Growing Up in the City

My wife and I are both from small towns. At last census, 3,600 people in her town, 5,200 in mine.

Columbus has just over 700,000 residents within its city limits, not to mention a metropolitan population of nearly two million. We’ve made our choice that Columbus is our home. It will also be the hometown of our child. Years from now, when people ask where he/she is from, the answer will be “Columbus” (or, most likely, one of the many surrounding suburbs).

We both grew up in towns without movie theatres or malls (given, mine had a three-screen movie theatre until I was about 10). Driving thirty minutes to shop was considered normal. Restaurant choices were between the many fast food establishments and Bob Evans (though we did get an Applebee’s later down the road). We did have a lot of banks though. And churches. Did I mention they were white? Oh, very, very white. Her town was 91%, mine was 98%. Columbus is more around 63%.

Our child has a unique opportunity. To be born and raised in a very large, diverse metropolitan area. A city with multiple major malls, thousands of restaurants, and hundreds and hundreds of schools. There are more people in this metropolitan area than in my entire home state. More people attend football games each Saturday in Ohio Stadium than the two largest cities in my home state combined.

But again, the wife and I remain an “odd couple” for a metropolitan area. According to a demographic study by the Washington Post, of college graduates aged 25-29 in metropolitan areas, only 13% of men and 31% of women have children. But like our child, we see this as a unique opportunity to raise our child in a large city as young parents. We enjoy visiting malls and parks and other areas of this city that we’ve never seen, and things we absolutely hope to share with our child. Having grown up ourselves in small towns, I think we agree that we do not want to shelter our child from a big city.

Columbus may not be New York City, but it is diverse, it is exciting, it is a place of action. And it is our home.

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