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Leaving Las Vegas

AIR DATE: April 1, 2010

Four of every 10 residents of Las Vegas want to leave the city. That's just one of the key findings of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area Social Survey. Authors say the results are a product of the tough times in the Las Vegas area. The city has a 13.8% unemployment rate and continues to lead the nation in foreclosures. We talk with three authors of the report about their findings. So what are your feelings about living in Las Vegas? Call us at 258-3552 or send an email to

Barb Brents, sociology professor, UNLV
Christie Batson, sociology professor, UNLV
Robert Futrell, sociology professor, UNLV

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LV was alot better when I moved here 20 years ago especially when it came to traffic and getting around. And with all the rampant, unrestrictive growth I also wondered when the bubble would burst. Before I lost my job in October I was looking to buy a house at a good price. What I found are 20 year old neighborhoods falling into disrepair and trashed housing. The Mayor and our leaders should be concerned about fixing the inner city and businesses instead of even contemplating a Rhodes project to desecrate Red Rock and the surrounding area.
KarlaApr 1, 2010 12:29:20 PM
The findings of the survey are somewhat interesting given that the median age was 55. It would be interesting to see a cross section of the survey results by age group. As a 35 year old woman who has lived here for less than 5 years I am only familiar with people within my age bracket. Unfortunately, we all talk about "when we're leaving". I also think the survey should include citizens of North Las Vegas and Henderson. Otherwise a large number of people who spend time and money in Las Vegas are left out.
StaceyMar 31, 2010 03:47:38 AM
Las Vegas isn't for everyone. I spent the first five years practically in tears missing moisture in the air, cool breezes, green trees and grass, intelligent conversation, being near cutting edge culture and technology centers, public transportation, universities, art museums and so on. Then, you begin to adapt. You slow down. Cactus starts to look interesting. Rocks don't need to be mowed. Yeah, local businesses are a bit unreliable, sometimes sleazy, but that's because life is tough in our low tax, low regulation libertarian paradise and there's no cohesive culture to hold back the jerks. We have a very big challenge because we're actually a pretty progressive metropolis in this valley, but we're in a very rural and very libertarian state that in some respects doesn't really want to leave the 19th century. There will always be that tension here, but if we can develop economically, all things are possible culturally. Bring on solar, wind and manufacturing jobs and improve our schools and those things will make a big difference.
CarolynMar 30, 2010 19:21:50 PM
I moved to Las Vegas with my husband in 2001. It was the allure of the warm weather, friends, and job opportunity.

However, by 2006 the allure was over and our outlook of Las Vegas and Nevada in general look bleak.

Now it is 2010 and we are holding our breath, we will be gone by this fall.

The reasons for our bleak outlook on Las Vegas:

We have two small kids and we see no future for them here: One of the worse school districts in the nation, high dropout rate, low college rates, no real college opportunities here. We do not want our kids to be cooks for a large casino, or in the gaming industry as a whole, or be part of the nursing community.
We do not gamble.
We do not enjoy the nightlife.
No real art culture here.
Questionable health services.
No strong church foundations here other that The Later Day Saints, and overly large nondenominational churches. Were are the beautiful churches?
The weather is miserable (Strong UV rays make it hard to enjoy the sunny weather.)
No real Green energy here.
Oscar Goodman is a joke of a Mayer.
We are so upside down on our home it has become a bad investment.
Lake Mead is a mud hole.
Everyone is a transplant.
Hard to make good lasting friendships here.
The quality of life in our opinion is POOR.

JaneneMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
I grew up in Chicago, lived most of my life in Los Angeles, but Las Vegas is truly home now & I plan on staying!

I agree with one of your callers that one needs to BE a good friend or neighbor in order to have them. I live on a cul-de-sac & know most of my neighbors. I always bring over a plate of cookies when a new neighbor moves in. And I'm one of those people who SMILES at everyone whether I know them or not. I pick up any trash that I see on my street, & sometimes have even pulled up a weed or two in a neighboring yard. It takes so little to do something nice & feels so good too.

I am also active in my church community & have made many new friends there.

