What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Reno, NV?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

I first got wind of the city of Reno from a little TV show known as Reno 911. After becoming a massive fan of the fictional police force and their crazy capers, I visited the state and learned what beautiful surroundings Nevada has. I even considered moving to Reno for a minute. However, a little research revealed that Reno is a lot like licorice. It’s great for the right person. Is it a good city for you to move to? It depends on what you’re looking for…

Living in Reno has many pros like no personal income tax, low property tax, and zero inheritance tax. Also, Reno is just 45 minutes from the famous Lake Tahoe and has the highest selection of Ski Resorts in the US. Additionally, it is known as a foodie town, lots of recreation like hiking and camping, and has year-round events. On the flip side, the cons include harsh winters, a lacking job market, a high crime rate, and limited transportation.

Life in Reno is absolutely nothing like what the show suggests, even if it is near a couple of homes of ill repute. This guide will give you a good idea of what most people notice about day-to-day life in Reno.

Related Guide: The Safest Neighborhoods In Reno, NV

Do You Need to Hire Movers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

What Are The Perks Of Living In Reno, NV?

Reno has tons of attractions in and around town—even if you take the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains off the table. Most people tend to mention these benefits as the reasons they like to stay here.

Great Entertainment Opportunities

If nothing else, Reno is a fun town. This is a city that is famous for being close to multiple major natural wonders (HELLO! Sierra Nevadas!?) and also for having a lively nightlife. If you want to get a little risque, then you’ll be happy to know that there *is* that kind of entertainment around the Reno area as well.

People who want to experience other cities won’t have to be too upset about Reno life either. The city happens to be surprisingly close to other major metropolitan areas. For example, it’s possible to hit up San Francisco or Lake Tahoe for a day trip when you get bored. It’s literally just a quick drive away. Oh, and if you’re a foodie? You’ll adore the local restaurant scene.

Endless entertainment is part of why Reno is a good place to live.

Good Job Opportunities

In many parts of the country, trying to find a job tends to be increasingly difficult. This is doubly true if you wanna have a good-paying job. Reno isn’t that kind of city. In recent years, the town has seen a massive boom in jobs. In fact, Reno even managed to weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic pretty well. The current unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, which is a remarkably low rate considering recent national issues.

In terms of income, Reno is fairly middle of the road. The median household income is $58,470 according to the most recent statistic we were able to find. This is slightly below the national median of $62,000 or so. So, it’s fairly normal but slightly lower than what it would be otherwise.

Reasonable Taxes

Reno is one of many Nevada cities that gained a lot of transplants from high tax states. The state of Nevada does not have a state income tax, which means that most people already save a couple of hundred dollars (at least!) by moving here. Reno also tends to be a place with a fairly reasonable property tax. (The county’s average is around 0.66 percent, so it’s not that bad.)

Tax-wise, the only real drawback here is that the sales tax is 8.8 percent. This is about a point higher than the national average. No inheritance tax, though, means that you will also be able to retire here without too much of a problem.


Diversity is another good reason why Reno is popular. This city has a fairly diverse population in terms of both economic wealth and cultural backgrounds. Around 60 percent of people are white, but there are also strong Latinx and black communities. Many Native Americans are also proud to call Reno home.

Along with having a wider range of people, Reno is known for being intolerant of intolerance. In other words, living here means that you will meet a lot of caring, open-minded people who genuinely believe in equality. Racism is not common here, which makes it a great place for people who want to raise kids in a solid community.

What Are The Pitfalls Of Living In Reno, NV?

If there is one thing that we all tend to assume about Reno, it’s that it’s a little bit wacky. Or at least, that’s what I assumed from Reno 911. In reality, this is a place that has a pretty mixed bag of perks and pitfalls. These issues below might make some people think twice before they move here…

Icy Winters

Surprised? I was too, but it’s a legit thing. Reno is north enough in Nevada to have snow days during the winter. Because it is a desert area, there is a higher chance of having slippery roads during snowstorms. Even if you are lucky enough to have a winter season with minimal snowfall, you’ll still face some seriously biting cold year after year.

Don’t be surprised by the desert vibes that Nevada is oh, so famous for. It gets shockingly cold here. You can and will need to have a strong HVAC system in order to live here. Winters can easily drive up the cost of heating, even if you are a snowbird from New York. Might we suggest getting a fireplace for your home?

High Cost Of Living

Most of Nevada is fairly affordable, especially if you are just starting out in life. However, Reno is not most of Nevada. The median price of a home is $494,307 according to the most recent statistics that we found. This is a shocking 20 percent increase over 2020’s prices, and scarily enough, it’s still on the rise. With that said, some sites placed the median house price at $370,000. Either way, it’s at least 60 percent more than a typical home.

The cost of living index shows that Reno is 116.2, which means that a typical Reno resident would have to spend $116.2 to get the same standard of living that would cost $100 in a typical part of the country. While housing is still the most expensive item on a Reno resident’s budget, food can also get pretty high. Thankfully, most other items are slightly below the national average for now.

High Crime Rate

One of the things that the TV show got right about Reno is that it has a higher than average crime rate. Sadly, Reno is not one of 10 best and safest places to live in Nevada.

Both violent and property crimes are above the norm here. If you live here for a year, you will have a 1 in 180 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. Property crime rates are even higher, with current rates at 1 in 47.

If you are worried about having kids in a family-friendly environment, it’s best to rethink Reno. This city is known for having a lot of adult clubs that many might feel uneasy living near. Some have even claimed that these clubs tend to recruit people fresh out of high school. With that said, Washoe County did ban bordellos. So, this means that Reno will not allow you to have legal prostitution areas near you.

Do You Need to Hire Movers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

Can you drink the tap water from Reno, NV?

The most recent studies on the water quality of Reno show that the tap water is totally compliant with the Safe Water Drinking Act. This makes it safe to drink by federal standards. You will not have to worry about high levels of lead or having bacteria in the water. With that said, it’s always a good idea to add a water filter to your faucets if you are worried about contaminants.

Is it cheaper to live in Reno or Las Vegas?

Believe it or not, it’s actually cheaper to live in Las Vegas than it is to live in Reno. Vegas has housing rates that are around 20 percent cheaper, which means that you get a huge discount on the basics right off the bat. If you are open to getting a little thrifty, then you also might notice extremely low food prices closer to Vegas than what you would get in Reno.Moreover, Las Vegas generally has lower municipal taxes than Reno does. So you also will be able to save money when you’re dealing with the IRS.

Is Reno better to visit or to live here?

Honestly, most people who have been to Reno agree that it’s a better place to call home than it is to visit. You can get a lot more interesting attractions at a reasonable price by visiting a larger city like Vegas or San Francisco. Reno, while fun, is still more of a hometown type of place, simply because it hasn’t gotten to the point where you will see a particular Reno-specific attraction in tour guides.With that said, if you want to stop by, you’ll still have a ton of fun.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

More by Ossiana Tepfenhart