Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Nevada Growing?

The Nevada state demographer, Jeff Hardcastle, has estimated that Nevada lost 100,000 people in the past two years, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Yet the 2010 census results show Nevada's population growing 35 percent over the decade (to 2,700,551) and gaining 84,779 people in the last two years (a calculation made by comparing the 2010 census count with the Census Bureau’s estimate of Nevada’s population in 2008).

Who’s right? My guess is the state demographer. Nevada has been devastated by the Great Recession. It has the highest unemployment rate and the highest foreclosure rate in the country. Behind Nevada’s “growth” over the past few years is the Census Bureau’s probable underestimate of Nevada’s population in the intercensal years from 2001 through 2009. During those years, the state demographer’s estimates of Nevada’s population have consistently exceeded the Census Bureau’s. In 2008, the excess was 139,000. Given the hard times the state has experienced, the Census Bureau is likely to revise its estimate of Nevada’s intercensal population upward, revealing the recent loss.

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