A Friendly Warning About Relocating to Las Vegas, From Someone Who Lives Here

Illustration by Cierra Pedro

Illustration by Cierra Pedro

I know you love Las Vegas, but talk me out of moving there. Please.

I have occasionally been accused of being a Vegas cheerleader, but I prefer to think of myself as a Vegas enthusiast. My hometown is certainly not built for everyone (even most people), and simply being what it is makes it the target of much criticism from those who think they have a superior idea of what it should be.

In the early 1990s, Las Vegas was seen as a sort of modern Detroit with a twist, a freedom-loving Eldorado where almost anyone could earn enough to raise a family and drive a new SUV. Neighborhoods arose from the desert seemingly every day, and the lure of a new $90,000 home encircled by a 6-foot cinder-block wall was tantalizing to families struggling for quality of life in other urban areas. The impact of the subsequent population influx and the challenges generated by it make Las Vegas what it is today; to many, this means a far less desirable place to live.

Our systems—and our citizens—buckle under the weight of a million-plus new faces, and the results are increased crime, water-supply concerns, infrastructure deterioration and a severely challenged education system. Traffic. Pollution. Stress. All the normal city stuff we seemingly magically avoided when we were a town of 200,000 living with the amenities of a place much larger.

Plus, the clichéd stuff holds true: The summers are brutal. Temptation is everywhere. Las Vegas seems to attract people who are running or reinventing. It isn’t all that pretty (cookie-cutter neighborhoods don’t age well during a recession). We have a homeless problem. Locals don’t pay attention to you or your needs until you have been here a few years. It’s hot. It’s dry. It’s windy. It can wear you down very quickly if you are one of those who wants to change it.

If you still insist on coming, you will only add to those demands and complaints. The old wells are running dry, and with them will go the old ways of living. This is perhaps the first time in Vegas history when you should be prepared to bring more to the table than you intend to take. Are you up for that?

Questions? AskaNative@VegasSeven.com.

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