How Do You Decide Where to Live?

This has been a recurring topic in the Frenette household in recent months. Our moves have really challenged our perceptions of what location means to us, and what criteria we value in making choices.

What's Important to You?

How would you rank (1,2,3...) the following factors?
__ Career/Job Market
__ Housing Market
__ Proximity to Where You Grew Up (close or far)
__ Weather
__ City Size & Type (urban, suburban, rural)
__ Culture
__ Schools
__ Proximity to Family
__ Crime Rate
__ Other:

So, with the comments form waiting in breathless anticipation, tell me: how you make this important decision?

Photos courtesy kangotraveler, and Michael in San Diego on Flickr.

7 Brilliant Remarks:

  1. Tim said...

    I used to work for an airline just so I could get free flights and travel around. Part of the reason was to figure out where I wanted to move.

    I found that the more I traveled, the more I appreciated home (in my case, Milwaukee, Wis.) So we bought a house and put down roots here. I don't know if that means you just get attached to where you come from or what.

    Of course, it also helped to have affordable housing, jobs we both loved and a city that seemed just the right size.

  2. After this last trip to Chicago--my city of origin--I can appreciate how a long familiarity with a place can definitely make it seem more like "home". We fled Chicago happily and put temporary roots down in San Diego, but now that we're on our third major move it's hard to feel like I really want to live *anywhere* specific anymore (if that makes sense). And, as a result, I was conversely surprised by how much Chicago seemed like a viable option again.

    Thanks a lot for the comment! I have a sister that lives outside of Milwaukee. Someday I'll have to try a butter burger.

  3. mjander said...

    I tried small town USA for 5 years (Bloomington IL) for a good paying job, but as a single girl, the quiet-family-town life didn't work. After applying to jobs in larger cites, I ended up in Atlanta. I LOVE IT! Big enough there's multiple arts, music, sports, and other events to choose from each weekend! Reasonable cost of living still lets me own a house and enjoy the events without racking up debt.

  4. @mjander
    hey--I lived in Bloomington, too! Although my tour was only a year. I bet it'd be tough. Unless you really like frat and ISU house parties, I bet it got dull, fast.

    Is Grog's Home of Chow still open? Cheapest pizza on the planet, in both price and quality.

    We're probably more at the stage for that vibe than you were. I'm married but we don't have youngins (yet).

    A little more background: her career keeps us close to the city, but we could probably do a short-commute suburban thing. We're not full-fledged city kids; Manhattan would drive me nuts, but we've lived in Chicago and SF.

    I've had friends in ATL but have never visited. Would like to see more of the south at some point.

  5. Amy Guth said...

    I identify with this rootlessness so much, too. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and I continued the gypsy-ing into my adulthood until one day I started to crave a feeling of community, familiarity, connected history and roots. The trouble is that I enjoy the cities I've called home, and tend to regard them for individual characteristics, making me feel semi-connected to several places.

    (Sigh) Well, maybe one day I'll figure it out.

  6. Kimberly said...

    Most of my family is from Florida(multiple generations) Only one grandparent is from PA. My mother is a 3rd generation Floridian. I never planned on leaving Florida. Didn't want to. But after graduating college my father thought it would be good to get a temp job somewhere else before I had bills to pay and couldn't go. I got a 3 month temp job in North Carolina. Then got another 6 month temp job. Then a permanent job. My degree is in Wildlife Ecology. Not easy to find a permanent job in that field. Once I had put the time in...I felt I had to keep going so I could get full retirement benefits. I have now worked 11+ yrs. in my permanent job...and married someone from NC. If it wasn't for my job then I would move.
    When I go to Florida it is still my home because all my blood related family is there. Problem is that so much has changed that it doesn't always feel like home. I still would like to live there atleast part time when I retire. Where I live in NC the weather is similar to Florida. Just no palm trees.
    I live in a town of less than 3,000 now. Rural area....which I like but I miss the variety of people in a larger city,the educational opportunities,the "real" movie theatres, having more variety in restaurants, having more people around that like to get out and exercise(~3 runners in my town....etc.
    I have lived here for 12+ yrs and have no close girlfriends. I work with all guys at work.
    Again if it wasn't for my job which I do enjoy....I would move.

  7. Wow, great comments. This really isn't a simple thing, is it?

    @Amy Guth
    We didn't move *at all*, but there was a bit of a familial diaspora once we'd all been to college. Even my second-generation Chicagoan parents moved to AZ, and my sisters by and large moved to other states. I think for me it is a growing desire for something like a community, which frankly we didn't feel much of in San Diego. Too many transplants, maybe, or maybe we just never landed in the right crowd.

    One really nice thing I can say about San Francisco is that it's absolutely chockablock with runners. There's probably 1000 runners for every Starbucks, and there are a lot of Starbucks...
    12 years without close girlfriends--or friends that you can relate to on a same-same level--is tough. I definitely feel for ya. It's hard to know how different cities will be friendship-wise, but to be sure it's felt different in each city I lived in. Chicago was great for making friends (even to this day, if I may say so); San Diego not so much. San Francisco has been better, but remains to be conclusively seen.
    Thanks again for the great comments! This input is enlightening.