The projections, released Tuesday by the demographer’s office, put the total state population at about 4 million by 2028. The demographer’s office is located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
"Nevada will likely continue to outpace the national growth rate,” state demographer Jeff Hardcastle said. “The Census Bureau's National Projections show the United States growing by 22 percent between 2007 and 2028 and Nevada's growth rate is projected at 49 percent for the same period.”
Overall, Hardcastle noted change will be uneven around Nevada. Northwestern Nevada (Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey and Washoe Counties) is projected to grow by more than 226,000 people.
The demographer’s report does not give a breakdown by city. According to the city of Sparks Web site, the city’s population as of July 2007 was 89,449. In 1990, the city had 54,347 residents; by 2000 it had grown to 67,151; and by 2010 it is expected to grow to 90,888.
For its long-term planning purposes, the city uses a projected population in the year 2030 of 133,600. Sparks city planner Armando Ornelas said that number was arrived at four years ago but is still the working number. He said the city adopts a population projection for its own master plan and that projection is reviewed by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency.
“It’s all very tied in to the regional process because the regional plan looks at the growth of Reno, Sparks and southern Washoe County area and there’s an allocation of where growth will occur between the three jurisdictions.”
Under the state demographer’s projection, southern Nevada (Clark and Nye Counties) is projected to grow by more than 1.1 million people. According to Hardcastle, of particular concern is the impact of new hotel projects opening on the Las Vegas Strip between now and 2012. He said that the hotel projects have led to many high-end construction jobs, but after the 2012 date there are no other major projects on the horizon to keep those workers in Nevada.
“What happens when they’re done?” he said.
The projections are used in preparing the state's budget and for other planning purposes. They were prepared using a model that relates a county's population and economy to other counties and the nation as a whole. A draft of the projections has been provided to local governments and other interested parties.
The full report is available by downloading a PDF at http://www.nsbdc.org/what/data_statistics/demographer/pubs/docs/NV_Projections_2008_Report.pdf.
The State Demographer's Office is part of the Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University's College of Business Administration, and is funded by the Nevada Department of Taxation.