This month marks the departure of another friend, another long hug and rehashing of a common phrase wafting up from the farewell gang: “Everybody leaves Las Vegas.”
So it seems. I’ve watched a couple dozen friends and a couple dozen more acquaintances pack up and settle somewhere else in the past five years. Entire social circles have moved away, proving to be as rooted here as tumbleweed.
But a friend pointed out that all cities are transient, that the whole topic is silly because people move to and from everywhere nowadays. Vegas is not so unique, she said. (Especially when factoring in certain career circles, like journalism and academia.)
A simple Google search commonly throws Washington, D.C., on top of transient-population lists, anecdotally or not. Research varies according to who’s conducting it. United Van Lines has its annual National Movers Study, which in 2014 ranked Oregon as the top destination, while New Jersey had the highest number of residents leaving (65 percent), followed by New York (64 percent) and Connecticut (57 percent). Nevada wasn’t on the top 10 list of outbound states. In fact, it was No. 6 on the list of top inbound states.
But according to a 2014 Gallup Poll, not everyone here wants to stay. It characterized Nevada as a state where most residents say they would leave if they could (43 percent), placing us fourth behind Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland. In the same poll, 20 percent said it’s extremely, very and somewhat likely that they’d leave Nevada within a year.
Then there’s the inbound crowd. Applied Analysis finds Nevada second in the nation for population growth, behind oil-crazed North Dakota and ahead of Texas. Based on projections and past research, it isn’t likely all these new Nevada residents will stick around. But some will. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey has nearly 89,000 Clark County residents saying they’d moved to Nevada within the prior year and just over 72,000 leaving Clark County within the prior year, giving us a bonus of 17,000.
Representatives of the Census and Applied Analysis say they have no rankings that specifically suggests Las Vegas is one of the country’s most transient cities. We may feel unique, especially with all the goodbyes, but we are not alone.