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Your Guide to Moving to Las Vegas

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Las Vegas, Nevada, at a glance:

  • There are 169 casinos and gambling establishments across the Las Vegas area.
  • The cost of living in Las Vegas is 4.1% higher than the national average.
  • The median home price in Las Vegas is $441,048, and the median rent is $1,200/mo.
  • Average high temperatures during the month of July are 104 degrees, with a record temperature of 117 degrees.
  • Las Vegas is home to several professional sports teams, including an NHL team, NFL team, MLS team, WNBA team, and several minor league clubs.

Moving to Las Vegas: The basics

What’s the population of Las Vegas?

As of July 2019, Las Vegas had a population of 651,319. It’s important to note that for Census reporting purposes, these population numbers only account for about 141.8 square miles of what most people consider “the Las Vegas area.” Surrounding cities — like Spring Valley, Enterprise, Paradise, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Winchester — bring this number up to over 1.8 million.

The median age of residents is around 38. And as of the last census count, there’s a perfectly even gender split in the city. Las Vegas is also home to a number of diverse cultural communities, with an ethnic breakdown that’s 42% Caucasian, 35% Hispanic, 11% African American, and 7% Asian American. The remaining percentage points are made up of Native, Islander, and mixed ethnicities.

What’s the cost of living in Las Vegas?

Many people who have visited the Las Vegas Strip may think the entire town is incredibly expensive to live in. In reality, most of those “tourist prices” stay localized to the Strip area. The actual Las Vegas cost of living is much more manageable than most new residents expect.

Overall, the city is 4.1% higher than the national average for cost of living. According to PayScale, the biggest jump is in transportation, where the city is 14% over the national average, and the biggest savings are with utilities where the city is 10% below the national average.

At the local grocery stores, expect to pay around $3.46 for a loaf of bread, $1.88 for a carton of eggs, and $3.49 for a bunch of bananas.

Census data indicates the median home value in Las Vegas is $285,000, and the median rent is $1,057/mo. That’s higher than the rest of the country, with the U.S. median home value of $204,900 and a median rent of $1,023/mo.

For those looking to move out west, here’s how the Las Vegas cost of living will stack up against a few larger east coast cities.

City Name Population Cost of Living (Compared to National Average) Median Home Price Median Rent
Las Vegas, NV 1,417,793 +4.1% $441,048 $1,200/mo.
Chicago, IL 2,680,484 21.0% $518,082 $2,154
Atlanta, GA 895,280 2.3% $365,442 $1,207
Detroit, MI 673,342 0.2% $48,986 $1,127

*Information sourced from My Move City Guides

How’s the Las Vegas job market?

Job growth in the state of Nevada was up 3.2% in 2019, with continued projected annual job growth of 1.7%. Much of that can be attributed to the tourism industry in the city. While it employs people in all professions, the bulk of the local economy is driven by the service industry. Casinos, restaurants, and tourist attractions require extensive manpower to keep visitors happy and coming back.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has paused growth. Unemployment hit an all-time high in May at a record-breaking 28%. Many tourism-related businesses closed temporarily, causing a 41% year-on-year loss of jobs at hotels, casinos and restaurants.

Construction is also a growing industry in the city as the area continues to expand. In 2018, the job growth for construction employment grew by twice the national average (due to projects like the $1.8 billion Raiders stadium).

According to Forbes, the state of Nevada is the 13th best state in the country for business. Much of this can be attributed to the favorable small business laws in the state.

What do I need to know about Las Vegas education?

In the past, Nevada hasn’t fared well in public education rankings. However, initiatives by the government, help from teachers, and assistance from those living in Las Vegas have helped to scale those results on an upward trend. From 2016–2018, Nevada ranked last in the nation in public education. However, in 2019, the state gave up the last spot after improving by 1.8 percentage points.

