Las Vegas is the undisputed entertainment capital of the United States, and possibly even the world. Bright lights, cold drinks, and bustling casinos are what the millions of people that flock to Vegas each year expect. It’s hard to imagine such a fun and unique city having any flaws, but you have to take the good with the bad.
Las Vegas residents are not subject to income tax, but the high sales tax rate makes up for it. There is no shortage of memorable entertainment, but it can wear down on locals looking to dodge tourists. Crime is rampant in some areas of Las Vegas, but there is affordable housing in safe neighborhoods.
We all know that visiting Las Vegas is a blast, but what is it actually like to live there? Follow along as we dive into the pros and cons of living in Las Vegas.
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Benefits of Living In Las Vegas
Las Vegas is one of a kind, and that goes right down to the great weather and entertainment options. You have countless casinos at your disposal, but the real kicker is the affordable housing prices. Let’s take a look at what keeps the 651,319 Las Vegas residents living in the city.
1. No State Income Tax
How does no state income tax sound? Anyone that has ever watched money slip through their fingers in the name of state income tax can appreciate Nevada’s 0% rate. To be fair, Las Vegas and other Nevada cities make up for lost income in their sales tax rates.
Even still, the lack of state income tax in Las Vegas is a major benefit of living there. Of course, you’ll still have to pay federal taxes as a Las Vegas resident, but the lack of state income tax helps. Las Vegas is considered a great retirement destination for that reason alone, and retirement income is untouched as well.
Similar to the cost of living in Florida, state income tax is not a concern in Las Vegas.
2. Famous Casinos
You can’t think of Las Vegas without thinking of casinos, and vice versa. Whether it be the Cosmopolitan, Circus Circus, or Caesar’s Palace, top of the line casinos are just a drive away in Las Vegas. Casinos aren’t just utilized by tourists in Las Vegas, and city residents often take advantage of them as well.
The average casino in Las Vegas earns $1.8 million per day, and the vast majority of that comes from gambling. Las Vegas’s famed Strip boasts casinos that earn $814 million each year in revenue that keeps the city going strong. You don’t have to visit casinos in Las Vegas, but there are just so many at your disposal.
3. Low Housing Prices
Sure, you can find expensive houses in Las Vegas, but housing costs are generally cheap. The median home value is $258,600, and that covers a wide spectrum of prices. Renting is another viable option, and you can expect to pay around $1,102 per month in Las Vegas.
Right now, 48% of Las Vegas residents own their homes, meaning the majority of residents are renters. Rent costs are lower than monthly ownership costs, which are roughly $1,496 per month, on average. The price per square foot to build a house in Las Vegas is as low as $126 but it varies based on materials.
|Location||Median Home Value||Median Gross Rent|
Owning a home in Vegas comes with the benefit of a low property tax of 0.53%. Your average homeowner in Las Vegas spends $1,550 per year in property taxes, but it varies by property value. Whether you rent or own in Las Vegas, you will likely find a great deal and feel at home.
4. Beautiful Weather
Las Vegas, and most of Nevada, experiences beautiful weather throughout the year. For 9 months of the year, it is primarily warm and dry in Las Vegas. There are generally only 60-65 days per year without sunshine, but blue skies and the hot sun are the norms.
It can and does get cold in Las Vegas in December, but it is still bearable. Lows generally don’t fall below 38.7°F, and the high temperature hovers around 56.7°F. Summers in Las Vegas and all of Nevada get extremely hot, with temperatures above 100°F being common in July.
Downsides of Living In Las Vegas
A city as lively and fun as Las Vegas naturally comes with some downsides just like anywhere else. There is a high crime rate and a lack of strong public transportation routes. Let’s see what some of the cons of living in Las Vegas are.
1. High Crime Rate
The crime rate is above the national average in Las Vegas, and that’s the harsh reality of the city. Granted, tourist destinations in Las Vegas are generally safer due to a heavy police presence. Crime is higher in Las Vegas than the national average by 33%.
Property crime is the most common type of crime in Las Vegas by far, with 18,793 recent reports. Luckily, violence is less common with a 1 in 164 rate in Las Vegas, and 3,938 reports as of the last census. Sticking to areas with casinos and popular restaurants generally means you’ll be closer to law enforcement and out of danger.
|Location||Violent Crime||Property Crime||Total Crime|
|Las Vegas||6.11 Per 1,000||29.15 Per 1,000||35.26 Per 1,000|
|Carson City||3.50 Per 1,000||14.47 Per 1,000||17.97 Per 1,000|
|Reno||6.64 Per 1,000||25.29 Per 1,000||31.93 Per 1,000|
The safest cities in Las Vegas include Sun City Summerlin, Sheep Mountain, and Meadows Village. Dangerous areas include Arville St., Paradise, and Pilot Road where violence and theft and commonplace. It’s wise to travel with a group at night and avoid the aforementioned areas whenever possible.
Las Vegas has been a vacation destination for millions of people each year since its inception. Each year, an average of 41-49 million people visit Las Vegas intent on gambling and living it up. There’s no doubt the tourists have a great time, but their presence directly affects residents of the city.
There is never a break from tourists in Las Vegas, and the warm weather and bright lights attract people year-round. What that means is that there is never a shortage of outsiders filling up the streets and taking up space. Las Vegas relies on tourism income to keep the city afloat, but it can wear down on Vegas natives.
3. Bad Public Transportation
Sure, there is public transportation, but it is not quite efficient or widespread. Due to a lack of routes, you’ll generally have to do a lot of walking even when you get off the bus in Las Vegas. You’d think a city with such a high population and volume of tourists would have extensive public transit, but Las Vegas doesn’t.
Even reaching some of the suburbs from Las Vegas is tricky due to a limited public transportation system. Luckily, there are reasonable Uber and Lyft rates available that come to the rescue for residents and tourists alike. You can catch Uber rides for $0.20 per minute and $1.10 or more per mile within city limits.
4. Poor Education System
Las Vegas is known for many great things, but its education system is sadly not one of them. In fact, Las Vegas is one of the worst-ranked cities in the country when it comes to education. Schools are jam-packed in Nevada and Vegas, and teacher shortages create difficulties for students.
Only 24.6% of adults in Las Vegas have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the 32.1% national average. Private education is somewhat better than public schooling in Las Vegas, but it is expensive. The average cost of private tuition in Nevada is $10,526, but it varies based on the level of education.
|Las Vegas Education||Average Tuition Cost|
|Average Private School||$10,526|
|Private Elementary School||$9,621|
|Private High School||$11,751|
|Las Vegas College||$14,202|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas||$8,291 (Residents) $23,342 (Non-Residents)|
Despite the small percentage of adults with degrees in Las Vegas, there are a few colleges to choose from. Las Vegas College costs $14,202 per year whether you are in-state or out of state. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas costs between $8,291 and $23,342 per year, but only boasts a 40% graduation rate.
Summing It Up
Las Vegas is an amazing place to live, but it is not without its flaws. The warm weather and casinos are a luxury, but at the expense of a constant flow of tourists. Crime is high in Las Vegas, but the Strip and many gated communities in the city are heavily protected.
You can find many affordable housing options in Las Vegas whether you rent or own. There is no state income tax in Las Vegas, and retirement income isn’t taxed either. Las Vegas is a great place to visit, live, and retire, and the pros outweigh the cons.