Moving to Las Vegas
Move to Las Vegas and you will see what that there is more to the city than the famous strip. Vegas is a vibrant, eclectic place to live with the glitz and glamour of the casinos swapped for small bars, intimate restaurants and great shopping. Few look past the blackjack tables, but those who do are always surprised at what the real Vegas has to offer.
Las Vegas Valley is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US. Its population of 741,459 in 1990 had almost tripled to just over 2m by the start of 2015, while the city itself has a population of almost 600,000.
Despite its relatively short history compared to other US cities Las Vegas has established itself as a diverse presence in the international commerce, business, entertainment and urban development sectors. A record breaking 41m visitors headed to Las Vegas in 2014, producing a gross product of more than $100bn.
The Job Market
Tourism, gaming and teaching currently offer the most employment opportunities in Las Vegas. With wages for a bartender on the strip hitting the $100,000 a year mark thanks to tips, there are waiting lists a mile long for the premier establishments.
The business sector is the fastest growing due to the influx of businesses which are setting up a base here.
The latest statistics released by the DTER show that the Clark County School District is the largest overall employer in the valley with over 40,000 employees. Clark County comes second with around 9,000 employees followed by the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Wynn Las Vegas, who each have approximately 8,500 on their payrolls.
Don't forget that to gain legal employment in Las Vegas you must be in possession of a valid US work permit.
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It comes as a surprise to many that Las Vegas is only the 30th most expensive city to live in the US. No prizes for guessing New York as the 1st - and you would need $7,200 to maintain the same lifestyle as you can get in Las Vegas for $3,900.
The cost of eating and drinking in Las Vegas is very reasonable. The average cost of a 3 course meal in a decent restaurant is $58, a half litre of beer $3, and a litre of milk 90c. These typically vary and invariably become more expensive the nearer you get to the strip but still remain way lower than in the big apple.
Expect to pay around $180 a month for your basic utilities; electricity, water, heating and rubbish collection. It costs around $50 a month for unlimited internet and 25c a minute to use your mobile phone. The latter charge drops dramatically if you sign up for a contract with one of the leading mobile providers such as Orange, Sprint, or T-Mobile.
Many people choose to rent in the suburbs outside the main city. A 1 bed apartment near the main city can cost approximately $800 a month while one outside the city is around $750. For a 3 bedroom apartment inside the city you can expect $1,500, which is about 20% cheaper than Los Angeles and about 8% more expensive than Phoenix.
Whether you are looking for an apartment overlooking the strip, a condo downtown or a family home in the suburbs there is no shortage of choice in Las Vegas. The ever present orange cranes which seem to construct buildings overnight is often referred to as the unofficial bird of Las Vegas.
Sin City is actually a great place to raise a family as away from the tourist area there are some great neighbourhoods that offer everything you would get in any other city in the US, albeit you are surrounded by desert!
Family Friendly:Summerlin is a great community culture in existence here and Summerlin offers plenty in the way of amenities including country clubs, high end shopping malls and chic restaurants. It's also ideal for the outdoorsy types with numerous running and hiking trails around the parklands.
Upmarket: You will need plenty of money to move into the affluent gated community of Queensbridge. Large stucco homes sit on enormous lots with backyard pool parties being the summer's biggest social gatherings. It's a regular occurrence to see celebrities slip out from behind those well oiled gates to take a trip to the strip. Northwest: This affluent corner of Las Vegas is less populated than Summerlin and is far enough to the city to feel like you are in a country escape. If you are looking for a large home with its own identity, and enough money to cover it, Northwest may be the best place for you. City Centre: Top end condos on the strip are some of the most in demand properties in the valley with realtors having waiting lists for each and every one of them.
Hip and Trendy: Downtown was where the legend that is Las Vegas first began before the strip was even thought of. It is now the business hub of the valley even though there are still several casinos on the famous Fremont Street. Even though the emergence of the strip took the focus off Downtown it has lost none of its charm and boasts the most expensive properties in the valley. There is a good mix available from townhomes to high rise condos and the facilities available on the doorstep have seen it retain its title as the most upmarket place to live in Vegas.
Up and Coming: Winchester is located just behind the strip and offers a unique vibe. The Las Vegas Golf Club is located here, as is the famous Sahara Ave with its somewhat less than salubrious reputation. Of all the projects currently in place in Las Vegas this area is benefiting the most. The strips long neglected neighbour is on the up and up.
Cost of moving
The cost of moving to Las Vegas invariably depends on two main things; what you are moving and from where. This is a rough guide to the current prices based on a 20 sq ft shipping container:
Schools and education
Within the Las Vegas area there are no fewer than 349 K-12 schools made up of 286 public and 63 private schools. The schools in Las Vegas are split between 2 districts; Clark Country and the Charter Schools district. There are 275 elementary schools, 135 middle schools, 107 high schools and 198 pre-schools.
Universities in Las Vegas
There is also a good choice of further education establishments with at least 12 colleges and universities in and around Las Vegas. The University of Nevada which has a large Las Vegas campus returned to the top tier of American universities in 2014.
Ranking Against the World
You will find Las Vegas ranked in various positions depending on the sector you are looking for and the resources you are using. As we stated above it is ranked 30th in the US in terms of cost of living, is safer than 13% of other cities in terms of crime and is in the top 5 for leisure and tourism. This is also the most developed industry in Vegas.
In terms of culture it doesn't match up to the likes of New York but has its fair share of museums, galleries and, of course, theatres. As of the 2010 census 15.8% of the population of Las Vegas were estimated to be expats of various nationalities.
A day in the life
From breakfast at The Egg & I on Sahara Ave to hitting the hay when the sun goes down, or comes up depending on whether you have been to the strip or not, a typical day in Las Vegas can be as busy or chilled as you like. If you fancy some thrills atop the Stratosphere Tower and the 4 adrenaline rushing rides you will find there it might be a good idea to skip the breakfast and have brunch at Eat on Carson Ave.
Those who prefer to be out of doors can take in the Chilean flamingoes at the Flamingo Wild Habitat or head off the 300 interactive activities that tell the history of Las Vegas at Springs Reserve. Fancy a game of golf? You have a choice of several courses including the awesome KISS inspired miniature indoor course that glows in the dark.
If you just want to hang out for the day head down town. Great food, great shops, art galleries and the chance to have a drink in Atomic Liquors, one of the oldest bars in Nevada. The Beat Coffee house is one the last remaining in the city and you can spend hours here with the hip and trendy crowd chilling, reading, working or checking out the vinyl records.