Thinking about living in Nevada? You’re in good hands. I ended up moving to Nevada six years ago and have seen the state change from A hidden gem to a growing hot spot.
There’s a lot to love (and not love) about living in Nevada. As such, I thought it would be interesting to go over the honest pros and cons of living in Nevada from firsthand experience.
I’m not one for small talk, so let’s dive into the honest pros and cons of living in Nevada.
Table of Contents: Living in Nevada
Table of Contents: Living in Nevada
- Biggest cities in Nevada
- I’ll help you out, make sure you pronounce the state name correctly!
- Pros & Cons of Living in Nevada
- First, the Pros of Moving to Nevada
- Cons of Living in Nevada
- Retiring in Nevada FAQ
- Pros & Cons of Moving to Nevada (Post Summary)
Biggest cities in Nevada
Something folks don’t realize until (actually) moving to Nevada is how rural the state is. Home to 3 million residents, Nevada is the 7th largest city in the country and yet one of the least populated.
The two major metro areas are Las Vegas/Henderson (near the border of northern California) and Reno/Carson City (near the border of southern California, Arizona and Utah). The two metro areas are 7-hours drive apart.
But back to my earlier point — apart from these two metro areas, living in Nevada is a pretty rural affair.
Some towns have populations of less than 20,000 people and the self-sufficient attitude to go with it. Since most folks that end up moving to Nevada land in the two metro areas mentioned earlier, I’ll keep the focus on those.
- Population: 646,790
- Average Salary: $60,000
- Median home price: $440k
- Population: 322,178
- Average Salary: $46,500
- Median home price: $475K
- Population: 268,851
- Average Salary: $50,000
- Median home price: $520K
- Population: 58,993
- Average Salary: $58,300
- Median home price: $482K
I’ll help you out, make sure you pronounce the state name correctly!
I mean it, nothing grates on a locals nerves like folks mispronouncing Nevada. Learning the proper pronunciation only takes a second (plus, it’s the respectful thing to do!). The video below is helpful. 🙂
Pros & Cons of Living in Nevada
First, the Pros of Moving to Nevada
1. No state income tax for those living in Nevada
Hands down, one of the biggest perks of moving to Nevada is the lack of state income tax. Nevada is one of nine states that doesn’t have a state income tax, which means you get to keep more of your paycheck.
This is a huge perk that can’t be overstated. For reference, the neighboring state of California has a state income tax of (up to) 13.3%, depending on your income bracket. Think about that! Simply by living in Nevada vs California, you get to keep up to 13% more of your paycheck.
Likewise, Nevada also has the some of the lowest property taxes in the country (huge perk for those planning on buying a home when moving to Nevada).
All told, the overall tax burden of living in Nevada is quite low. In fact, Nevada has one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the country. With such a low tax burden, is it any wonder why so many folks end up retiring in Nevada?
2. Constant sunshine
If you’re moving to Nevada for the sake of sunshine, you won’t be disappointed. Nevada is considered one of the sunniest states in the country.
Nevada averages 210 days of sunshine per year, which means you’ll get your fill of Vitamin D most days of the year. The climate tends to be arid and warm, which takes some adjustment for those moving to Nevada from muggier climates.
But I don’t want to fool you — it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to living in Nevada. Far from it, we’ll cover the downside of Nevada’s dry climate in the cons section below.
3. Nevada is a mountainous state
Somethings folks don’t realize until living in Nevada is that it’s one of the most mountainous states in the country. This comes as a surprise for most folks because the states is associated mostly with the desert. But it’s true, home to 2,100+ mountains, you can easily find some stunners.
One of the top sports my friends are into is rock climbing, something I didn’t understand until realizing our proximity to the mountains. Another popular activity is mountain biking — you’ll have an opportunity to learn both while living in Nevada!
Fun fact: With an impressive elevation of 13,147 feet, the highest peak in Nevada is Boundary Peak.
4. Outdoor recreational opportunities
Going hand in had with the mountains, living in Nevada is a treat for those that love the outdoors. There’s so many great national parks and forests to play in, you’ll never have a reason to be bored.
If helpful, here’s a roundup of the most popular outdoor spots:
Having easy access to Lake Tahoe is a huge perk of living in Nevada. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and is often considered the most beautiful.
Spanning 22 miles, the pristine shades of blue entice swimmers to plunge into the chilly clear waters of this fresh water lake. But fair warning: Don’t expect to find much solitude here, Lake Tahoe is one of the most visited spots in Nevada.
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is one of the least visited national parks, a fact that boggles my mind because the park is a joy to explore. The hiking opportunities are endless, the old growth Bristle Cone Pine trees are guaranteed to impress and the solitude is priceless.
