With more and more IT consultants moving to small towns from big ones, there has to be more than what meets the eye. So, we did some research and some facts astonished us!

Did you know that there are more Fortune 500 companies in small cities than in either large- or mid-sized cities? While Silicon Valley has been the heart of all all-things-tech, the last decade has empowered some of its best brains to also take a step back from the hub and move to smaller cities to create their own.

With investor mind-sets changing due to the costs involved with the likes of Silicon Valley, many successful companies have headquarters and/or development offices located in small(er) and less(er)-known towns. Walmart, Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae, Cummins, Western Reserve Group, SEI, Fisher Price, and Epic, are a few to begin with. IT consultants are also slowly but surely converging to newer tech hubs like Des Moines, IA and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

What are Small Towns?

First up, don’t be put off by the sound of a “small town” as such towns don’t necessarily mean remote villages! If anything, they mean those little unknown places which are now transforming themselves into sprouting hubs of opportunities. With that said, you can be rest assured that all small towns provide basic amenities, hospitals, schools, restaurant chains, shopping malls, night clubs, and so on. Such towns also provide you with the safety, time, and space to enjoy little and good things of life.

Lower Cost of Living and Housing

It’s simple economics. Everything from homes to utilities to groceries are cheaper in small towns. Given your income as a consultant, you are bound to have greater buying power. Meals at restaurants can drop from $60 to $30 for a family of four. Even utilities like water and property bills are cheaper. And, with the money you save from living in a small town, you and your spouse can even choose to be a single income household. This is an important consideration if you have a family to take care of and if you are looking for a better work-life balance. Lastly, small town monthly mortgage would easily match big town monthly rent, as houses cost about half or lesser than those in big cities. Here is a list of most affordable places to live in the US.

BIG Savings

Small town living means big savings. An income of say, $65,000 in a big city will seem like $80,000 in a small city. While some IT consultants staying in small towns are OK with travelling for project assignments, others may only want to work around their chosen geography. One of the key reasons why both groups still prefer smaller towns is that they are cheaper to live in while also providing the work-life environment they need. While your consulting costs may vary from project to project, your savings will always be more as opposed to living around the key big-wig towns of Silicon Valley and the likes of it.

Suggested Reading: 3 Methods to Convert Annual Salary to Hourly Rate

Healthy Living and a Better Work-Life Balance

A no brainer as we all know that smaller cities have shorter distances. Shorter distance means shorter commute, and you may even want to run or cycle to work! You can easily drive knowing that the commute will not be a constant traffic jam. In contrast, workers in big cities like SFO, NYC, LA, Chicago, and Dallas, spend about 2-3 hours daily on commuting. The time you save on commute in a small town, can be well spent with family and friends, or to pursue a hobby. Less traffic also means clearer air and less air pollution; a healthy choice for you and your family. Check out the quality of air pollution of your state here along with a list of most polluted cities.

Safety and Crime Rates

According to statistics from FBI’s Crime Rates in the US report for 2015, crime in most small towns is almost 50% less than big cities. Wouldn’t it be better to raise a family in a city without the constant exposure to news about local crime and criminals? The data speaks for itself!

Close-Knit Communities

Small towns are close-knit communities, which means that you have neighbours who care. Far from the maddening crowds, there is an unspoken value system—everyone knows everyone, everyone helps everyone, people work hard, family first, etc.

Conclusion

Choosing a city is an important consideration while changing jobs. This differs from person to person and depends on the kind of life you want to live. While on one hand, your social circle may expand in a close-knit small town, it may also dwindle if you are a party goer who likes to explore new places often. Larger towns definitely have a more diverse and larger population to interact with, if you are up to it. You may also miss the museums, theatres, historical sites, nightlife and fine dining experiences, which big cities provide. But then again, for a small towner, these could be traded as good reasons to take that big city holiday!

Maybe it’s time to evaluate being a “big fish in a small pond”, with less competition, more opportunities, peaceful life and more money in your wallet. Next time when you switch jobs, ask your recruiter to find you a job in your choice of small town.

So, whats your favorite small town and your favorite big perk.