Smaller Town, More Equality
As I've gotten older, I've really come to realize how much more social and economic equality there can be in small towns than large cities. San Francisco is a classic example. The divide between rich and poor there is so extreme. The town is dominated by millionaires and homeless people, and not a whole lot in between. The neighborhoods are highly divided based on these economic divisions. The janitor at a tech company is most definitely not sending his kids to the same school as the engineers there, nor are they likely going to the same churches or community events, or even live in the same city. The working class (if they live there at all) have to find small, undesirable places to rent, often in dangerous neighborhoods. The other option is commuting from completely different areas, sometimes taking multiple hours of driving each day.
Now contrast this with living in a small town. Helen grew up in a town with about a 1000 people in it. In it, everybody knows everybody, regardless of economic standing. The millionaire family that runs the local farm equipment company sends their kids to the same school as the people working at it. They go to the same churches, play at the same parks, go to the same community events. And everyone can own a home. No one is forced to live in a dangerous part of town, because there aren't really any "parts of town". The whole town is essentially walkable from one end to the other. Sure, there aren't much stores, but is that even necessary in today's age of Amazon Prime?
The ironic part about all of this is that small towns are often thought of as being so much more conservative than big cities like San Francisco, but which one actually lives closer to the progressive ideal (at least as far as economic stratification is concerned)? The whole thing is pretty ironic if you ask me. No wonder the hippies all wanted to move away from large cities to the country.