Nevada's estimated population hit 2.3 million in 2003 as it retained its long-running status as the nation's hotspot for growth, state Demographer Jeff Hardcastle said Tuesday.
Hardcastle released a report that shows most of the growth has been in southern and northwestern Nevada - areas that encompass Las Vegas in the south and Reno in the north. But many outlying areas showed little or no growth.
"Nationally, Nevada continues to be the fastest-growing state, having been that for the past 17 years," Hardcastle said.
"At best, rural Nevada can be described as being flat regarding changes in population and jobs or at worst losing population and jobs."
Overall, the state grew by 4.1 percent between mid-2002 and mid-2003. A breakdown shows Clark County, which takes in Las Vegas, grew by 4.6 percent while Washoe County, which encompasses the Reno-Sparks area, grew by 3.8 percent.
Of the state's 17 counties, the fastest-growing was Lyon, just east of Reno, at 6.4 percent. The county with the worst performance was Lander, down 4.9 percent, followed by Lincoln, down 3.3 percent.
By the numbers, there were 90,544 more Nevadans in mid-2003 than there were in mid-2002 - and about 80 percent of them were in Clark County.
The report is based on data compiled by the state rather than by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau released its own report, with less detail on Nevada, in late December.
Hardcastle also provided estimates of growth in Nevada's cities and towns. Highlights included Las Vegas at 528,617, up 2.7 percent; Henderson at 217,448, up 3.8 percent; North Las Vegas at 146,005, up 7.4 percent; Reno at 195,727, up 4.2 percent; Sparks at 78,435, up 4.2 percent; Carson City at 55,220, up 0.7 percent; and Fernley, in Lyon County, up 12.2 percent to 11,718.
A sampling of other cities and counties shows Elko County had 45,805 residents, down 1.7 percent. That included 16,354 in the city of Elko, down 2 percent.
Douglas County had 45,603 residents, up 3.1 percent. That included 4,316 in Gardnerville, up 6.2 percent; and 2,870 in Minden, up 1.4 percent.
Churchill County had 25,808 residents, up 2.8 percent. That included 8,301 in Fallon, up 1.5 percent.
White Pine County had 8,842 residents, down 0.2 percent. That included 3,829 in Ely, down 1.5 percent.
The communities with the highest growth were in the booming Las Vegas area. They include the Enterprise area, up about 34 percent to 62,001; Summerlin, up about 33 percent to 16,300; and Searchlight, up nearly 31 percent to 1,073.
The communities that had the worst population slump were Austin, which went down 8 percent to 271 residents; and Battle Mountain, down 5.3 percent to 2,623. Both are in Lander County. Panaca, in Lincoln County, was down 4 percent, to 541 residents, between mid-2002 and mid-2003.
Not all rural towns were declining. Caliente, also in Lincoln County, was up nearly 12 percent to 1,184; and bustling Manhattan, in Nye County, had growth of nearly 11 percent to 135 residents.
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