Located 24 miles east of Las Vegas, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US based on water capacity. The reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam and attracts locals and visitors alike in hordes. Popular things to do include hiking, fishing and boating.
But take note — the water levels at Lake Mead are declining drastically and there’s no telling if they will ever recover. I don’t mean to be a downer, but this is an honest list and you’ll hear other locals sharing concerns about Lake Mead after moving to Nevada.
You may enjoy reading: Best National Park in Nevada
5. Capital of gaming & entertainment
No list of the pros and cons of living in Nevada is complete without mentioning the endless gaming and entertainment experiences at your fingertips.
If you’re moving to Nevada’s most populous city, Las Vegas, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to food and entertainment. Vegas is known as the gambling capital of the world. You’ll have access to luxury casinos, vibrant nightlife, world-class performances and incredible restaurants.
With access to so much entertainment a regular question folks ask is if moving to Nevada is right for them. Well, there’s a few things to consider, mainly:
- Sports and casino gambling is legal.
- Prostitution is legal in certain counties.
All told, your comfort level of living in Nevada, especially Sin City, is dependent on you. If you’re a party animal, you’ll love it. But if you’re more reserved you may find the lifestyle annoying, but you don’t have to participate unless you want to. By avoid the main strip, you’ll be just fine (and Reno may be a better option for you).
6. Nevada is diverse
Nevada is one of the 9th most diverse state in the nation. The state ranks highly for racial/ethnic diversity, with almost 30% of the population identifying as Hispanic and 10% identifying as Black or African American.
Another interesting fact about living in Nevada is that folks born in state make up 26.7% of the population, which is the lowest rate in the United States. In other words, native-born residents are considered the minority.
Fun fact: Nevada is the state where you are most likely to meet a transplant.
Likewise, a high percentage of folks end up moving to Nevada for retirement, which only adds to the diversity. Nevada is one of the top 10 states in the country for retirees.
So if you’re moving to Nevada with the hopes of expanding your social circle, you’ll have an opportunity to do so.
7. Mild winters are a huge perk of living in Nevada
If you’ve lived through your fair share of brutal winters, you’ll find some respite in Nevada. The summers are brutal (I’ll cover this shortly) but the winters are perfectly mild and sunny.
Average winter temperatures hover around 50-60 degrees and It doesn’t rain very often (average statewide rainfall clocks in at 10 inches).
Which means you can easily grill out in December while living in Nevada. How many folks can host BBQs in the dead of winter? Not very many — all the more reasons why moving to Nevada is so appealing to folks.
The best part? If you’re into snow sports you can still have your fill of snowboarding, snowshoeing and skiing in the mountains nearby. You’re never more than two hours away for a heart-thumping snow-centric activity while living in Nevada.
Cons of Living in Nevada
1. The job market leaves much to be desired
There’s no reason to sugarcoat it: Nevada’s job market sucks. If I’m being honest, it’s one of the biggest things that prevents me from living in Nevada long-term.
The currently unemployment rate is 4.4%, which is one of the highest in the country. Likewise, the state’s top employers tend to lean towards entertainment and service industry work:
- Wyn Las Vegas Resort
- Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
- Las Vegas Police
- MGM Grand
- Clark County School District
This information is not surprising, I know, but it’s worth mention because it shows how limiting job prospects are for those moving to Nevada with a college degree. Don’t expect to find much in fields that cater to those with degrees.
2. The blazing hot temperatures
Alright, this wouldn’t be considered an honest list on the cons of living in Nevada without mentioning the unbearable heat. Summer temperatures while living in Nevada are hard to explain to those that have never visited, but I’ll try.
While most places in the country feel like a miserable swamp during summer (looking at you southern states), Nevada will suck the water out of you in an instant. The lack of humidity partnered with high temperatures is downright dangerous — Nevada has the highest heat-related deaths in the country per capita.
It’s not uncommon for highs to exceed 100 degrees during the summer months, staying hydrated is key.
3. The dry heat will take adjustment
Nevada is one of the driest states in the country. As a transplant, I can tell you that this place is really, really dry. I went through a hard adjustment period after moving to Nevada that tested my resolve.
My skin cracked easily, my hair changed and I found myself using gallons of lotion on a monthly basis. I bought this exact humidifier within one month of moving to Nevada on the recommendation of a coworker. All told, I’ve really had to adjust my hygiene products to keep up with the dry heat.
But I will say this, the one upside to the deathly dry climate is the of mold. I’m very sensitive to mold and mildew but haven’t had an issue with either since moving to Nevada.
Local’s Tip: One of my coworkers recommends using Vaseline inside your nose to prevent nose bleeds during excessively dry days. You better believe I stock up on the stuff from June to August.