But that single statistic does not paint a clear enough picture. According to Education Week’s Quality Counts 2019 report card, the state ranks 35th in K–12 education. The report further shows that the failure-to-graduate rate of high schoolers fell from 38% in 2010 to 19% in 2017. In other words, the schools may not take top accolades in the country, but they are on a steady course of improvement.

Las Vegas’ Clark County School District is the fifth-largest system in the entire country, with 336 schools and an annual budget of $5.2 billion. Student assignment for the district operates on a traditional location-based zoning system. But parents can put in a request for their child to transfer to another school outside of their assigned zone through open enrollment. The district offers a variety of magnet schools, career and technical programs, and digital learning opportunities.

Don’t want to go the public school route? You have a choice of over 80 private schools in the greater Las Vegas area. If you’re looking for higher education options, there are a number of colleges and universities in the area, including the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Las Vegas public schools have implemented a distance learning program during COVID-19. Food service will continue and the CCSD website lists locations providing free wi-fi, as well as where to pick up computers or electronic devices for the school year. As for private schools, some will hold presential classes with some restrictions, such as no visitors.

What are the safest areas in Las Vegas?

If you’re considering a move to Las Vegas, you’ll want to know the safest areas for you and your family. According to Neighborhood Scout, these are some of the safest neighborhoods in the city:

  1. Anasazi Drive and West Lake Mead Boulevard (West of the Strip in the Summerlin area)
  2. Racel Street and Maverick Street (Northwest Las Vegas, north of the 215 beltway)
  3. Tule Springs Road and Maggie Avenue (Northwest Las Vegas, just west of Racel Street and Maverick Street)
  4. Farm Road and North Tenaya Way (Northwest Las Vegas, south of Tule Springs Road and Maggie Avenue)
  5. Garthmore Avenue and Bonnyhill Street (Southwest of the Strip and south of Blue Diamond Road (160) in the Southern Highlands Area)

Neighborhood Scout statistics show that Las Vegas is safer than only 11% of the other cities in the U.S. But when you compare Las Vegas to cities of similar population size, the crime rate in the area is actually lower than average.

These numbers can only give you a high-level view of safety in the city. If you want to learn more, check out resources and crime stats on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department website.

How do I get around Las Vegas?

The average commute time in Las Vegas is 25 minutes. You have many options when it comes to transportation. You can have your own car, use public transportation, or rely on rideshares like Uber and Lyft. For those looking to use public transportation, options include the Las Vegas Monorail (for travel near the Strip) and the RTC bus service that works all over town.

Rideshare options are a dime a dozen in the city, 24 hours a day. If you turn on Uber or Lyft anywhere in the city, you’ll typically see at least 10-20 drivers circling your area. Be aware that during late nights, weekends, and holidays around the Strip, you’ll probably see surge pricing, so expect to pay a little extra or plan accordingly. The city does have taxis available as well for those that prefer the more traditional approach to travel.

If you’re bringing your own car to Las Vegas, you’ll need to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Be aware that registration calculations in the city are done by the value of your car, so it may be a bit more expensive than you’re used to. You can estimate your expected costs with a registration calculator provided by the DMV.

What’s the weather like in Las Vegas?

Hot. If you haven’t already heard, the city of Las Vegas gets hot during the summer months. Average highs during July are around 104 degrees, with records getting up to 117 degrees. During the winter months, expect highs around the mid-50s with lows averaging out around the high-30s and low-40s. Rainfall is sporadic and minimal throughout the year, averaging half an inch or less every month except December, January, and February.

What are Las Vegas’s fastest-growing neighborhoods?

Many Las Vegas neighborhoods are growing fast. As the city as a whole continues to experience growth, localized areas in the city and the Las Vegas suburbs are outpacing the rest of the city.

In Las Vegas:

The Lakes

According to Zillow, the Lakes is one of the hottest markets in the area. While the home value index has dropped slightly over the past year, it’s expected to grow by 3.4% in the next 12 months. The neighborhood is one of the few spots in town where you can live by an actual lake. Sure, it’s man-made, but for those needing a water fix, the Lakes might be a great fit.

