In IL it's not uncommon to see 3x mud to get nice smooth walls. Most do two coats, but the drywall has to be hung right. I've been in the situation many times where they swear up and down that 2x is just fine and smooth. Then I go to paint it, and it's not the case. Still don't understand why tapers won't take the extra money to do the easiest coat, the 3'd one.
In NV, I noticed a definate lack in the hanging and taping. They never do 3 coats, ever. May not even do 2x. I did a remodel and asked the tapers to do a 3'd coat. And this was before they started hanging the drywall. I purposely asked beforehand, so they'd hang the sheetrock well enough to get smooth walls. It didn't work, they did a grudging 3'd coat, at extra cost, and it was a waste. I had to do a lot of the work myself after they were gone. Including the redo of many areas of the drywall, tearing out, adding nailers and rehanging. Keep in mind that LV is not an old town and remodels aren't as difficult as historic homes.
The products are different here too. I'm used to sheetrock and plus3 products, but here they use a different brand and the availability of alternatives is very limited.
Not sure, but it looks like texture is more poplular in warmer climates, anyone know if that's true and why?
Experts at the splash on method of texture, it doesn't require nearly as much sanding as smooth walls, so there's the trade off. But, I learned smooth walls, and push for it when possible.