Nevada Population 2016


The landlocked state of Nevada is situated toward the western edge of the United States. It covers a vast area of 110,567 square miles which makes it the seventh largest state in the country in terms of sheer land mass. According to the latest estimates from the Census Bureau, the population of Nevada is 2,890,845.

However, this vast territory is very sparsely filled with Nevada’s citizens and in fact, there are only eight states in the country that are less densely populated. The current population for Nevada in 2016 is estimated at 2,890,845, which is a sizeable increase from its 2.7 million population at the 2010 Census. Nevada currently has one of the strongest growth rates in the country, reflecting a 7.05% population between 2010 and 2015, which ranks 6th in the nation.

The last estimate for population was provided by the US Census Bureau in July 2015. The last confirmed figures were taken during the 2010 Census. At that time, it was revealed that 2,700,551 people had made Nevada their home, representing an increase of over 35% from the numbers declared at the end of the 2000 survey.

Based on those figures, the Census Bureau provides a new population estimate each year. In 2012, it estimated that the population of Nevada had increased to 2,758,931. The population in 2016 is now estimated at over 2.8 million.

A relatively small percentage of Nevada's population lives in rural areas, such as Ely, West Wendover and Tonopah. The culture of rural Nevada is vastly different than the metropolitan areas, as most people in rural counties are native to the state, whereas Reno and Las Vegas are dominated by populations from other states, especially California. Rural populations are also less diverse, both racially and ethnically.

The largest metropolitan areas, and where the majority of the population is concentrated, includes Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas in Clark County and Reno in Washoe County.

Nevada Population Chart

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 round 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's population is expected to continue its healthy climb and is estimated to reach 3.36 million residents by 2030..pdf)

Population Data via US Census

Nevada Growth Rate

Nevada State Rank

Year Pop % Change
2020 3,153,665 1.70%
2019 3,101,101 1.72%
2018 3,048,537 1.75%
2017 2,995,973 1.79%
2016 2,943,409 1.82%
2015 2,890,845 1.85%
2014 2,838,281 1.72%
2013 2,790,366 1.29%
2012 2,754,874 1.33%
2011 2,718,819 0.68%
2010 2,700,551 3.06%
2000 1,998,257 5.22%
1990 1,201,833 4.15%
1980 800,493 5.06%
1970 488,738 5.53%
1960 285,278 5.95%
1950 160,083 3.80%
1940 110,247 1.93%
1930 91,058 1.64%
1920 77,407 -0.56%
1910 81,875 6.82%
1900 42,335 -1.11%
1890 47,355 -2.70%
1880 62,266 3.90%
1870 42,491 20.01%
1860 6,857 0.00%

Nevada Facts

Nevada  Population in 2016 Source: Clément Bardot

  • The state of Nevada became famous and grew in population when the Comstock Lode silver deposit was found in 1859.
  • Nevada is the largest gold-producing are in the United States, and worldwide it is only second to Brazil.
  • Approximately 150 people get married each day in Nevada.
  • About 85% of the state's total area of over 110,000 square miles is federally owned.
  • Las Vegas is not only the site for the majority of the world's biggest hotels, but it also has more hotel rooms than anywhere else in the world.
  • The first hotel and casino, The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, opened in 1906 and was the first of its kind in Las Vegas.

Nevada Population Density by County

  • Population
  • Density
  • Growth Since 2010
  • State Rank
  • % of State

Nevada Population Growth Rate by County

Nevada has a total of 16 counties, and of those counties, nine have exhibited growth in their populations. This is based on data from the 2010 Census when compared to 2015 estimates taken by the US Census Bureau. During this 5-year period, the southernmost county Clark County had the highest rate of growth at 8.26%. Three other counties exhibited growth greater than 5%, and these are Washoe, Esmerelda, and Elko Counties. Five other counties had smaller population growths, and these were Humboldt, Lyon, Douglas, Lander, and Eureka.

The remaining seven counties reflected decreases in population in 2015 when compared to 2010. Mineral County, located along the southern border, had the biggest decline at 6.14%, followed by Lincoln County at 6.01%. The counties of Nye, Storey, Pershing, Churchill, and White Pine all posted population declines of less than 5%.

Population Pyramid

To compare Nevada to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage

Hispanics and Latinos of any race make up approximately 28.1% of Nevada's population. The most common ancestries include: Mexican (20.8%), German (13.3%), Irish (10%), English (9.2%) and Italian (6.3%). Las Vegas in particular is a minority majority city with a fast-growing amount of ethnic communities, including Armenians, Spaniards, Greeks, Poles and Italians.

Asian Americans have had a significant population in Nevada since the California Gold Rush in the 1850s brought thousands of Chinese miners to Washoe County, who were followed by Japanese farm workers, then immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India and Vietnam. Las Vegas now has the U.S.'s most prolific Asian American communities. The city has remained a large destination for immigrants from Latin America and South Asia seeking jobs in hospitality and gaming industries, along with farming and construction.

Nevada also has the highest population of illegal immigrants of any state in the United States, accounting for an estimated 8.8% of the total population.

Languages Spoken in Nevada

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over 2,546,528 100
English 1,940,748 76.21
Spanish 517,935 20.34
Chinese 17,580 0.69
German 7,945 0.31
French 7,940 0.31
Amharic 7,075 0.28
Cantonese 4,495 0.18
Mandarin 4,375 0.17
Samoan 2,985 0.12

This chart shows the top 10 non-English languages that are spoken at home in Nevada . The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Nevada Economy

HighSchoolGraduate 85
BachelorsDegree 23
Disabled 9
NoHealthInsurance 17
LaborForceTotal 65
LaborForceFemale 60
FoodServiceSales 27,481,505
HealthCareRevenue 13,928,514
ManufacturerShipments 14,719,141
MerchantWholesalesSales 19,841,701
RetailSales 38,234,170
RetailSalesPerCapita 13,858
MeanWorkTravelTime 24
MedianHouseholdIncome 52,205
PerCapitaIncome 26,515
PovertyPercentage 15

Nevada Business

NonemployerEstablishments 199,538
AllFirms 227,156
MenOwnedFirms 114,057
WomenOwnedFirms 82,508
MinorityOwnedFirms 71,864
NonminorityOwnedFirms 144,944
VeteranOwnedFirms 23,049
NonveteranOwn 191,293

Nevada Housing

HousingUnits 1,209,756
HousingUnits 1,173,814
OwnerOccupiedRate 56
OwnerOccupiedMedianValue 167,100
MonthlyOwnerCostsMortage 1,514
MonthlyOwnerCostsNoMortage 420
MedianGrossRent 980
BuildingPermits 14,083
Households 1,005,958
PersonsPerHousehold 3
SameHouseOneYearAgo 78
NonEnglishAtHome 30
Data Sources
  1. Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  2. Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  3. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  4. Census QuickFacts