Before moving to another town, assessing our own community’s culture may provide insight into what meaningful community attributes link us to our communities.
Moving to another state and unknown community is one of the most life-altering decisions that you will make, especially if you have a family. Moving to a small town can be very difficult for a number of reasons, and be prepared to hear that tiresome expression, “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Small towns can be very territorial, as everyone knows everyone else or at least something about everyone else. Small towns have an allure, an enticing storybook fantasy of living in a house on a tree-lined street with a white picket fence. If you are moving to a small southern town, for instance, do your homework. There are several important questions that you must research and answer before making a life-altering decision to move to that perfect community.
Assess Your Current Community’s Culture
This is something that few of us think of because, after all, it is the place that we are planning to move away from. However, it can provide clues to what our needs really are and perhaps keep us from making a big mistake of moving to that perfect community hundreds if not thousands of miles away from our current home.
First, how would you describe the people that live within your community? Are they friendly, liberal, conservative, open-minded, accepting, positive, negative, or welcoming? What is the size of your current community? Are members of the community diverse and representative of every state, or are they local and representative of the immediate community?
Assess Your New Community’s Culture
This is not always an easy assessment to accomplish. First, take your current community’s culture assessment and highlight the areas of the assessment that are most important to you. There are several ways that you can assess the community. Contact the chamber of commerce and ask for statistical information for the community. You can compare a number of statistical areas with your current community to get an idea of how closely they mirror one another. You can also research online forums for the city or town that you plan to move to for comments by participants.
Assess Your Own Reasons for Wanting to Move
Perhaps there is no more difficult assessment than to ask the question of, why do I want to move to that town or city? Your reasons for moving to a specific location may not match your research of the area or match the assessment of the new town or city’s community. For example, you may want to move to a specific town because it is small, quaint, and has a low crime rate and great schools or beautiful scenery. However, your research and assessments may determine the town is small and quaint, but the schools are of poor quality, and the crime rate is high relative to the population of the town. For this reason, your assessment of the community’s culture is critical.
If you take the time to first assess your own community and answer those questions about your own community and then follow up with an assessment of your new community, you will feel more confident with your final decision to move. Remember to assess your own reasons for choosing a specific location and then compare those reasons with the findings of your research. Often times, what we perceive about a certain community within a small town or city may not be, in reality, a factual representation. Often these perceptions, which turn out later to be misperceptions, occur while vacationing in our newly found perfect small town or city.