The median home value in the area is $347,989, and the median rent price is $1,700/mo. (exceeding the city’s median rent of $1,500/mo.)

Buffalo

West of downtown and south of Charleston Blvd sits the Buffalo area. Zillow’s home value index expected the area to grow an impressive 3.7% in the next year. But due to the pandemic, the figure has been adjusted to fall 1.3%. The area is home to several parks, baseball fields, and recreational complexes. It’s a perfect fit for those looking for Las Vegas neighborhoods with active communities.

In the Buffalo area of Las Vegas, the median home value is $357,906. Median rent in the area is $1,300/mo., lower than the city’s median rent of $1,500/mo.

Spring Valley

Located in the heart of the city and about two miles west of the Strip and the new Raiders Stadium is Spring Valley. A quick drive through the area shows that new shopping centers, housing complexes, and apartments are springing up everywhere. As with all other areas in Las Vegas, COVID-19 has affected growth. Zillow’s home value index predicted growth of 4.3%  within the coming year.

Spring Valley’s median home value is $300,560. The median rent for the area is $1,400/mo., $100 below the city’s median rent.

Angel Park

Nestled quietly in the northwest side of town is an area known as Angel Park. For those that want access to casinos but don’t want to be by the Strip, the Angel Park area is close to several off-strip favorites that cater to locals. Golfers can enjoy several courses nearby, including the Angel Park Golf Club that offers two courses and a pitch and putt course. The median square foot price in the area is $159, which is below the city average of $171. However, Zillow predicts a 3.7% increase through the next 12 months of transactions.

The median home value in the Angel Park area is $257,229. For renters, the median rent price is $1,372/mo. This is slightly below the city’s median rent of $1,500/mo.

Pioneer Park

Out west near Summerlin, you’ll find a small neighborhood known as Pioneer Park. The area is home to several parks and has easy access to Red Rock Casino and Red Rock Canyon. Those looking for a mix of indoor and outdoor fun will love what this Las Vegas neighborhood has to offer. According to Zillow’s home value index, the 1-year forecast is growth of an impressive 3.8%.

Median home value for Pioneer Park in Las Vegas is $231,100. If you’re renting, you’ll find the median rent price is $1,295/mo. This is 13.6% lower than the city’s median rent of $1,500/mo.

In the Greater Las Vegas Metro Area

Henderson, Nevada

Located to the south and east of the Strip, Henderson is one of the fastest-growing Las Vegas suburbs. From 2017 to 2018, the city grew by 10,800 people. The appeal of Henderson is the easy access to the Strip and Las Vegas attractions, while still getting to enjoy the perks of being in one of the Las Vegas suburbs.

According to Zillow, the median home value in Henderson is $352,101, and the median rent price is $1,635/mo.

Summerlin, Nevada

Northwest of the Strip lies a hidden gem of luxury just outside of the entrance to Red Rock Canyon. According to home sales in the area, the city has been consistently growing since its induction into the area nearly three decades ago. In 2019, Summerlin added seven neighborhoods and currently has 35 active neighborhoods selling. If you’re visiting Summerlin, make sure to take the time to check out the downtown, an incredibly fun and inviting shopping and entertainment destination.

The median home value in the northern part of Summerlin is $406,352, and the median rent price is $1,800/mo. In southern Summerlin, those numbers increase. The median home value goes up to $464,692, and the median rent price is $1,895/mo.

North Las Vegas

With population growth from 2010 to 2018 of 13.5%, the city of North Las Vegas is quickly becoming a booming area. While this does pale in comparison to the 20.7% growth seen in Henderson, it still puts the area well out ahead of many other areas in the state. The highlight of the area is hands-down the views you get of the surrounding mountains. Remember, Las Vegas is built in a valley and is surrounded by beautiful mountains on all sides. The further you get outside the city, the closer you get to a natural paradise.

The median home value in north Las Vegas is $279,859. The median rent price is $1,500.

