Las Vegas Vs. Phoenix: Which City Is Better To Live In?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Both Phoenix and Las Vegas have sky-high temperatures, little rain, and plenty of opportunities. Located in the middle of the country, these two cities are pretty similar and compare nicely to one another, making it difficult to choose a clear-cut winner.

After examining the overall cost of living, culture, and diversity, it is evident that Phoenix is a better city when compared to Las Vegas. Not only does Phoenix have some of the best school systems in the country, but they also have low crime rates and hot yet predictable year-round weather for residents to take advantage of.

Of course, Las Vegas may be the ideal choice for those who seek a fast-paced life with opportunities for exciting nightlife. Before considering a move to a new city, think about what metrics and factors will matter most to you and your family, and weigh your decision heavily on these essential factors. Consulting with a real estate agent in each city is another way to help answer questions and determine the best city for you.

Which City Is Better: Phoenix or Las Vegas?

Comparing two cities is challenging, especially two cities as similar as Las Vegas and Phoenix. For our research, we want to consider the ways the average person will work and live in each town and think about the metrics that matter most. While some metrics are more measurable than others, each metric is vitally important to help determine a better city.

Quality of Life

Measuring the quality of life can be difficult, especially with so many intangible metrics to consider. Both Phoenix and Las Vegas are well above the national average for the quality of life and are effectively identical. They both feature a strong purchasing power, with money stretching equally far. While Phoenix may be safer and offer better health care, Las Vegas has a better climate and has less pollution.

Winner: Tie

Cost of Living

Overall, it is about 7.6% more expensive to live in Las Vegas compared to Phoenix. One of the major contributing factors to this high cost of living in the 14% increase in housing costs for Vegas homes. While utility costs and health care costs are about the same between these two cities, expect to also pay about 5.1% more for groceries and 9% more for transportation in Las Vegas than Phoenix.

Winner: Phoenix

Housing Costs

Housing costs are similar to one another, but Las Vegas will cost more to buy a home. This 14% increase in housing costs is evident in both the price of a new house and rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Even with the higher housing costs, about 53% of the population in Las Vegas chooses to own their home.

PhoenixLas Vegas
Median House Price$239,400$258,600
Average Rent 1 Bedroom$1,053$1,102

Winner: Phoenix

Job Market

Looking at the job market statistics, it isn’t easy to choose a clear winner. While Phoenix boasts a low unemployment rate, it also has a stunted job growth forecast and a lower median income. Still, even though Las Vegas has higher job growth projections, the 8.8% unemployment rate is far higher than the national average.

In Phoenix, major industries include aerospace, conductor manufacturing, and business services. Las Vegas industries include tourism, gaming, conventions, health and medicine, and mining. The major employers in Las Vegas are Encore Spa And Salon, Nellis Airforce Base, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

PhoenixLas Vegas
Projected 10-Year Growth16%39%
Median Household Income$57,549$56,354
Median Personal Income$29,343$30,761

Winner: Las Vegas


Phoenix is a wonderful mix of several ethnicities that have helped to shape the traditional and unique culture. This city features Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Irish, and German cultures in art, music, and cuisine. There is also a strong Native American heritage evident in the population’s focus on outdoor life and activity. Many people in this city stay active in hiking, biking, or camping.

Las Vegas’s culture thrives on film and entertainment. This town is a major resort city that is focused on fine dining, music, and shows. Every aspect of the city is dripping with entertainment and hospitality, and often the culture of this city exudes confidence and luxury.

Winner: Phoenix


With year-round pleasant weather and the opportunity to be in the great outdoors, it is no wonder that golf is a popular entertainment option for residents. There are high-class golf courses, botanical gardens, and parks to explore. Plus, Phoenix has a first-class children’s museum and several art museums.

Las Vegas bleeds entertainment. Everything in the city is centered on entertainment. From the cuisine to the shows, to the gambling, and the nightlife, there is plenty to keep people busy. But, if entertainment isn’t your preference, there is also the opportunity to visit the Las Vegas Motor Speedway or the Hoover Dam.