4. Nevada is one of the least college educated states in the country
With only 25% of households with Bachelor’s degrees (or higher), Nevada is one of the least-college educated states in the nation. Ouch.
This one is a huge con of living in Nevada because we’re not attracting top talent and our average salaries prove it. The job market doesn’t cater to college-educated prospects so many folks don’t see the value in a college education.
One of my coworkers said it best: If most of the jobs in the state are found in entertainment, how do you convince your kid to go to college, especially if they see themselves living in Nevada long-term?
That’s a hard question to answer, but a good one to consider. If you’re moving to Nevada with kids in tow, know that the public school system won’t necessarily set your kid up for success after high school graduation.
Speaking of public education in Nevada, let’s dive into that can of worms next.
5. Poor public schools
The public schools in Nevada often ranks as some of the worst in the country. In regular speech — the education system here is a joke. So much so, that I would urge families moving to Nevada to strongly reconsider unless paying for private school is an often.
Between lower than average standardized test scores and low graduation rate of 81%, the schools in Nevada are nothing to write home about (unless you’re writing to complain).
Good to know before moving to Nevada: In 2018, Nevada’s education system was rated worst in America.
6. Lack of decent healthcare
The lack of decent healthcare is something everyone should strongly consider before moving to Nevada. Whether you plan on having children or are moving to Nevada to retire, chances are you’ll need a good doctor.
Unfortunately for you, Nevada’s access to quality healthcare is some of the worst in the country. Medical malpractice lawsuits are far too common so the state doesn’t attract top doctors.
7. High rates of homelessness
If you recall that I mentioned Nevada is one of the least populous states in the country, so this may surprise you: Nevada has some of the highest homeless rates in the nation to boot. In fact, .22% of the population is considered homeless (8th highest rate in the United States).
You’re bound to see homeless folks in the metro areas while living in Nevada (especially Las Vegas). I’m the first to admit that I don’t know what the solution to homelessness is, so I don’t know how much I can contribute to the conversation — I just want to be transparent with you.
8. Know about the Washoe Zephyr
The Washoe Zephyr is worth knowing about for those considering moving to Nevada. Locals know this all to well, but it seems to catch newcomers by surprise. Don’t worry, I won’t let that happen to you.
The Washoe Zephyr (Washoe is a nickname for Nevada) is a seasonal daily wind that occurs in the western part of the state (east of the Sierra Nevada mountains). The wind blows primarily during the summer months and is strong enough to knock you off your feet.
On days the wind blows you’ll be stuck indoors — which isn’t the end of the world when you consider those dizzying summer temps, but still worth mention.
This is a scientific thing and I don’t have the ability to explain it adequately. If helpful, here’s a great explanation.
Retiring in Nevada FAQ
Is Nevada a good state to live in?
The question of whether Nevada is a good state to live depends on the individual. If you’re okay with soaring temperatures and dry heat, you will find life in Nevada enjoyable. The world-class entertainment is guaranteed to impress you for years and the outdoor recreational opportunities are endless.
However, if you find it hard to adjust to arid climates, you will find living in Nevada challenging.
Is Nevada a good place to retire?
Yes, Nevada is a great place to retire. If you choose to retire in Nevada, you’ll be amongst like-minded thinkers. Nevada is the 6th most popular state in the country for retirees. But between the constant sunshine and low tax burden, it’s not hard to see why people love retiring in Nevada.
Living in Nevada vs. California
A common question I get asked is what’s it like living in Nevada vs. California. The two states are vastly different in terms of politics and taxes. Nevada is the cheaper option of the two because it has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country.
Likewise, Nevada is one of the least populous states in the country, where California is the most populous. You’ll find epic outdoor recreation in both states, although the topography is more varied in California. If you’re searching for a slower pace of life and more affordability, living in Nevada vs. California is a safe bet.
Is marijuana legal in Nevada?
Yes, as of 2017, the purchase and possession of marijuana is legal in Nevada. Recreation use is permitted.
How many days of sunshine does Nevada get per year?
Nevada averages 210 days of sunshine per year, making it one of the sunniest states in the country.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Nevada (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the pros and cons of living in Nevada.
- No state income tax while living in Nevada
- Constant sunshine
- Nevada is a mountainous state
- Outdoor recreation opportunities
- Capital of gaming & entertainment
- Nevada is diverse
- Mild winters are a huge perk of living in Nevada
- The job market leaves much to be desired
- The blazing hot temperatures
- The dry heat will take adjustment (bloody noses)
- One of the least college educated state in the USA
- Poor public schools
- Lack of decent healthcare
- High rates of homelessness
- Know about the Washoe Zephyr
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