Excitement to decide a big move to a big city can sometimes be distracting from the fact that you are going into a transition of the higher cost of living from a simple life in the countryside. City life is luring to most of the people, especially to those who live in a small villages and rural areas. Easy access to the social amenities, great infrastructure, and superb entertainment facilities are some of the causes behind this luring. The glamour of city life is the major reason for the high level of rural to urban migration. But it should be always kept in mind that the urban living is not for everyone. It is much more difficult than life in the suburbs and moves at a very fast pace. There are numerous cons and disadvantages of the living in a big city and city living.
UN has estimated that 55% of the world population lives in cities which are expected to rise by 68% at the end of the year 2050. Thus the cities are going to become more crowded and congested. Consider an example of any well know or major city like New York, London, Beijing, New Delhi, Seoul and you will be able to recall news which highlights the problem of these cities. The problems can be common such as high pollution level, traffic congestions, high cost of living, crime rates or exceptionally high real estate prices etc. Each city has it’s own set of benefits but disadvantages as well.
Also Read: Difference between village life and city life
Disadvantages of City Life & Living in a Big City
In this section, we are going to see some of the major disadvantages of living in big cities. These can be grouped as economical, environmental, lifestyle, transportation & job related cons of city life.
Living in a city can be expensive, particularly in larger cities. Although the benefits offered are large, but so can be the cost of living.
Living Expenses: In the city, salaries are higher than in rural areas, but this come at a higher cost of living as well. The prices of the commodities are also higher due to the large concentration of people and huge demand.
High Rent & Expensive Real Estate: Need and willingness to live in urban areas has brought a large number of people to the city. Because of this, there is a huge demand for houses and residential areas. This in turn shoots up rent and the prices of the housing units due to shortage of serviced land in major cities. The outright purchase of the house is also very expensive in the city.
Opportunities for Jobs: Although there are huge numbers of job opportunities in the city, there are also several people who are competing for a single post. This can be frustrating during job searches. Especially when the economy of the city is low, you will remain unemployed even though there are thousands of job ads in the newspaper. The daily search, commute and rental expenses will further result in economical disadvantage.
Scarcity of space: Most of the apartments in big cities are generally tiny. Also, it is very unusual to have extra space outside your house or apartments like a lawn or a yard. Sharing a common wall with the neighbours and creative to utilize the space properly are the main traits for living a happy life in the city. Only in the parks, you will get to experience greeneries or can carry out physical activities for good health in the city. This is not the case in rural areas due to the abundance of greeneries and open space.
Health & Transportation Issues
Traffic: Traffic is the biggest nightmare in the city and especially in central business district/ central area. A large proportion of population prefer private transport instead of using public transport. Thus making it is impossible to avoid traffic in the urban areas. You always have to leave early from your home due to this headache.
Parking: Parking in the city can be a major problem compared to rural areas. Some areas in the urban setting have a paid permit for parking. Free ones fill up like a hot cake. You may have to park your car a few blocks away from the destination in the street.
Crime: In the city, the rate of crime is higher than in the countryside. People are more tempted to rob or do a theft due to increased poverty in urban areas.
Health: City living is generally equated to loss of physical activity. There is lack of green spaces and the overall urban lifestyle leaves individuals with little or no time to exercise. Those who are serious about keeping themselves healthy by means of exercise look out for gyms. However those living in small town might still find some open spaces and green spaces. Rural life offer more physical activity and thus eliminates need for gym in most of the cases.
Cultural Differences & Insensitivity
Lack of Privacy: Living in a crowded city is the basic necessity of the urban lifestyle. This precipitates the privacy reduction due to scarcity of space in the setting of the city. The closeness of the buildings, flats with a common wall and severely cramped apartments has lead to the decrease in space and diminution of privacy greatly.
Community: Most people in urban areas are very individualistic and pay little or no attention to the affairs of other people. The sense of community is very vital since many problems can be tackled as a community which is the case in the rural setting.
Different Types of People: The different types of people in the city can be a bit overwhelming sometimes if you are not properly familiarized with their culture. You will always be surrounded by the crowd, whether you want them or not.
Technology: Technologies are vastly and increasingly used in the progress and running of the city. As the inhabitants of the urban areas become more digitalised, there is an emergency to prevent any social division due to technological advancements.