Winner: Las Vegas


Boasting a popular international airport, Amtrak station, and one of the fastest-growing freeway systems in the country, it is tough to beat Phoenix transportation. Plus, the city is easily laid out in a grid format, making it easy to understand and navigate. The city was ranked as the 15th most bike-friendly and walking city in the nation.

For a significant city that depends on tourism and travel as the main industry, Las Vegas rather lacks when it comes to transportation. There is a TRC transit bus system throughout the city that helps to connect the city to The Strip, but other than the bus, many people must rely on personal cars to get from one place to another. There is an international airport in Vegas.

Winner: Phoenix


With a young population averaging 35 years of age, Phoenix is a dynamic and diverse city. This town is highly educated, with at least 30% of the population receiving an Associate’s degree. In this city, 20% of the population self-identifies as White, 6% Black, 40% Hispanic, and 3% Asian.

Las Vegas paints a very different picture with most of the population over the age of 65. At least 33% of the population has an Associate’s degree, making this city just slightly more educated than Phoenix. In Las Vegas, about 48% of the population identifies as White, 31% is Hispanic, 11% is Black, and 6% is Asian. When it comes to the racial composition of the city, Las Vegas has a clear advantage.

Winner: Las Vegas


Some of the absolute best public schools in the country are found in Phoenix, and often the public schools far outpace the private schooling options. There are also several opportunities for students to attend higher education with the University of Arizona and Arizona State University located in Phoenix.

Comparatively, Las Vegas also has spectacular private and public schools that are equally as good. These schools rank highly for both academic and athletic performance. College options are limited in this city, though, and students will only have the University of Nevada or Nevada State College to choose from.

Winner: Phoenix


Phoenix is home to some pretty drastic shifts in the weather. Summers are painfully hot, reaching temperatures up to 105 degrees F regularly throughout the season. Winters are warm, with temperatures usually in the high 60s. Much of Phoenix is located in dry and arid parts of the state, and this city only sees about 33 days of rain a year.

Located in the desert, Las Vegas sees almost identical temperatures throughout the year. Summers reach 105 degrees F routinely, and winters float around 60 degrees F. The only difference between these two cities is the unpredictable rainfall in Las Vegas. Although this city only receives a few inches of rain each year, the rain will suddenly come during monsoon season, causing flash flooding.

Winner: Phoenix

Crime Rates

For being a major city, the crime rates in Phoenix are not shockingly high. Violent crimes like assault, murder, and rape are only slightly over average. The same is valid for common property crimes like burglary and theft. Surprisingly though, motor vehicle theft is about twice the national average in Phoenix.

Comparatively, crime in Las Vegas is about the same as the national average. While rape is two times higher, murder and assault are much lower. Surprisingly property crimes in Las Vegas are much lower than the national average. Motor vehicle theft is on par with Phoenix at about twice the national average.

Winner: Tie

Related Questions

Is Las Vegas really in the middle of a desert?

The short answer to this question is, yes, Las Vegas is in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The climate in Las Vegas largely dictates the desert-like atmosphere. This town is one of the driest cities in all of North America, and it is defined by super hot weather and minimal rainfall.

What are the best neighborhoods in Phoenix?

Moving your family to a new city is risky, and you always want to be sure you find the absolute best location to raise your family. Several neighborhoods in Phoenix are highly sought after due to their fantastic school district, neighborhood amenities, and low crime rates. Top areas in Phoenix include Verrado, North Gateway, North Tempe, Glendale.The most popular and most sought-after neighborhood in the city is Arcadia, and most homes will sell quickly and for well over the asking price.


Although Las Vegas is an exciting and unique city, the winner is Phoenix. With a rich cultural background that blends several traditions, a robust outdoor vibe, and plenty of options for entertainment, this city is ideal for all personality types. Phoenix has fantastic school systems, low crime rates, and fantastic job growth potential for those looking to build a family. Although Vegas is a fun and entertaining city, Phoenix is the clear favorite to call home.

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