The landlocked state of Nevada is situated toward the western edge of the United States. According to the latest estimates from the Census Bureau, the population of Nevada is 2,890,845.
Nevada Area and Population Density
The last estimate for the 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.
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 most populated city in Nevada is Las Vegas, and the most populated county is Clark County with over 2 million residents.
Nevada Gender and Religion Statistics
The median age in Nevada is approximately 37.5 years of age. The ratio of females to males is approximately 49.8% females to 50.2% males.
In religious terms, 66% of the Nevada population is affiliated with a Christian based faith, 5% are affiliated with non-Christian based faiths, and 28% are not affiliated with any particular religion at all.
Nevada Boundary, Census, and Statehood History
Nevada was acquired from Mexico in 1848 and included in Utah and New Mexico Territories. It was established as a territory in 1861 from Utah Territory, and was admitted as a State on October 31, 1864. Nevada acquired essentially its present boundaries after the annexation of the southern tip from Arizona Territory in 1866.
In 1850 present-day Nevada had no census coverage. The population for 1860 is for the enumerated portions of Utah Territory that were included in Nevada Territory the following year. In 1870 coverage included the entire State. The 1870 population includes Rio Virgin County, enumerated as part of Utah although located within Nevada.
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.