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Census: Las Vegas Valley boom fueled Nevada’s record growth

Updated Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 | 3:58 p.m.

North Las Vegas almost doubled in size over the past decade -- despite an exodus of people who left the city in recent years -- making it the fastest growing municipality in Nevada, according to 2010 U.S. Census data released today.

Despite Nevada's recent economic woes, all of the major population centers grew significantly over the past 10 years. The influx of people in the early part of the decade far outpaced out-migration at the end of the decade. Nevada lost roughly 38,000 people from 2008 to 2009, according to state estimates.

Not surprisingly, Las Vegas remains the state's most populous city, with 583,756 people. It grew by 20 percent since the last census in 2000.

Henderson beat Reno to rank as the second most populous city. Henderson has a population of 257,729, about 25,000 more than Reno.

Henderson was also the state's second fastest-growing city, booming 47 percent over 10 years. Reno, by comparison, grew 25 percent during the same period.

Clark was easily Nevada's largest county, with its population growing from 1.37 million to 1.95 million people, or 72 percent of all Nevadans. The county grew 42 percent since 2000. Washoe County's population was 421,407, an increase of 24.1 percent.

But small Lyon County, population 51,980, surpassed Clark County in growth. It's population increased 51 percent over the past decade.

The state grew more diverse, with its Hispanic population climbing 81 percent and the number of Asians increasing by 116 percent since 2000. Nevada was 75 percent white in 2000 when its population was 1.9 million. With its population now at an estimated 2.7 million, the state is 66 percent white. Overall, the population of people who identified as white grew by 284,802 people, while Hispanics gained 322,531 people.

Hispanics make up more than 26 percent of all Nevadans, a nod to the group's projected influence in the upcoming 2012 national and local elections. In 2000, they represented nearly 20 percent of all Nevadans.

Nevada had the fastest growth spurt in the nation during the decade, growing 35 percent, compared to U.S. growth of 9.7 percent. The state will gain a fourth U.S. House member in 2012.

Only three Nevada counties experienced population loss in the last decade. Tiny Lander, Mineral and Esmeralda counties, all with fewer than 5,800 people, had a combined loss of roughly 500 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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