Nevada Population History
Most states in the US tend to follow a similar pattern when it comes to their population history. Explosions in numbers tend to occur throughout the 19th century, and while the increases begin to slow down in the 1900s, the overall pattern is one of healthy growth through the 20th century as well.
In Nevada, however, that isn’t the case and throughout the state’s history, numbers have fluctuated greatly with impressive rises followed by clear falls on a census by census basis. In 1860, the population of Nevada was recorded at just 6,857 but an explosion of over 500% over the next ten years took those numbers to 42,941 by 1870. Much of the boom was as a result of a mining boom -- while other states had their Gold Rush, Nevada had its very own Silver Rush.
After the boom, though, came a devastating depression, and Nevada’s population dropped dramatically. In the ten years from 1880 to 1890, the population fell from over 60,000 to 47,355. A further decline of 10% between 1890 and 1900 reduced the population to just 42,335.
Another boom was just around the corner, though, and the 1900 discovery of a rich seam of gold and silver near Tonopah saw fortune seekers flock once again to the Silver State -- so many, in fact, that its population almost doubled within a decade.
It wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that changes settled down to record fairly stable increases. Even during this period, though, growth has been pretty spectacular by national standards. In every decade between 1950 and 2000, the population of Nevada grew by more than 50%. In fact, its growth of just 35% between 2000 and 2010 might be considered a bit disappointing.
Nevada was also hit especially hard by the housing collapse and economic recession, forcing many residents to flee back to their state of origin, in most cases California. Nevada is recovering nicely from this, however, and it is once again showing a very healthy growth rate.
Nevada Population Growth
Figures released in relation to natural growth tell the story of Nevada’s recent growing population and the main contributory factor comes with net migration. Between 2000 and 2007, natural growth (births minus deaths) had resulted in a gain of 81,661 citizens. However, net migration added to those numbers by an incredible 337,043.
Nevada clearly has the space for such gains, and it’s almost certain that the trend will continue. The question isn’t whether Nevada’s population will increase in the next ten years; the question is by how much.
Henderson and North Las Vegas are currently among the 20 fastest-growing cities in the United States with populations over 100,000. Interestingly, as Nevada continues to grow, its population becomes more diverse. The non-Hispanic white population has shrunk in every county in the state between 2010 and 2012 except for three counties, with Hispanic and Asian populations continuing to grow faster than any other.
According to Census Bureau figures, the growth in the state is driven mostly by people moving here from other countries and other states, and because the two biggest counties have lower mortality rates than the national average, despite typical fertility rates among residents.
Nevada Population Projections
Nevada's population is expected to continue its healthy climb and is estimated to reach 3.36 million residents by 2030.