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Embracing Small Town Bliss: California Woman, 47, Vows Never to Return to City Life

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A building depicting a house in a small town
Source: Unsplash

A Gen-Xer, whom we shall be referring to as Duvall throughout this article, believes she struck gold by moving to a smaller city. The 47-year-old woman had been having difficulty making ends meet in San Marcos, San Diego County, California. Her situation was made even more dire because she was disabled and had been that way since 2016. 

All she had to live off was a monthly $1,400 cheque from Social Security Disability Insurance. At the time, she was residing with her boyfriend, who regularly helped her out with daily expenses. However, one of the problems with living in a big city is the high cost of living.

Given her predicament, Duvall was all too aware of how high living costs were. It had also become clear to her that she would not be able to return to her job working in medical records for hospitals, so she decided it was time to move somewhere different.

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In 2021, Duvall finally took the step. She moved from San Marcos, a city of 100,000 in California, to Paducah, Kentucky, a relatively smaller city boasting about 26,000 residents. Adjusting to the slower pace attributed to small cities may have given some other people problems.

However, Duvall says the move was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. She has gotten to experience a more friendly community, a lower cost of living, and better medical care. It’s been so great, in fact, that Duvall has expressed her desire to remain there indefinitely.

She said: “I have no plans on ever going back to California. I probably should have been born here instead of California.”

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Duvall is not the only person who feels this way about moving to a smaller city. Between 2021 and 2022 alone, up to 800,000 Californians migrated to other states. According to US Census migration data released in October, this is almost twice the number of people moving in. 

Transitioning from living in a big city to a smaller one is no easy feat. But for Duvall, it felt right. Her parents retired in Kentucky in 2020, so it was easy for her to move there too. After saving up for some months, she discovered a home she could own for just $60,000 and pay off in 15 years.

It comes with about an acre of space, meaning her privacy is ensured. The average home price in San Marcos is over $921,000. A high cost compared to Paducah’s $165,000. Since moving, Duvall has noted some of the ways life in Paducah was better than her city life.

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There is only a slight difference in grocery prices, but she says the gas is about half what she used to pay in California, and her utility bill is lower. She also said businesses like car dealerships are much more friendly and trusting of potential clients.

There is also the fact that everything is more spaced out in Kentucky than in California, which means longer trips to see family or for daily errands. Of course, it does not put her out. Duvall said: “My thing is, either you adjust to Kentucky, or you leave.” 

Another thing Duvall loves about her new environment is how much better the care she receives for her medical problems is. She said doctors spent at most five minutes with her in California, but in Kentucky, her doctors were only satisfied after spending about an hour.

She does feel neighbors may know each other a little too much, but she does not seem to mind the care and is certainly not packing up shop because of it. 

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