Preliminary Estimates by State Demographer Show Nevada Lost Population in 2009

CARSON CITY – For the first time in decades, Nevada’s population actually declined from one year to the next, dropping 1 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to preliminary estimates prepared by the Nevada State Demographer’s Office.

The estimates, which have not been finalized, show the state population on July 1, 2009 was 2,711,663, a decline of just over 27,000 residents for a 1 percent population decline compared to July 1, 2008.

The estimate is derived using different factors than those used by the U.S. Census Bureau, which may account for the differing estimates. The U.S. Censure Bureau last week reported Nevada’s population rose by 1 percent in the same time frame.

Because differing methods are used to make the estimates, the state demographer’s estimate shows about 70,000 more people residing in Nevada than the Census Bureau, 2.71 million compared to 2.64 million.

The preliminary population numbers were first reported by News Carson City, a Carson City-based news and information website.

The statewide decline comes after a 0.8 percent increase from 2007 to 2008, and a 3.6 percent increase from 2006 to 2007, showing the effects of the recession on the state of Nevada.

The census report from last week said Nevada actually experienced a negative net migration of domestic residents into the state during the year, which means more people left the state than moved here. The 27,000 population increase was attributed to births by Nevada residents and by an increase in international migration.

According to the state demographer’s preliminary estimates, Clark County lost more than 15,000 residents over the year for a 0.8 percent decline in population to 1,952,040.

The report, which is expected to be released in final form next month following any appeals by local government entities, shows Laughlin’s population declined by nearly 10 percent to 7,914 residents.

Some Clark County communities experienced growth, however, including Mesquite, which saw its population grow by 4.7 percent to 20,677 residents.

Washoe County saw a decline of 1.7 percent to 416,632 residents.

Even the fast-growing town of Pahrump in Nye County saw a population decline of 1.6 percent to 38,247, according to the estimates.

As further evidence Nevada may be experiencing an unprecedented population decline, the November report from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation cited people leaving the state as a reason the unemployment rate actually declined compared to October. According to the report, Nevada’s labor force contracted for the second month in a row in November, falling by 1.5 percent, meaning roughly 13,900 workers either left the state or were too discouraged to seek employment.

The state demographer estimates are used for a variety of purposes including revenue distribution between the cities and towns. The Nevada State Demographer’s office is funded by the Nevada Department of Taxation and is responsible for conducting annual population estimates for Nevada’s counties, cities, and towns.

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