Living in Las Vegas: The fun part

For the sports fan

Probably the fastest-growing area of entertainment you’ll get to experience when moving to Las Vegas is in the sports realm. The city now has an NHL team (Golden Knights), a Triple-A baseball team (Las Vegas Aviators), a WNBA Team (Las Vegas Aces), a major league soccer team (Las Vegas Lights), and an NFL team (Las Vegas Raiders). Currently, a stadium is being built out in Henderson to house the newest addition to the sports lineup — a minor league hockey team.

For the culture-seeker

You’ve got several avenues to experience culture in Las Vegas. There are 23 museums and 17 libraries throughout the city. On the Strip, some of the biggest names in entertainment have residencies or make their way through the city on tour. Off the Strip, you have plenty of unique museums and performing arts like The Smith Center for Performing Arts, the Atomic Testing Museum, the Neon Museum, and the Nevada State Museum.

There’s plenty to do for families, as well! You can check out the Discovery Children’s Museum or maybe grab a sweet treat at Ethel M Chocolate Factory.

For the foodie

Most people know that you can get cuisines from some of the world’s top chefs on the Strip any night of the week. What you may not know, though, is that just off the Strip are some of the biggest hidden gems in the city. If you’re looking for Asian food, try Chinatown. If you’re looking for unique offerings, try the restaurants downtown. And if you’re a fan of sushi, the city is home to some of the highest quality all-you-can-eat, made-to-order sushi (typically for under $25 per person). In addition, Las Vegas is home to 22 breweries, many of which have tasting rooms.

For the traveler

Traveling from Las Vegas is incredibly easy. If you’re looking to get away by plane, McCarran International Airport offers domestic and international flights all over the country and the world. Those looking for day trips will have plenty of options to choose from, including Valley of Fire State Park, Area 51, the Hoover Dam, and Bryce Canyon National Park.

For the outdoor explorer

Vegas is home to some of the best hiking and outdoor adventures in the world. There are 182 hiking trails available. Just a few miles northwest of the Strip is Red Rock Canyon, a favorite of locals for decades. If you need more, you’re less than 4 ½ hours away from the Grand Canyon and 2 ½ hours from Zion National Park.

While you’ll need to plan to get out earlier during the hotter summer days, you can experience nature in Las Vegas year-round.

What you probably didn’t know about Las Vegas…

If you want the down-low on what the locals know, here you go:

  • There are almost 20,000 conventions held in Las Vegas every single year. These include everything from the latest technology (CES) to the International Pizza Expo.
  • If you see locals at a show on the Strip, don’t automatically assume they paid to be there. Many of the biggest shows in town use seat-filler companies like Plug In Vegas to fill in empty seats when sales are slower or when shows are newer. The phrase “experience Vegas like a local” comes with some perks.
  • Most of the Las Vegas Strip is not technically in Las Vegas. The majority of Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) is located in Paradise, Nevada.
  • The entertainment areas of Las Vegas are split into two main sections: old Las Vegas around Fremont Street and new Las Vegas, known as The Strip. Fremont Street offers just as much excitement as The Strip but is much less expensive, which makes it a local favorite.
  • Curious how they picked the spot for Las Vegas in the middle of the desert? The city was an early railroad stop made famous by the availability of water in the area.

If you’re interested in moving to the area check out our city page on Las Vegas!

The bottom line

While we’ve covered a considerable amount of information about Las Vegas, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. The city extends well past the famed Las Vegas Strip into unique neighborhoods, each with its own culture. When you arrive, you’ll have plenty to see and do to get more acquainted with the city.

If you’re looking for more information about your new potential home, there are many additional resources that can help. The Clark County Community Resources listings page breaks down a ton of useful links and webpages for everything you need to know about the city. Local news stations like KTNV – 13 Action News, KSNV – News 3 LV, and Fox 5 Vegas are great places to keep up with local happenings both on TV and online.

But the best way to learn about the city? Get out there and explore Las Vegas for yourself!

Cynthia Paez Bowman contributed to this article 


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