By SAM METZ AP / Report for America
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada has become more populous and more diverse over the past decade, adding 404,000 residents, with about 4 out of 10 identifying as Hispanic or Latino according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The majority-minority state ranked as the United States’ third most ethnically diverse, according to a Diversity Index published by the agency.
Mirroring the rest of the nation, Nevada’s urban counties grew more significantly than its rural counties. More than 95% of the population growth in Nevada occurred in Clark and Washoe counties, home to Las Vegas and Reno respectively.
The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metro area grew faster than the Reno metro area, 16.1% to 15.3%.
Seven of the state’s rural counties lost population. But Nye County was the state’s fastest-growing, adding 17.4%, or 7,600 residents, to its population. Nevada’s population grew to 3.1 million.
The state’s 18 and older population grew by more than 18%, while its 18 and under population only grew by 4%.
Officials will use the data to allocate funding, decide where to build roads and how to respond to natural disasters. States will also use it for the once-in-a-decade redistricting process. The data culled from the 2020 census arrives more than four months later than expected because of delays caused by the pandemic.
Nevada lawmakers are expected to convene for a special session later this year to reapportion and redraw legislative and congressional districts to account for population shifts.
The redistricting numbers states use for redrawing congressional and legislative districts show where white, Asian, Black and Hispanic communities grew over the past decade. It also shows which areas have gotten older or younger and the number of people living in dorms, prisons and nursing homes. The data covers geographies as small as neighborhoods and as large as states. An earlier set of data released in April provided state population counts and showed the U.S. had 331 million residents last year, a 7.4% increase from 2010.
Although like its southwest neighbors, Nevada was among one of the fastest-growing states, its population growth slowed significantly compared with the prior decade. From 2000 to 2010, the state population grew by 35%. The state was among the hardest hit by the housing crisis a decade ago, causing population growth to momentarily slow.
Sam Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.