When I first moved here 15 years ago, I missed the art & music culture of my previous home towns. But I'm happy to see that we are developing more with our wonderful Philharmonic, our community & UNLV theater, the Nevada Ballet & the prospect of more when the Smith Performing Arts Center opens. I'm a member of the Jazz Society trying to help rejuvenate that scene. I do miss the days of Monday night jazz at the Four Queens & the Riviera, but there are some good prospects for the future.

We also are getting more important entities beyond casinos, like the Furniture Mart, the Nevada Cancer Institute, the Ruvo Center, & the aforementioned Smith Center. We are growing up!

I have been able to do some things here that would have been far more difficult in either LA or Chicago. My dear friend & I, both cancer survivors, had a TV talk show about health issues on a local channel for about a year. Unfortunately, the station folded, but I am still working on getting us another spot.

So - Las Vegas is Home! I live in the Lakes on the West side within walking distance to all kinds of shopping & a movie complex. I am close enough to Red Rock to enjoy those views & to hike there occcasionally. The only thing that I lack is a new job! Maybe the City should hire me to be its Ambassador!

Thanks for letting me crow about this town.

MimiMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
During the last 5 years we have been living in Geneva, Switzerland.

In terms of the lack of feeling of community connectiveness, I believe it is a US problem and not just a Las Vegas problem. Since the end of WWII, we have engineered our communities in the US to discourage almost all forms of connectiveness.

The build-out of the suburbs (low density) along with a transportation system based only on the automobile has had a profound negative effect. A case in point - as an example - a middle school child in a nice suburb with a nice backyard (maybe even with a pool) is not in a good situation in terms of socialization etc which is required for the healthy development of young people. He or she will very likely be very lonely - because of the low density of the typical suburb - he or she will not be able spend a significant amount of unstructured play time with their best friends because of the distances involved. They would have to be transported by car to their best friends house. In most cases, walking to their friends house is not a practical option. Because of the extreme distances involved in low density suburbs - we all are sort of prisoners in our own homes.

After living in Geneva, Switzerland for 5 years, I can elaborate for a very long time - why I now believe all forms of connectiveness and the quality of life is considerably better in the high density cities of Western Europe than in the suburbs of almost any city in the US.

We have been living in a 5 story flat in Geneva. The occupants of our building consists of old and young, families and single people. Virtually the entire city is walk able and accessible by mass transit in the form of trams and buses. The children do not have back yards - but they have very nice and very close and safe common areas for play. They have the opportunity to development many close friends in an unstructured play environment right on their door step at all times during the day. Would you believe that because of this high density, many students walk home from school for lunch.

There is not the level of stratification of people and families by age and income that exists in the suburbs in the US. I believe we must look very closely at Western Europe for ideas on how we can improve our quality of life in the US.

BobMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere. I moved here from Chicago 32 years ago, worked for the City of Las Vegas and retired nine years ago. In Chi Town I couldn't get a public sector job without Daley machine approval.

Compared to many other places, Vegas is a great place to live. We have more than one month of good weather; our cars don't rot; if you are a decent honest workman you will have more business than you can handle; a person of modest means can own a home; no personal state income tax; free courses for seniors at CSN and UNLV; world class outdoor stuff is close by; 2000 member Buddhist community with a brand new Buddhist Center. Of course you have to give to get.

BobMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
I've been saying it since I was in Western High School in 1995. If you don't like LV, please leave.

No excuses.

If you don't like it, go away.

HillaryMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
My husband and I moved out here almost 7 years ago from Wisconsin. We're retired and wanted to see more of the West. We knew someone who lived here so we felt it was a good base to move around from and we were right. We bought a home right smack in the middle of town, 10 minutes from the airport and the Strip and close enough to the Wetlands to volunteer there among other things. We come from a small town so living in a big city is an adventure. We're aware of the transient quality of Las Vegas itself but have used our imaginations to ferret out some very neat things in this area: Cashman Field and the ball games, the Jazz in the Park series at Government Center, bike trails in Henderson, small affordable restaurants off the Strip, occasionally going TO the Strip for the gardens at the Bellagio and other family friendly things, Mt. Charleston with its Wisconsin feel... there's SO much to do here if you read the Neon every Friday, from church festivals to lounge shows, etc., and out-of-the-way places to explore. We love Las Vegas, know it's dangers and prepare for them, advised our family NOT to come here because of the school system, stood in front of neighbors cars as they entered our complex and met them with smiles... it all can be done if your attitude is good and friendly. Will we stay? Probably not, not because we don't love the desert intensely but because all of our children and grandchildren live back east but we'll drag it out as long as we can and we're glad we made this choice.
ElizabethMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
My husband and I have wanted to leave since before the crash. However, we thought it foolish not to purchase our house and now are shackled to it. We are also trapped by our need for our jobs.

Our biggest complaint is the "I got mine, Jack" attitude of most leaders, political and business. The lack of regard for anyone other than their immediate family and friends is sickening. The libertarians love to trash government, and no wonder - they don't allow it to work!

We haven't agreed on where to move, but I would love to go to Oregon, where people seem to get that the more you give to better your world, the better your own life becomes. People here seem to want some sort of tax-free utopia. It's a mirage.

MistyMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
As I mentioned when I called in and would like to add to my comment.

I moved to Las Vegas in 1994 thinking their would be a large gay community with after just a couple of years I found that to be false and I have made the best of living here with the lack of a community. Many years later I find that our state and local government have made a bigger in pack on my reason for looking to move especially now. I went to many of the town hall meetings that the mayor had and that really made a bigger in pack of why I want to move. All I hear from our government officials is the same old thing

LOTS OF SPIN AND NO REAL SOLUTIONS I grew up in a small town in Texas which I would never move back!!!! I always wanted to live in a city and saying that Las Vegas is to big because it really isn't compared to other bigger cities this town is still small.

Look at what's going on up in Carson City with the Governor whit his personal and political mess

my list would go on and on

TonyMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
I think the callers are quick to point out that they will just move when they get married and have kids. It is not always that simple.

I also believe community is what you make it. Having lived in numerous states and cities throughout my life, there are pros and cons to every city, and ways for children to be led astray regardless of where you live. It ultimately comes down to the values that you instill in your children. I am friends with many people that were born and grew up here and they are fine, adjusted citizens.

Having looked at private and public schools we also have chosen to send our child to public school. I also think it depends on the neighborhood that you live in and your own decision to reach out. We are friends with many people in our neighborhood, and I would think nothing of "borrowing an egg," or giving one in turn, as the researchers put it, from many of them.

I would be curious what the breakdown of the survey shows by neighborhood and by city (ie: Henderson).

A dedicated Henderson resident of eight years.

JenniferMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
One point I think was missed By the Professor's was the Extended Family. How many people live on their computers? Why would a person put so much energy into their community when they can just type at home?
T A-MMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
If it were possible for me to leave LV, I would definitely leave. Reasons are many: pollution, the Governor, the Mayor, lack of community within neighborhoods, the troubles working with contractors or services - getting the job done correctly.

In addition, the education system here is horrible, with no sense of improvement. I'm surprised water usage isn't monitored better - lawns and tropical plants opposed to desert landscaping. The lack of encouragement to recycle, using solar, providing more entertainment i.e., community theaters and other family oriented activities. In regard to the friendliness of LV, there is more prejudicial attacks from residents than anyone is willing to see.

On the good side, there are parks in some neighborhoods for walking and bike riding. Thank you for reading my rant....

SeleuciaMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
I came here from the east coast 16 years ago. I noticed immediately that the attitude was to get as much from the other guy as you can. Juice was the way to get yourself ahead, not what you knew or had to offer. This is a company town and the people are here only to support those that are connected. Developers do as they please and zoning regs allow them, but a property owner has to call and pay for inspections of a water heater. Those that are connected think everyone lives a good life.

Government here does not look out for the citizen, I was told by the AG (1996) when I complained about gas prices that here in NV people have to look out for themselves! That attitude continues into utility rate increases (every six months), etc.

Yes, I would leave however, I am being held hostage by my house.

TomMar 30, 2010 00:00:00 AM
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