Sunday, January 17

Advantages and Disadvantages of Living on an Island

Living on an island might seem magical but like any other place it has its benefits and challenges. Let us look at the pros and cons of living on an island.


An island can be defined as a body of land surrounded by water. They have different names based on their size or characteristics. For instance, islands in a river or a lake are called eyots or aits, very tiny islands are called islets or cays among other things, and small islands off the coast can be called holms. Some islands are huge like Greenland which is the largest island in the world with an area of 836,000 square miles. On the other hand, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the smallest island in the world is Bishop Rock situated in Britain. So, each island greatly varies in size, shape, climate, and the wildlife that inhabits there.


There are six major kinds of islands – continental, tidal, oceanic, barrier, coral, and artificial. Continental islands are bodies that lie on a continental shelf of a continent and were once connected to the continent. Barbados, Tasmania, and Trinidad are some examples of continental islands. Tidal islands are a type of continental island where the land that connects the island to the mainland has not completely eroded but is submerged at high tide. Mon Saint-Michel of France is an example of tidal islands.

Oceanic or volcanic islands are formed due to eruptions of volcanoes on the ocean floor.  Islands in Japan are some of the most active oceanic or volcanic islands present. Barrier islands are islands that lie parallel to coastlines and are separated from the shore by a lagoon. The Outer Banks off the coast of the United States are a type of barrier islands. Coral islands are a type of low islands formed in warm waters with the help of corals. The islands of the Bahamas are an example.  Lastly, artificial islands are islands created by people in different ways for different reasons. Dubai has created several artificial islands for recreational purposes.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Living on an Island
Tasiilaq, a town in Greenland. Greenland is considered the largest island in the world.


Slower Pace of Life

One of the major advantages of living on an island is that one can achieve a slower pace of life. Unlike the islands, city life is stressful. Increased standard of living, pollution, and space constraints are only some of the negative aspects of living in a big city. According to a survey of over 4300 cities by the World Health Organisation (WHO), only 20 percent of the urban population lives in areas that comply with WHO air quality guideline levels. There are also higher rates of mood disorders and anxieties among people living in urban areas. Therefore, city or urban living negatively impacts ones mental health.

Unlike life in a city, there is a slower approach to life on an island. There is more breathing space to get things done and no rush of the everyday life of a city.

Sense of Community

Living on an island means there are lesser people around. Naturally, they house smaller populations.  Everyone tends to know everyone and they help each other out in times of need. One would hardly find this in the cities. In comparison to bigger cities where people are too busy to look around, living on an island brings about a sense of community. Additionally, people living on islands choose the island life for similar reasons like a slower pace of life or running a business. This commonality of lifestyle coupled with the love for the islands brings about a strong sense of togetherness among the island dwellers. Therefore, one would not ever feel lonely or isolated there.

Closer Access to Nature

Another advantage of living on an island is the abundance of nature around you. Depending on which island you live on, one can expect a variety of exotic flora and fauna. They are not as developed as the mainland so it is easier to experience nature in all its glory here. An island’s beautiful landscape, glorious weather, and quaint surroundings are all evidence that island life and nature go hand in hand.

More Culture

There is more culture to experience and a new way of life to enjoy on islands. There is a marked shift in the lifestyle from the city life and one can immerse themselves in the small island way of living. Similarly, there is also a better appreciation for the needs in your life and not the wants due to limited access to things.



One of the biggest disadvantages of living on an island is that it is an expensive affair. It does depend on which island you decide to live on, but generally most islands are expensive. As it is remote, most supplies and things have to be imported from the mainland or other islands. This increases the cost of the products making it more pricey.

Limited access to amenities

Living on an island means that there is limited access to certain important amenities and goods. There are many islands like the Bahamas or Cuba that have really good healthcare facilities but most islands have limited access to good medical care. In small and remote islands, there is a possibility of only a few clinics or hospitals that might lack a good standard of medical equipments and facilities. For serious illnesses and medical emergencies, one has to travel to the mainland or overseas for treatment. Hence, this can be cumbersome to deal with in the longer run, especially for people who suffer from any medical condition. Other amenities like online deliveries and purchases might take forever to arrive. Therefore, one has to learn to adapt to living with fewer things.

Too remote

Islands can be too remote to live permanently in sometimes. Generally, living on an island can mean uncertain weather, scarce resources, and a disconnect from the outside world. There can be difficulty in finding a job as the job market is narrow. Additionally, higher studies is an issue as most islands would not have universities for every field. So, one would have to move away from the island for their studies. Another problem that arises when it comes to living on an island is that there can be certain infrastructure issues. Many inconveniences like slow internet, regular electricity shortage, and waste management systems are part and parcel of an island life.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Living on an Island
Veligandu Island, Maldives

Unpredictable weather

Islands are extremely prone to unpredictable weather. Though some areas are at a greater risk of natural disasters than others, when a natural disaster hits an island it can have devastating results. There could be instances of a sudden disaster strike. Therefore, there would be no opportunities for preparing yourself for the same. One would have to ride it out with limited resources unless you prepare yourself for the unexpected calamity in advance.

To sum up, every individual has their preferences. Being on a vacation and living permanently on an island are two completely different concepts. Therefore, one should weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.

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Pros and Cons 



Slower pace of life


Sense of Community

Limited access to amenities

Closer access to Nature

Too remote

More Culture

Unpredictable Weather