How Life Changes When You Move to a Big City

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11. How you experience nature will change

Most cities dedicate many acres of real estate to green space. But for Americans who in their rural hometown may have enjoyed easier access to hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities, every day life will likely contain significantly fewer such experiences. Generally, escaping the crowds will require greater planning and travel times for city residents.

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12. Learn to use a map

Bus routes, subway maps, and the often nebulous street structures of major U.S. cities mean using a map is a daily requirement for city dwellers — at least for the first month or two after moving. This can be a significant change for someone more accustomed to using familiar landmarks and well-worn routes in far less dense geographical areas.

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13. Learn to cope with visible human suffering

For most people, some extent of desensitization is necessary to sustain the relentless level of human contact in urban areas. Poverty rates and income inequality are higher in urban areas than in rural ones. And while cities may present tremendous opportunities for many people, they are at the same time the sites of serious struggle and suffering. An estimated — and grossly under-counted — more than half a million Americans lack permanent shelter, and most of them reside in cities, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are plenty of ways to work towards alleviating these problems. Individuals living in big cities for the first time will be confronted by their own roles in the varied experiences visible in large urban areas.