Off to Nevada, huh? Or maybe you’re still just thinkin’ about it. Either way, this little guide of ours will teach you the ins and outs of life once you’re here or give you the extra info you need to decide if ‘Vada is the right place for you.
We’ve scoured the info books, travel brochures, blogs and beyond to put together this helpful handbook of stats, facts, trivia, sights and even some weird stuff, just for fun. So, let’s get to it.
Nevada is also known as The Silver State, dating back to the silver rush of the 1800s. The state's also called The Battle Born State, after earning a spot in the union in 1864, during the Civil War. But two nicknames just ain’t enough, so it’s also been called The Sagebrush State, after the wild sagebrush that grows like crazy all over the place.
Now, a lot of folks out there might be concerned that Nevada only has Las Vegas to offer, and that unless you love slots and showgirls, you won't fit in. It's true that the Vegas strip is one of the top tourist destinations in the country (ranked #8 on touropia.com's in 2018), and that the Vegas area is home to three-quarters of the state’s entire population, but Nevada is big, with a lot going on.
In fact, Nevada is actually the 7th biggest state in the country by land area, and it’s full of way more than just buffets and bachelorette parties.
For starters, the state is home to lots of scenic nature and several national parks, including Great Basin National Park and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Nevadans keep themselves busy with all sorts of outdoor activities, not just cooped up inside casinos with no clocks on the walls.
So let’s talk more about the state of Nevada, and why about 3,056,824 people currently call it their home, according to worldpopulationreview.com. And maybe why you might want to make it yours too. Let’s start with the job scene.
Unless you’re an heir or heiress to some sort of ridiculous oil money fortune, you’ll need a job when you land. To start, the state's unemployment rate is 4.9%, which is a hair above the national average of 4.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its minimum wage is $8.25/hour, which is a buck above the federal minimum. But what’s hot out here, besides the sidewalks?
According to zippia.com, some of the fastest-growing jobs in Nevada include: electronic assembler, industrial engineer, line leader, machinist, inspector, cement mason, taxi driver and electrician. But if you’re looking to retire earlier, the highest-paying positions in the state are: anesthesiologist, surgeon, pediatrician, airline pilot, dentist, CEO, psychiatrist and judge.
Looks like no matter whether you’re bringing your current career with you or looking for a fresh start, there’s plenty of room for success here. Which is nice.
Unless you're planning on holing up permanently in one of the many hotels in Vegas or tentin’ it deep in the Mojave desert, you’ll also be needing a place to live. And considering that 58,785 people moved here in 2017, according to worldpopulationreview.com, you won’t be alone. So let’s see what’s out there for you.
For starters, zillow.com says that Nevada’s median home value is around $278,000, increasing a whopping 13.5% over the past year. Homes are currently listed on the market for an average of $314,994, and are selling for about $277,900. But if you’re looking to just rent a place, the average home rental will be around $1,153, depending on where you’re looking.
Or, if you just totally fear 30-year commitments, you can always go with an apartment. According to rentcafe.com, one-bedroom apartments in Las Vegas are around $959/month; that's similar to Carson City, the state’s capital, where you’ll be paying about $977/month. On the higher end, you’ll find that in Reno, Henderson and Sparks, the same one-bedroom apartment goes for between about $1,136/month and $1,209/month.
The majority of Nevada homes were built from the 2000s and on, with a ton of new construction underway on the state's western edge, in and around Reno and Carson City. There's also lots of development in the southern tip of the state too, in and around Las Vegas, Boulder City and Bullhead City.
Beyond that, however, you’re pretty much just looking at desert—not a lot of new construction going on. So chances are you won’t be stuck in some massive money pit of a home that needs a complete remodel.
The Battle Born State was ranked the 8th-most diverse in the country in 2018 by WalletHub—way to go, Nevada! 69.7% of the population speaks English only, with Spanish coming in second at 21.1%.
Yep, you'll find people of all kinds, shapes and sizes here—car enthusiasts, foodies, outdoorsy types, free spirits, and of course, card sharks. Nevadans claim that their fellow locals have lots of state pride—so much, in fact, that they have an official state holiday known as "Nevada Day."
When it comes to the approachability level of residents, quora.com and movoto.com vary a bit. Some say that Nevadans are laid-back, open, accepting and welcoming. Others claim they’re uptight, unfriendly and won't do things like wave or engage in a little friendly chit-chat.
