Raising Kids in the City vs. the Suburbs

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Many families face the dilemma of choosing whether to raise their kids in the city versus a suburban neighborhood. Learning about the pros and cons of each lifestyle will help you to make a more informed decision about what you value most for your family. City life and suburban living present equal amounts of benefits and drawbacks. It is up to you to decide what matters most when considering the upbringing of your children.

Perks of a Suburban Life

Living in the suburbs often means that you will have access to much more space -- both in your home and in the surrounding neighborhoods. Families typically find that home prices are much more reasonable in suburban areas as opposed to areas within city limits. Your neighborhood in the suburbs may have easy access to amenities like parks with open space abounding, more room in the backyard for the kids to run around and more peace and quiet than city living.

Drawbacks to a Suburban Life

Be prepared for your family to spend more time in the car if you choose to live in a suburban area. The flow of your daily activities is significantly impacted by the distance between work, your child's school, the grocery store and trips to the city. You will have to invest more in commuting expenses like gas and vehicle maintenance. Although there are opportunities for cultural exposure in the suburbs, your chance of encountering more spontaneous and diversely saturated cultural experiences is much more limited. Living in a larger suburban home also means more home maintenance will be required.

Stresses of City Living

Families often choose to leave city life due to the stresses of everyday urban hustle and bustle. Cities are noisy, more polluted and you must frequently navigate cramped spaces both in your home and in public. Home prices are generally elevated in urban areas, putting stress on the family budget. Living expenses in the city can be higher as well. A 2011 study published in "Nature" revealed that urban living can negatively affect human brain biology by increasing risks for mental illness.

Benefits of City Living

Kids who grow up in the city are likely to gain adaptability skills at a young age, develop acute social awareness, and have consistent exposure to culturally diverse populations and experiences. A University of Virginia study found that cities are actually safer places to live than suburban areas. The study analyzed traffic fatalities and homicides both in cities and suburban areas. The results demonstrate that higher numbers of traffic fatalities and homicides occur in suburban areas. City living also allows parents and children alike to feel less isolated.