A Tale of Towns and Cities

As the pressures of living in a big city grow, it is easy for the mind to wander onto to the prospect of a better life in a small town. However, new data suggest that this idyll may be illusionary. A study by Centre for Towns shows that more than 1 million people under the age of 25 have left UK towns and villages over the past 30 years, as their working-age population thins in favour of large cities. Sky polling data show that 69% of people living in towns feel that they are ‘less central to society’ (56% in cities) and 53% of town-dwellers believe that their area is worse off than others (36% in cities). In the US meanwhile, a Gallop poll identifies higher levels of well-being in big cities, based on purpose, social and financial factors, whilst smaller towns scored better for community and security. Surprising? Not really; this reflects typically changing priorities over the course of one’s life. And whilst young people bring vitality and earning to cities, older people increasingly take with them a lifetime of accrued wealth.