Nevada state demographer releases population estimates

State’s population remaining about even, overall

3/12/2012 - By: Claudene Wharton
Ansari Business Building

The Nevada State Demographer's Office, located at the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business, has released its 2011 population estimates. The state gained an estimated 17,152 people from July 2010 to July 2011, an estimated increase of 0.6 percent, about equivalent to the increase of 0.7 percent the prior year. Two years ago, the state lost 27,677 people, a decrease of about 1.0 percent.

"Just as other economic indicators are showing, we're sort of leveling off," said State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle. "The data doesn't support that large numbers of people are moving out of the state at this time. And, if some are moving out, we are having enough people move in to the state or having enough children to offset those moving out."

Hardcastle said that the slight growth is about equal to what we see due to natural population increase, or births, in a given year.

To calculate the estimates, Hardcastle looks at statistics pertaining to number of households, persons per household, occupancy rates, number of people in group quarters, employment and labor force data and school enrollment figures.

Breaking down the estimates, the rural counties generally fared the best, with those in northwest Nevada, including Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Storey Counties, experiencing slight increases in population, ranging from an estimated increase of 0.8 percent in Lyon County to an estimated increase of 3 percent in Storey County. Douglas County and the state capital each experienced an estimated increase of 1.5 percent. Nye County in southern Nevada saw an estimated 1.7 percent increase.

Rural counties in northeast and central Nevada also saw slight growth, with an average estimated increase of 1.5 percent, much of that due to continued growth in the mining industry since 2003.

"Gold prices have been sustained, and that industry has continued to grow, while 'traditional' industries such as the financial sector, construction, manufacturing and retail continue to lose jobs," Hardcastle said.

The loss of such jobs is probably one reason Washoe County did not quite keep pace, losing an estimated 935 people, or 0.2 percent, Hardcastle said. Washoe County lost about 4,200 jobs during this period, with 2,000 of them being government jobs, and most of the others being in the traditional sectors.

While gaming employment has begun to climb in Washoe County, with about 300 gaming jobs added this period, it isn't rebounding as quickly as it is in Clark County, which gained 7,900 gaming jobs this period. Overall, however, Clark County experienced a net loss of 2,400 jobs this period. The gain in gaming jobs helped to offset the whopping 3,800 government jobs the county loss. Despite some job loss, Clark County still managed to gain an estimated 13,462 people, an increase of 0.7 percent, which Hardcastle again said can probably mostly be attributed to births.

The State Demographer's Office is part of the Business Services Group at the University's College of Business and is funded by the Nevada Department of Taxation. For more information on the estimates, go to Nevada State Demographer. Or, contact Hardcastle at (775) 784-6353 or jhardcas@unr.edu.


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