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Cost of Living in Las Vegas, NV 2021

By: Susan Finch
March 22, 2021

Living in Las Vegas brings an endless summer of sunshine, fun, and entertainment. It's easy to see why the city has so many nicknames, from the Entertainment Capital of the World to the Neon Capital of the World. You get the feeling anything can happen in Vegas, and you're finally living here for all the fun.

But in a city that’s known for 24-7 glitz and glamour, how much do you need to live in Las Vegas? Get the breakdown of the cost of living in Las Vegas and how to plan.

Las Vegas Housing Costs

Housing will take up the biggest portion of your budget unless you find a steal and plan to take advantage of Las Vegas casinos and all-night fun.

Unlike most cities experiencing falling rents due to the pandemic, Las Vegas' rents have been on the rise. Currently, median rents in Las Vegas run $931 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,204 for a two-bedroom.

The city's year-over-year growth is on par with the state average of 5.4%. However, it exceeds the national average of -0.8%.

Las Vegas is a steal compared to similar-sized cities and Southwestern areas. For example, Phoenix's median rents stand at $967 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,181 for a two-bedroom. In Los Angeles, median rents have fallen sharply during a pandemic but are still a median of $1,511 for one-bedroom apartments and $1,982 for a two-bedroom.

The Las Vegas housing market is also seeing growth, with median prices of $325,000. Locals get more house for their money than in areas like Scottsdale, Arizona, where median home prices run $690,000.

Las Vegas Transportation

Las Vegas's public transportation option is run by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC). You can also take the city's Deuce that connects to The Strip, Downtown, and major attractions. Tickets are priced out by the hour or in a bulk package of days, with a three-day pass costing $20. Las Vegas is also working on a monorail to connect riders to conventions and special events.

Ridesharing like Uber and Lyft are primary sources of transportation around Las Vegas. Taxis are also plentiful around the city, although it's usually the priciest of transportation options.

If you're a single adult with no children, you'll spend about $4,900 for transportation in Las Vegas over a year. Two adults with one child will pay $11,186 for transportation.

Las Vegas Food Costs

Las Vegas offers thousands of dining options, from casual diner to upscale restaurants. Eating out in Las Vegas will cost $15 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant. A dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant will run $70 for a three-course meal, but without alcohol or dessert.

If you're a single adult with no children, you can expect to pay at least $3,792 on food a year. If you're a family of two working adults with one child, you can expect to pay $8,639 a year for food.

You'll need a bigger budget if you want to savor the best of Las Vegas dining. Plan ahead if you're going to frequent the Michelin-star rated restaurants in Las Vegas to tantalize the palettes of foodies.

If you're on a tight budget, you can indulge in Las Vegas' notorious all-you-can-eat buffets. Although rules about buffets changed during the pandemic, some are up and running or offer limited-capacity dining.

Las Vegas Healthcare Costs

Proper medical care is also a factor in planning your budget in Las Vegas. A single adult with no children will pay around $2,614 for medical care over the year. Two working adults with one child will pay $6,950.

Las Vegas Utilities

Las Vegas is blistering hot in the summer months. Temperatures soar up to 107° in July.

You'll need to factor in higher utilities to combat the heat. Essential utilities in Las Vegas for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage run $164.48 for a 915-sq. ft. apartment.

Adding on the Internet with 60 Mbps or more with unlimited data, cable/ADSL will cost an extra $77.72 for a total of $242.20 each month.

Unsure how to plan? Get more information on how to estimate your apartment utilities cost.

Fitness and Entertainment

If you're into fitness, a club membership is a good choice if you plan to work out during the summer months. A fitness club membership for one adult is $27.69 per month.

However, you can take advantage of early mornings around Vegas for a hike or jog to lower your costs. You can also head to the Red Rocks to rock climb and enjoy the outdoors.

Entertainment is plentiful around Las Vegas, and a seat at the cinema will cost $12 without snacks or drinks. If you want to hit the casinos, stage shows, and nightlife, you'll need to adjust your budget accordingly.

Other Expenses to Consider in Las Vegas

There's good news for renters in Las Vegas. There’s no state income tax in the state of Nevada. You can use the savings to put more money back into your budget or upgrade your apartment.

However, there’s a catch. Nevada has among the highest tax rates in the country at 6.85%. Local sales tax can also raise that figure up to 8.375%.

Beyond taxes, you should also consider how much it’ll cost to move to Las Vegas. If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need to consider cross-country movers, storage, hotels, and transportation to get settled in. All moves will also require apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and add-ons if you want help packing or unpacking.

Furnishing your apartment will also come at a price. However, there are ways to do it frugally. Get more tips on decorating your apartment on a budget.

How much you need to earn in Las Vegas depends on the lifestyle you want to lead. The living wage in Las Vegas is $13.77 an hour. That represents the basic wage to pay for essentials like simple housing, food, and necessities like clothing. It doesn't leave any room for extras.

The average salary in Las Vegas is about $17.27 an hour, or $35,000 a year. Before you start apartment hunting, remember that the living wage and average salary are different than the recommended salary. You can figure this out by using the 30% rule for rent.

The 30% rule stipulates that you don't spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. If your rent costs $1,000, we recommend your monthly wages to be at least $3,000 a month, or $36,000 a year.

If you plan on living it up in Las Vegas and want to lead an active social life, you need a bigger salary, a cheaper apartment, or both.

Job Market in Las Vegas

There are plenty of employers to choose from in Las Vegas, whether you want to work in hospitality or public service. Some of the biggest employers in Las Vegas employ thousands of locals, like the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. You can also build careers at the MGM Grand, Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, and Johnson Electric.

Tourism, gaming, and entertainment are among the biggest industries in Las Vegas, with strong salaries. It's true the pandemic hit Las Vegas' entertainment and hospitality industry hard. However, things are turning around and starting to make new gains.

Beyond entertainment and hospitality, Las Vegas is also experiencing other business growth in different industries. The professional and business services sector added 3,400 jobs in Las Vegas in 2020. There were also increases in industries, including education and health services and social assistance.

Final Thoughts

Ready to pack up and enjoy everything the city has to offer? Register with Apartment list and start apartment hunting in Las Vegas.

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AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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