Threats to the Environment: Rapid urbanization is straining the basic infrastructure that is coupled with extreme and frequent weather conditions. Global Warming that is an extreme threat to climate change is mostly generated in the cities. Some of the environmental threats that are common in the urban areas are heat waves, epidemics, and tropical cyclones. Due to a large number of population density in the city, such threats can cause distressing deaths and economic loss. Making the cities resistant to these types of threats and to reduce global warming is the significant challenges that the city authorities are facing recently.
Pollution: Big city life cannot be discussed without mentioning about pollution. Smog, high carbon emission rate, polluted drinking water and high decibels of noise are some of the reasons for air, water and noise pollution in the city. Also, the increased number of motorized transports and waste from the large population are other sources of pollution. Waste disposal and solid waste management are added disadvantage of a big city.
Noise Pollution: Many major metropolitan areas share one thing in common and that is noise pollution and levels. This is because the roads of the urban areas are full of cars, buses, taxis, and bikes which increases the overall noise level. Shopping centres are the hotspots of noise pollution. Another reason for noise pollution is the emission of sound from the large factories during their production. Noise pollution leads to different types of cardiovascular diseases, increase in blood pressure and stress.
Resources: Cities need more resources like food, water, and energy to be feasible. But the authorities of the metropolitan are reducing the water catchment areas, and lands for agriculture. Due to this many cities will struggle to offer these natural resources to the increasing demand of the population. Due to increasing growth in the population, green spaces will also be reduced due to liveability. Food prices may enhance due to scarcity of the freshwater and less number of fertile lands.
Other Disadvantages of Living a life in the City
Apart from the above mentioned significant disadvantages, there are other problems also that persist in the city. They are:
- The sewerage system is a problem in the city due to the high level of population. If the systems are not well maintained, then the people may even have to face blockages due to this.
- Due to overpopulation in the urban areas, you may sometimes feel suffocated. Walking closely in the streets, congestion and frequently bumping into each other are some of the most common phenomena in the streets of the metropolitan cities.
- To maintain the lifestyle of the city, people tend to take more loans from the banks and put their entire property on mortgages.
- The youths in the city tend to accept bad habits like smoking, drugs, gambling and drinking more rapidly than those in the suburbs.
- Due to huge pressure and workload, people in the urban areas suffer from high stress that leads to depression
- Here the demand for housing is more than the supply putting a strain on the infrastructure of the urban setting
- Most of the people in the city are exposed to unhealthy and abnormal lifestyles leading to innumerable health problems.
- The percentage of pure water and fresh air is less and is full of harmful chemicals. The environment is full of smoke, dust, garbage, and gases.
Related: Disadvantages of Village Life or Living in the countryside
Some facts about the disadvantages of city life in Various Countries
Some hard facts that showcase the disadvantageous position of the people living in different cities are:
- Nearly six million people are cramped in the 250 square mile city of Singapore. This population is almost 230 times more than in the USA. Smart technologies are implied to measure the traffic of the streets, temperatures of the cities to retain the negative effects of global warming and climate change. The Singapore Government also monitors the consumption of electricity and water to supply all the resources to every individual in the city with equality.
- In Germany, the people living in the city have to use tiles of a particular colour on the roof was determined by the Government. Also, they cannot cut down any trees on their property without permission from the authorities. To do legal fishing, the citizens of Germany have to do hours of fishing classes and then have to pass an exam.
Advantages of Living in the City
Now enough talking about the disadvantages of the urban areas and let us peep into the positive aspects of living in a city, particularly in terms of better infrastructure. Read about them below:
- In a large city, access to basic amenities like water and electricity is very easy.
- There is the availability of better roads and facilities for transportation in the cities and especially in urban centers.
- Due to a large number of enterprises, organizations, and factories, there are huge job opportunities
- There are better educational facilities with more qualified teachers and better infrastructure.
- A large city has all the medical facilities, hospitals and specialised health facilities with experts and doctors.
- Easy access to entertainment and shopping is also present in metropolitan areas due to the presence of numerous museums, shopping malls, game parks, amusement parks, and restaurants.
- You can meet different types of people coming from various cultures and speaking diverse languages. Talking to them can give you a refreshing feeling and different experience altogether in your city neighbourhoods
- Cities are the hosts of many big events like festivals, baseball games, music concerts, exhibitions, art openings and many more.
Well, to sum up, we can say that living in the city has some disadvantages but it does include some advantages also. You have to weigh the consequences of both the positive and negative aspects of urban life and make up your mind about moving to the metropolitan setting. It will be a perfect time to move to an urban area if you are young and are looking for a job or higher education.