California has been the primary source of new residents in Nevada throughout the state’s history of growth. This was true once again in 2018, when the Silver State’s 2.1 percent population growth rate ranked first in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 50,000 Californians moved to Nevada during that time, accounting for more than four in 10 new residents relocating to Nevada. As home to three-quarters of the state population, Southern Nevada and its 2.2 percent population growth rate played a significant role in the statewide trends. And similarly to the statewide numbers, Californians typically account for more than a third of incoming residents.

For Californians, Southern Nevada has been a particularly appealing place to move to because of its comparably low cost of living. Southern Nevada’s affordability is measured by the cost-of-living index, a metric published by The Council for Community and Economic Research that compares affordability of metro areas across the nation. In the third quarter of 2019, the Las Vegas metro area received a cost-of-living index score of 102.8, meaning the cost of living in the region is 2.8 percent higher than the national average. This score is substantially lower than those for California’s three largest metro areas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, meaning that Las Vegas is more affordable. The Los Angeles, San Francisco and
San Diego metro areas had respective cost of- living indices of 148.1, 200.1 and 143.3. From a purchasing power perspective, $1.00 spent in the Las Vegas metro area has as much purchasing power as $1.44 in Los Angeles, $1.95 in San Francisco and $1.39 in San Diego.

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