe problems of urban dwellers is no laughing matter and if there is an opportunity to move from the city and into the county, there is nothing that should hinder that family from moving.Aside from the push that comes by way of the things that makes one unhappy in the present life as a city dweller, there is also the pull coming from the other side. In John Clayton’s book “Small Town Bound” he was able to succinctly put in perspective the magnetism of the countryside and small town spaces and he wrote:It might be the scenery that draws you – mountains, rivers, farmlands, or forests. It might be images of a rural lifestyle or the accessibility of recreational opportunities […] It might be memories of a tight-knit community you experienced as a child. Or it might be visions of a place free of crime, traffic, or stress (2000, p.7).The pull factors enumerated above by Clayton needs further clarification in the following pages. But as of the moment he had already given the basic driving force as to why many are drawn to a less sophisticated lifestyle.Crime RateThe argument proposed in the beginning is the advantage of small towns in raising a family. Thus, children are part of the equation. And when children are involved every parent focuses on their safety first above all else. In this category small towns with small populations win hands down.According to Thomas Stucky there is a positive correlation between urbanization and high crime rate (2005, p. 8). The reason for the crime problem was traced to the weakened social structure in the city.Social ProblemsIt was discovered that crime flourish in an area where people do not know each other. In fact behaviorists were able to pinpoint that there is a “social disorganization” going on in the urbanized areas. Aside from people not interacting with each other and establishing meaningful relationships other factors add up to the chaos such as family disruptions.Straining the MarriageThe basic unit of any society is the family. When families are under attack then the society goes into a downward spiral. Maintaining a strong family requires strong marriages and it is easy to see the effects of stressful city lifestyles on marriages.It does not take a certified public accountant to figure out that it is more expensive to maintain a lifestyle of high living in the city as compared to the simple life of a small town setting.This need to maintain the status quo puts a lot of strain to a marriage. Thus, it is common to see parents working too many hours a day and the obvious consequence are having no time to nurture the children and time to nourish the relationship between husband and wife.In the brutal routine of racing against traffic, paying bills, working 15 hour days can take its toll on a person and a marriage. When family disruption occurs in the case of divorce or a parent abandoning the family one is reminded on its correlation to crime.A small town setting offers a less expensive lifestyle therefore allowing parents the privilege of doing their God given responsibility of taking care of their children. At the same time since there is now time to do something else other than work, taking to exercise is now very possible.Healthier LifestyleCity dwellers are not only injuring themselves through exposure to pollution but also in the disregard for physical exercise. In a small town there is plenty of opportunities for exercising. A simple brisk walking around the neighborhood is a good start and needing no membership into a health club.Maintaining a healthier lifestyle has become a very important aspect of living for many because, “Exercisers report more frequent and intense positive feelings and tend to have better functioning immune systems […] have higher life expectancy and are less likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and a variety of other ailments” (Porta, 2005, p. 76).Nature RestoresThe feeling of being consumed by a frenetic lifestyle is a common occurrence among city folks. Tiredness seems to be an incessant feeling and very difficult to shake away. The possible reason is the absence of natural surroundings that provide restorative capabilities.It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how nature enhances the well being of a person. An example of a component of nature that provides wonderful benefits are trees that affect various aspects of living (Clayton, p. 180) such as:Physical – Tree canopy affects air quality, temperature, wind speed, noise, water run-off, and other process that influences health and well-beingAesthetic – Trees make homes and neighborhoods more desirable, thereby enhancing individual and community image.Social factors – The presence of trees can improve neighborhood interaction. Organized planting and maintenance programs lead to individual and collective empowerment.Psychological – Contact with greenery has restorative value. This can restore equilibrium to a person’s relationship to the natural environment and heal a damaged self.To Where?The ultimate decision to leave the city lifestyle and exchange it for small town living can be greatly helped by planning. Planning here begins by looking at possible locations and answer the question regarding where to move.By taking in all the advantages of living in the county, the proponent believes that one of the best possible location is Front Royal, Virginia. In a traveler’s guide, “Front Royal was named for a royal oak that stood in the town square during the Revolutionary War” (Goodwin, 2004, p. 157). The name is fitting since the place boasts of spectacular parks and other attractions where nature is the main attraction.Aside from the usual benefits that come with living in a small town, Front Royal has an edge first and foremost as being set in the famous Shenandoah Valley.But it is not only history that Front Royal offers to those who wanted to move in as permanent residents. The numerous local attractions geared towards attracting tourists could now be experienced all year round if a family decided to stay for good.Examples of such attractions aside from historical sites are golf courses and outdoor recreational opportunities that include boating, fishing, hiking the Appalachian Trail and exploring the fabled valley. ConclusionThe answer to the query as to where is the best place to raise a family is in a small town setting. The major reasons for choosing a more laid back lifestyle was summarized by Clayton when he listed down the common reasons why people transfer from the urban centers to the county. Clayton enumerated the compelling reasons for such change of residence and he gave generalities such as the scenery, a sense of community, the town’s sense of character, safety , low crime rate coupled with the ability to exercise and do outdoor activities.Quality of life is assured while minimizing the possibility of family disruption. Since less stress is felt by both Father and Mother the strain in the relationship is not as nerve wracking as when living in the city. The key factor here would be cost of living which is of course more affordable in the small towns.The proponent was also able to show why Front Royal, Virginia is a good example of the kind of community worth transferring to.

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