But one aspect that was unanimously agreed upon was that people here are pretty desensitized. They say that since Nevada's visitors and residents are so diverse, they’ve pretty much seen it all, making it impossible to shock them.
Nevadans like to get outside and take advantage of the many outdoor activities available to them (when the heat's not too hot to bear, that is). Locals enjoy rock-climbing, zip-lining, camping, skiing, snowboarding and tubing along the Truckee River. Residents also frequent car shows and races in some really super-tricked-out rides like they were auditioning for the 12th Fast & Furious movie.
Another almost unanimously agreed-upon point among the locals is that the Las Vegas strip gets old fast when you live in Nevada. Residents here make it a point to seek out the areas that tourists haven't yet sniffed out for themselves. They know the best casinos and nightlife spots, as well as restaurants and theaters to hit up where they won't be swarmed by dudes on their annual “Bro trip to the strip.”
Now we’re gonna run through a bunch of rapid-fire trivia that’ll totally come in handy on your new journey—if not at least at your next pub trivia night.
Nevada became famous and experienced a huge population boom back in 1859 when the Comstock Lode silver deposit was found. Today, the state is the leading producer of gold in the country, and one of the largest in the entire world. But that ain’t all that glitters, here—Nevada sees about 300 marriages every single day (consequently, the divorce rate in the state is 50% higher than the national average). Ahh, the kids these days.
You’ll find slot machines all over the place in Nevada, even in the first gas station after crossing the border. The first-ever casino in Las Vegas was the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, which opened in 1906 and has blown up since then. Las Vegas has the majority of the world's biggest hotels within a single city's limits, and also has more hotel rooms than anywhere else in the world.
Nevadans take great pride in their state for having a rich pioneering history, and even have annual festivals that feature ox wagons and stagecoaches—it’s like a real-life version of the Oregon Trail game, without the dysentery.
And speaking of sick adventures, residents also partake in an activity known as "land sailing," where little vehicles with wheels and massive sails cruise through desert sands at high speeds.
One thing to note about Nevada is that it's mostly desert, and as a result, it gets hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk (you’ll want to just take our word for it). Many days in summer reach temperatures well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
And if you come from somewhere full of lush, green grass, you might need a bit of an adjustment period—just dirt, sand and rocks here. Locals who have migrated to the state say that they started to miss grass after while, though probably not the mowing it part.
The desert atmosphere, however, makes the perfect home for the annual Burning Man festival. This counterculture-embracing week-long event takes place in the Black Rock Desert of northwest Nevada, and is a chance for participants to indulge in "radical self and artistic expression."
Because of Nevada's high-draw tourism industry, the state is host to tons of events annually, and not just in Vegas. There are dozens of concerts, art shows, festivals, car shows and other special events each year, including Cirque du Soleil.
But probably one of the most famous and mysterious locations in Nevada is the conspiracy theory-ridden US Air Force facility known as Area 51. It's out in the southern desert, and its official purpose is not disclosed to the public.
However, theories and historical evidence suggest that mainly weapons development and "experimental aircraft" testing goes on inside the extremely secure site. The area is not open to the public, and those who attempt to get in run the risk of being shot by patrolling security guards. Totally not worth it.
No matter if you're a Vegas Strip bum or an Area 51 conspiracy theorist, here are a few top must-sees in the state to show you just how diverse the list of things to do here is.
Here are just a few of the state's main attractions:
Before you uproot your whole life and move off to ‘Vada, it might be handy to hear some pros and cons to life in Nevada from actual Nevada-ers.
Pros (as told by real-life Nevada residents):
Cons (also as told by real-life Nevada residents):
Let’s lighten the mood a bit with some of the strangest, wackiest, head-scratchingest and most outdated Nevada laws still in existence.
Well, there it is. Your backstage pass to all things Nevada, jam-packed with some insider trivia to help get you started on making that decision. Though sadly we probably couldn’t tackle all of your concerns and questions, we hope to have given you a great start.
If 5,000-year-old trees, rainbow geysers, off-beat festivals, showgirls and sun are your thing, you’re gonna love Nevada.
Good luck, and remember to pack plenty of extra water—it's flippin’ hot.
NOTE: if you decide Nevada isn't right for you, we've covered all the other states, too, to help you find YOUR spot. If devil’s armpit hot isn’t your thing, have you thought about Vermont?