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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Patella

Embracing Simplicity: The Urban Exodus to Rural Haven

Updated: Mar 30

Nearly 5 million Americans left cities for suburbs or rural areas. There are significant impacts felt by existing residents of these in bound areas — both positive and negative.

The greatest impact for inbound states is: South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona and Florida. In fact, Florida is the third most populous state in the US. Florida is the fastest growing state in 2022 at 22 million and estimated to expand to over 24 million by fall of 2023.

What do these states have in common? More open spaces, a higher quality of living for families and those wanting to start a family. The confines of COVID were dramatic for many of us and this is obvious evidence of that impact. But there is more to it. Our country has undergone serious changes in the past 3–4 years politically, socially, economically and professionally. More people have managed to continue to work at home so their home life has changed and with it their desire for more space, greener expansive countryside’s and homes providing a yard and rural living.

Where are people migrating from? New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio and California. There is also a large populous of people from other countries purchasing homes from China, Mexico, India and the Philippines. In fact over 1 million have migrated to the US the past year.

Why the big migration? People are leaving more expensive cities with higher tax costs to areas with a better, lower cost of living. There are nine states with no income tax: Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Alaska. Of these which are more desirable in terms of climate? Of course Florida and Tennessee top my list. But other factors are the median home prices, average annual household income and the cost of living. For example in Florida Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Wes Palm Beach may pay higher but the cost of living is higher. Whereas North Florida has a lower cost of living, median home value but lower income brackets.

Some of the positive results of this migration are increased economic activity and job opportunities. More people means greater demand of services. The need to hire more people to service the new residents. Real estate has also increased nationally 5.4% with some areas experiencing almost 15% increase! There are many other benefits such as an increased need for handyman work, construction remodels and landscaping to name a few.

I must mention a few of the negatives and urge everyone to be involved in their community. Forewarned is forearmed — as they say. I also personally experienced this in Miami, my hometown. With the influx of the Cuban, Haitian and international population we had a huge increase in our economy but there were other changes as well. Our roads took a hit with the influx of cars and drivers. Additionally, this meant a huge impact on traffic. What took 20 minutes 20 years ago gradually increased to 45–60 minutes or longer. Traffic jams are the norm especially at rush hour of 7:30am to 9:30am and 3:30pm to 6:30pm depending on the area of town. Stores, malls and movie theatres — not during COVID — are packed. The same goes for good restaurants. New communities and apartment buildings are going up everywhere to meet the demand for housing. My message is not to be afraid of the population influx but get involved in your community to maintain the quality of the roads, schools and housing market. Building more residential communities and apartment buildings is good but the increased traffic flow must be accounted for with adequate parking and safety features for families. Lets work to keep much of our rural and green space while we experience growth.

I personally experienced this change. My quality of life has changed for the better. I moved from a big city to the country in an area where I experience seasons and have a lot more space. My job changed from traveling to spa and fitness centers and training people in their homes to working virtually. I was a Spa Director and Trainer making $75,000 to $80,000 a year working 6–7 days a week and 9–12 hours a day. Now I work virtually from home with clients in various cities in the US, 5 days a week, about 5–6 hours a day, and a slightly higher income with a lower cost of living but a much larger property to care for. The rest of the time is working on my land and writing. Am I getting rich? No the point is that I am living the life I want and doing the things that make me feel good including my job.

These are just a few things to think about, but the most important thing is not to sit back and expect things will never change. Just look at the transformation that has occurred in the past 3–4 years. We all want a better quality of life for ourselves, and our families, and it is there for us. Once you get it don’t lose touch with how important it is that you have it and work hard to maintain it.

My Miami home was 1350 square feet on ¼ acre and my new North Florida home is on 5.6 acres and 1850 square feet.

Here is an example of the sunsets I see almost every night. It thrills me whenever I take a minute to experience this beautiful nightly occurrence.

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