Zip code survey #1, Leaving Las Vegas.

Las Vegas-- butts-- they just sort of go together.

I had a notion a while back to use the sample demographic database at CACI Marketing to reconstruct a portrait of various places that I’ve lived. It’s really interesting to compare the results from various zip codes, and how far off I fall from standard demographic information.

So, in order to stop writing about California for a moment I decided to track down my one Nevada zip code. It was the early 80s, so of course I’d forgotten it. I didn’t forget my neighborhood though, just about three blocks from the strip on E. Sahara Blvd. Vegas was brutal in the daytime, and since everything was open 24/7 there wasn’t much reason to go out in the heat.

I had no idea who lived near me, because the streets were constantly filled with tourists. Everyone, including locals, seemed to get around by cab. There was no reason to risk a DUI. Little did I know, I was living in the midst of a retirement village.

Dominant ACORN: 4F (Senior Sun Seekers)

This oldest group in the Retirement Styles are married without children; nearly a third are single-person households. Although they earn less than $30,000 annually, most of their income is disposable. Their money comes from Social Security, interest, dividends and pensions. They rank high for investments and savings. They own single-family or mobile homes in newer Southern or Western neighborhoods that include seasonal housing for snowbirds, plus congregate housing and nursing homes. They keep busy playing golf, traveling overseas and domestically, doing needlework and playing cards. They are health-conscious; following low-fat diets and taking vitamins.

Median Household Income: $39,867
Average Home Value: $121,194
Average Rent: $427

I suppose it should be clear that I didn’t fit in there. It was the early eighties, and I wasn’t ready for a walker yet. I didn’t follow a low-fat diet. I didn’t take vitamins. I left after about four months.

I moved up there as Assistant Manager of a stereo store. I left the day John Lennon was shot. I made the right choice; the company I was working for folded about three months afterward. The thing that I found most oppressive about Las Vegas was that there were the filthy rich and the filthy poor. There wasn’t much room for anything in between. I never gambled, because I was too poor. I did however play a lot of pinball, and stand in front of slot machines, mock-gambling, to get free drinks. Food was great, expenses were low, but damn that place was ugly. Just too damn ugly for me.