Moving can be an incredibly stressful, time-sensitive, expensive, time-consuming, and life-changing decision process. Clearly, where you live impacts nearly every aspect of your life, and the lives of your family members as well.
With such an important decision, it is vital for people to learn all that they can about an area before acting. Many sources will talk about the benefits of living in certain cities, but few will tell you about the reasons you shouldn’t move to a city. Well, we are different, so we have listed 17 reasons you should not move to Sparks, Nevada below.
1. Cold Winters, Snow
Many people who move to Nevada are expecting a movie-scene desert with nothing but scorching heat year round. If this is a stigma you have with the Reno-Sparks area, you will be disappointed. While it is true that Nevada is a desert and is hot in the summer, it also has a real winter. The area experiences all 4 seasons.
In the winter months, the temperature is usually between 23 degrees Fahrenheit and 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter spans from the end of November to about mid-March. There won’t be constant piles of snow all winter, but the area does receive an occasional snowfall that will leave a small layer on the ground. The mountains near the city receive an incredible amount of snowfall in the winter months.
2. Super Hot Summers
True to its desert status, Sparks, Nevada has high temperatures during the summer. The area will experience triple-digit temperatures throughout the summer but will not reach the incredibly high temperatures found further south in the state. From June to August, the area has days with temperatures from about 84 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on average. It is extremely rare for a summer day in Nevada to show a temperature of lower than 84 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
3. Not Much Transportation
For a fairly large city, especially since it is close to Reno, Sparks does not have much to offer the public in terms of public transportation. There are a few bus routes like the Greyhound and RTC Ride that follow fixed routes. There are Uber and Lyft drivers, but many do not consider this type of transportation to be public.
In short, you will more than likely need to purchase a car if you plan on going anywhere while living in Sparks. Walking or biking would take quite a bit of time, and the extreme temperatures throughout the year would make this especially difficult and potentially dangerous.
4. High Cost of Living
The cost of living in Sparks, Nevada is an entire 8% higher than the national average. Clearly, the cost of living varies based on family size, career, average salary, and the area’s real estate, but this is still a difficulty in choosing to move to the area. Complaints about the high cost of living in Sparks are a common discussion amongst locals here in the area. Obviously, there are cheaper options and areas of the city, but the prices to rent or buy a home in the area are higher than usual.
5. Lots of Traffic
Traffic in the area can increase considerably based on the number of tourists in the area. Many people visit Reno throughout the year, especially during the summer. Being located next door to Reno, Sparks also experiences spikes in traffic levels there. Many of the roads in the area could use care, as there are several cracks from heat or worn and faded paint lines throughout the city.
Especially when there is unbearable heat outside, sitting in a car waiting for traffic to clear can be an incredible pain. Traffic can add time to even the smallest of errands or drives. Keep this in mind while deciding whether or not Sparks is the place for you.
6. Overcrowded Schools
The issue of overcrowding in schools continues to increase as the population of Sparks and nearby cities rises. In 2022, a school board meeting decided that two of the elementary schools in the city, Double Diamond and Brown, will need to move to a multi-track schedule to accommodate the large student body. Many of these schools are at as much as 25% above capacity!
Some recent announcements have proposed an $835 million plan to help build a few more school campuses in an effort to help with the county’s overcrowded public school system issues. This would force all 33 suburban elementary schools to resort to a year-round schedule to teach all of the children.
Unfortunately, this overcrowding and underfunding issue for public school systems has been an issue for over a decade. More classrooms, school buildings, and overall repairs to existing schools are all desperate needs that are yet to be properly addressed. In fact, the problems continue to grow exponentially as more and more newcomers fill the houses and apartments in the area.
Especially for families with school-aged children, this can be an incredibly important factor to consider when deciding to move to an area. For the time being, Sparks is in an overcrowding crisis, and this may not be an issue you are wanting to become a part of.
The Reno-Sparks area in Nevada draws an incredibly high amount of tourists each year, and the numbers continue to grow exponentially! For example, tourism in the area exceeded 5 million people in 2018 alone! While these tourists do support jobs and bring money into the local community, they bring disadvantages to local residents as well.
Tourists increase traffic in the cities significantly! They also make all stores, restaurants, and all other businesses and streets considerably more crowded with tourist populations. It makes it more difficult for locals to go about their everyday lives and adds time to nearly every activity.
8. Too Close to the Airport
This one is kind of tricky. Being too close or too far away from an airport can cause its own swarm of issues and annoyances. In this case, however, Sparks has located just close enough to an airport that the city experiences the negative impacts rather than the benefits from the “sweet spot” of being perfectly distanced and close to an airport.
Sparks residents are able to commute quickly to an airport when traveling by air. Unfortunately, this means that the city also experiences traffic from surrounding areas going to and from the airport. Airplanes flying overhead at all hours also cause a lot of noise, which is less than appreciated by most residents.
9. Dry Desert
One aspect of desert living is that the air in Nevada is completely dry. Anyone accustomed to humidity will find that a large variety of things are impacted by a lack or presence of moisture in the air. This impacts hair, baking, cooking, skin, breathing, packaging, mold, and so much more.
A lot of people will find that their skin will require more lotion than normal to account for the dry air. This also makes for dry heat during the day. You are likely to see the heat waves moving in the air when looking outside in the middle of the day.
10. High Earthquake Risk
All of Northern Nevada, but especially the cities of Reno and Sparks, are at high risk for earthquakes. These two cities are located on fault lines that consistently record earthquakes with magnitudes of 6 or higher! In years prior to 1948 especially, the area had many earthquakes with magnitudes of up to 7! Since then, there have been significantly fewer in the area, but it poses a threat to residents and visitors of the area.
This means that children in school have earthquake drills to prepare them for this kind of event. If you are moving to Sparks with children, it is important to discuss how to react if an earthquake occurs and what the safest places are to be in the house, outside, or in another building. Just because there hasn’t been a large one for some time does not mean that preparation is any less necessary.
11. High Sales Tax
The accumulative sales tax rate in Sparks, Nevada is 8.27%. This is the total city, state, and country sales tax rates. In the United States as a whole, the average sales tax rate is only 5.09%, showing that Sparks has a high sales tax rate in comparison to the rates of all other cities in the US.
In addition to a general high cost of living, a high sales tax can be a true pain in every item or service you require.
12. High Substance Abuse Rate
Some reports show that 59.4% of Washoe County adolescents have used alcohol, which is higher than the state number of 56.9%. From 2019 to 2020, a total of 37.2% of driving deaths in the county had alcohol involvement, approximately 10.01% higher than the state of Nevada over the same period of time.
Sparks also has issues with drug usage. Washoe County records 27.9 deaths per 100,000 people in the city from 2018 to 2020. An estimated 37.7% of high school students had used marijuana in the county in 2019, and 14.8% of high school students in the area had used prescription drugs.
These substance abuse issues in the area extend further than simply the adult population. Teenagers and students are also impacted and struggle with these addictive substances as well.
13. Lots of Bars and Drinking
Reno and Sparks are actually famous for being party cities and central for bars and drinking. There are many local bars and restaurants that offer alcoholic beverages on every corner of Sparks. Alcohol in the area can be served 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by any licensed business in Nevada.
14. Quick Growth Rate
Sparks, Nevada is currently growing in population at a rate of 1.65% annually. In fact, the city’s population has increased by 3.35% since the 2020 census was taken. The influx of people makes it hard to find employment in the city. 4.7% of the city is currently unemployed.
Lots of newcomers will make it difficult to find housing. It will also be especially inconvenient if you are looking for a job for yourself or your spouse in the area. The job market will be much more limited with more people searching for employment in the city and surrounding areas.
15. Crime Rates
Sparks, Nevada is only safer than 22% of US cities. While in the city, each person has a 1 in 238 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. The city has the same property crime rate as the state of Nevada as a whole. In Sparks, or Nevada as a whole, there is a one in 51 chance that you will be a victim of a property crime.
Overall, the city is far from the most dangerous place to live but is not the safest option either. It is above the US average for property crime rates, but below the US average for violent crime rates. As is true of any new city, it is best to research which neighborhoods and areas are the safest, especially if you are planning on raising a family in the area.
16. Lots of Truck Driving
The state of Nevada is used often for truck driving routes across the US, as is true of nearly every state. There are many truck stops and Nevada neighbors in several other states as well. In Sparks, there are a lot of big semi-trucks that drive through the area. Lots of traffic from large trucks can be annoying.
Being located so close to Reno, Sparks is also home to many bars and casinos that are used for gambling. Many locals agree that Sparks residents are generally not big gamblers, but the tourists and out-of-town visitors come to the area for this purpose.
Tension can rise in groups of people when a lot of money is involved and fights often break out, especially late at night. This also brings a lot of con artists looking for some easy money. Gambling won’t impact your daily life much when living in Sparks, but it is found almost everywhere in the city.