NV demographer expects state to grow nearly 10 percent by 2020

Listen to the story

NV demographer expects state to grow nearly 10 percent by 2020

Nevada_map2

Nevada's demographer released his population estimates for the next 20 years Wednesday.

Nevada's demographer released his population estimates for the next 20 years Wednesday.

Despite several major economic stressors, the state population grew by 35% between 2000 and 2010. Jeff Hardcastle expects the state to grow by another 9.6 percent by 2020.

An important factor when projecting population growth is job growth. Hardcastle says Nevada is still lagging behind the rest of the nation in its recovery since the bottom of the recession in 2010.

"We've recovered about 27.9 percent of our employment whereas nationally it's been a recovery of 75% of the jobs lost. You know, people have been discussing how strong some of that job growth is nationally and the quality of the jobs, saying that some of that is in part time sectors, but that also holds true in Nevada."

The state's gambling industry continues to be the biggest driver for employment, but the education and healthcare fields have the most room for future growth.

Along with increased employment, Hardcastle says proposed economic investments, including those across state lines, would influence population growth.

"With the interstate being proposed between Las Vegas and Phoenix or some kind of high speed rail between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, depending on trends in either technology or culture, that could impact how our economy shakes out over time."

Under Hardcastle's projections, Nevada would add 529,000 people over the next two decades, with Clark County gaining the most, about 377,000, and Washoe County gaining 120,000 people.