What do you consider a "small town"?

Okay, from reading some of the threads here, I’m forced to wonder what people mean by “small town” and if that designation means much, much more to others than my understanding of the term. Just today, I read a post here which spoke of an area with a population of 70,000, calling it a “small town”.

70,000?! That’s not a small town, large town, or even a city–that’s a frickin’ metropolis! Hell, the biggest city in the whole state doesn’t have 70,000 people in it. In my mind, a small town is no more than a 1,000 people, maybe as much as 2,000, but numbers way up in the five digit range? Those are large cities.

What do you consider a “small town”?

I come from a town of 800. I’m thinking that’s pretty damn small.

It’s all relative. I live near New Haven, CT, pop 124,000 and have always considered it a small to medium sized city at best. Probably because we’re between Boston, pop 589,000, and New York (pop 18,976,000)

I would consider a town to be a small town if people knew everyone else who lived there, not necessarily personally, but on sight, and hear stories about them.

*population figures are from the 2000 census rounded to nearest thousand

I grew up in a place of 10,000, and always have seen that to be a ‘medium-sized’ town. The nearby big town is 110,000 (and I fully understand how people from large cities find that this still feels small), and before you get down to village status there’s a fair few towns of a thousand or so.

About 20 years ago I went to visit some relatives downstate. I lived in the Chicago suburbs at the time and had to dial 10 digits to make a phone call. While visiting my relatives in Nakomis, I discovered they could dial four digits for calls in town. That became my defination of small town.

definately under 10,000 pop. I grew up in a town of 4,000, which was the biggest town for 25 miles and the county seat. The rest were more on a village than a small town scale in my mind.

I live in a town of 15,000 and consider it a “small town”. I’d call 30,000 a medium town, 50,000 a big town, 100,000 a city, 1,000,000 a medium city and anything over 3,000,000 a big city.

When you can remember the first time your town got its first streetlight… ten years ago… and it doesn’t have a yellow light…

I grew up in a place with 2,000 people, one stoplight, and you could call on the phone in town with five numbers instead of seven. Where my parents lived when I was born was even smaller - to call in town, you picked up the receiver and said, “274, please.”

My town is so small, the mice are stoop-shouldered. :smiley:

Thank yew, thank yew! I’ll be here all week! :slight_smile:

I did some digging around to find the largest towns in the UK:

Reading 233,000
Dudley 195,000
Northampton 189,000
Anybody feel like finding the US comparison? :wink:

The best person to ask would be John Mellon Cougarcamp.

After all, as he likes to tell us over and over again, he was born in a small town.

Check your list again. Methinks a large UK town called “London” should be in there somewhere.

In Wisconsin “Town” has a specific legal definition (political subdivision of a county). Often there are towns that are named the same as nearby cities but are totally separate entities.
I grew up in a city of ~10,000. I’d call it a small city. I currently live in a city of ~5,000, but it is real near a city of ~50,000 and a metro area of 100,000 or so. I consider that medium/small.
250,000 - 1,000,000 medium
1,000,000 - 5,000,000 big
5,000,000 + metropolis / very big


The point of my post was the largest towns, i.e. those that are not cities.

As a general rule, I’ve always considered a “small town” to be any place under 10,000 in population. Also, any town that doesn’t get bold print in a Rand McNally road atlas would be a small town. I used to think that any town that did not have any chain stores/restaurants in it was a small town, but even the isolated rural communities in my area seem to have at least one Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.


No, seriously… :stuck_out_tongue: I grew up in Ames, IA (2000 pop. 50,731), a small city or perhaps a big town (but not Big Town). My dad grew up in various North Iowa locations such as Clarion (pop. 3,000). That I’d class as a small town, although as seat of Wright County, it might seem big to people coming in from Dows (650), Woolstock (200) or Galt (30).

I always considered my local town (Fakenham) fairly medium at 10,000 people, but I guess looking around the country 10,000 is actually quite small. It does have all the ammenities you would want, I know of several large towns in the South East of 25,000+ without supermarkets, etc. as they’re so close to large cities and other large towns.

I win - my home town still has no stoplights.

So we have no red, green, or yellow lights. :stuck_out_tongue:

From the, uh, “classic” 70’s tune “Chevy Van”: