What Is Urban Life?

Matthias Ripp/CC-BY 2.0

Urban life is a catchall phrase to describe life in a major city. In the United States, urban citizens tend to include white-collar workers, artists and students. Those who live in cities are typically more favorable to environmental causes and less religious than those who live in rural areas.

As of 2008, 50 percent of the global population lived in cities. What urban life involves varies greatly depending on the city’s location. Urban and rural dwellers in developed countries such as the United States often share the same types of services and amenities, including Internet access, stable roads, communications and access to shopping, so the distinction between urban and rural life is less apparent.

Time magazine reports that urban life has an effect on neurological activity. Urban dwellers typically show more sensitive responses to threatening situations and stress. Children who grow up in cities also show more neurological activity in areas of the brain that regulate stress. Although researchers expected urban dwellers to become acclimated to their stress levels in the city, it turns out that city dwellers remain anxious and alert even after years of urban life. The study’s results suggest the importance for urban residents to cultivate strategies for relaxation.