Sure it's relative, but really it's awful
I have lived in Las Vegas for 22+ years. Essentially I grew up here, went through the Clark County School System, went to UNLV, started my career here. I've seen the city go from about 500k people to now about 3 million. Though I did grow up here, I have spent a lot of time elsewhere, with family all over the country- various cities, small towns, etc- I have experienced a lot of other places and I feel I can give an honest assessment of what Vegas is like.
What you think of Vegas is extremely relative- but it's not for me and I feel is getting worse and worse annually. Actually since Covid, it seems like it's declining monthly.
If you're from a crappy, expensive and large city-Vegas seems great because to you, it's affordable, there is a lot to do here entertainment wise, etc.
Most people who move here and tend to genuinely like it are typically young, single people who love to party, frankly tend to be shallow and are just looking to appear flashy, make a quick buck etc.
If you're a relatively sane, intelligent person from a smaller (not big city) place that likes community, good schools, affordability, Vegas is NOT it.
Don't get me wrong, there are good people here, but unless you're plugged into a church, get heavily involved in some sort of niche group, etc, it is difficult to find real friends or connection for someone who did not grow up here and doesn't have "roots". People here can be very cliquey, flaky, fair weathered, transient, aloof. Don't be surprised if you NEVER see or talk to your neighbors, especially in the newer, suburban home areas.
Essentially if you move to a "nice" part of town, at some point you most likely won't want to leave the 2 mile suburban bubble you're in once you see how this city is. A "normal" person realizes Vegas is not "normal" after probably a year or so of living here, once the novelty of "all the fun there is to do" or "so much is open 24hrs" wears off. You'll begin to wonder why the F you're here.
CCSD wasn't great when I went-and I went to a "better school"- and it has gotten much worse. Don't take my word for it, do your research- this school district and NV as a whole is ranked at or near the bottom as one of the worst education/districts in the country annually. It's a **** show.
Much like many other places (Idaho, Texas, Nashville, Colorado), especially due to the proximity to California the city has gotten a massive influx of transplants from California, mostly LA area- as a result, although avg income has stayed the same, housing and rent has gone through the roof. For example, last year the median housing price in July was 300k, in one year it went up to 310k. It was about $245k just a few years ago, and rent has followed suit. In the last 4 years the same 1 bedroom apartment has gone from 800 a month in 2016 to about 1150-1200 a month (not the best area). Expect to see apartments in the 1250-1600 a month range in any decent area. But if you're from a big, expensive city, this falls on deaf ears.
As a result, relatively speaking- and especially with plummeting employment due to Covid- when paired with stagnant wages, and increasing costs of everything else, Vegas is quickly becoming "expensive".
We also have some of the highest gas, liquor and food prices in the (contiguous) US due to everything getting shipped in to the middle o the desert and the lack of agricultural areas, etc nearby.
Eating and drinking out, and we're talking off strip, is expensive compared to other metro areas. Unless it's a "happy hour" the average cost of a drink or draft beer at a local, suburban, off strip bar- is probably $8.
If you want a single family home expect your electric bill to be around $300 a month 3-4 months out of the year from May/June-Sept.
We have nice roads and highways, and great infrastructure, traffic is not bad compared to other large metro areas but road rage and bad driving has gotten out of control. The drivers here are worse than LA. I honestly don't feel safe driving in this city anymore. 10 years ago that was not an issue, or it was an occasional issue, now its a regular thing. Oh yeah, we also have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country as a result.
All types of Crime has gone through the roof since 2016. We are now seeing issues with violent crime on the strip being out of control in Aug/Sept 2020 (there are multiple factors here) when it wasn't an issue here. LVMPD finally came out this week to state that yes, it is a problem and there is a rise in crime. Much of it is from (thugs) visiting from other states and causing problems. Our moron Sheriff dissolved our Gang Unit years ago, and as a result Vegas now has significant gang/violence problems and they just now realized "Oh, gee, maybe we shouldn't have done this".
Due to the "nature" of Las Vegas, drugs and human/sex trafficking are a MASSIVE problem here. I graduated high school in 2009. From 2008-2012 I had to have at least 20-30 kids that I personally knew from my graduating class die from overdoses before hitting 18 or 21, and that was just the ones I heard about, at a "nice" school. It's way worse now, 10 years later. Heroin is a big issue here, and cocaine, in the nice areas and Meth/crack are more issues in the inner city, North Vegas and Boulder Hwy areas.
Rough population in 2011: about a million, rough population 2020, about 3 million. Yes, the population tripled in 9 years. No, the statistics on this site are not accurate and do not account for the metro area.
If you have kids, want to raise a family in a safe place, with good schools, don't move here. Don't let the nice new suburbs, and developments fool you. They're over priced, the "nice" parts of town are often targeted for burglaries and home invasions. Ring, security cameras, etc are a MUST here.
Now again, it's all relative- but as for me and my friends (who all have kids/families now), between the now lack of employment, stagnant wages, increasing COL and overall exponential decline of the city, we are all getting the hell out of here.
Vincent | Henderson, NV