State of Nevada - NV

Nevada is a state located in the western United States, best known for its widespread legalization of gambling and gaming industry.

Nevada's nickname is "The Silver State" or "The Sagebrush State", and the state's motto is "All for Our Country". "Home Means Nevada" by Bertha Rafetto is the state song. The phrase "Battle Born" is on the state flag; "The Battle Born State" is the official state slogan, as Nevada was admitted into the union during the American Civil War.

Although the name is derived from the Spanish word nevada meaning "snowy", and Las Vegas "The Meadows" the local pronunciation of the state's name is not IPA: [nəˈβɑdə], but IPA: [nəˈvædə]. In 2005, the state issued a specialty license plate via the Nevada Commission on Tourism that lists the name of the state as Nevăda to help with the pronunciation problem.

Further information: List of Nevada counties
The state is broken up by several north-south mountain ranges. Most of those ranges have inland-draining valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin.

Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin Desert, a colder desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and sub-freezing temperatures in the winter. Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow.

The Humboldt River crosses from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee and Carson rivers.

The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 12,000 feet, harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet.

The eastern parts of the state receive more summer moisture and have a slightly more verdant terrain. Sagebrush grows and some rivers and streams break the desert terrain.

The southern third of the state, including the Las Vegas area, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less precipitation in the winter, but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is also lower, mostly below 4,000 feet, creating conditions for hotter summer days and colder winter nights due to inversion.

Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line as a state boundary at just over 400 miles. (There are a very few, much smaller diagonal boundaries in the northeastern states and Washington, D.C., with the longer exceptions not being at such a steep angle.) All other state boundaries, but one, are lines of latitude, longitude, or are irregular and based on rivers, mountains, lakes, etc. (A circular border exists between Delaware and Pennsylvania.) This line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly four miles offshore (in the direction of the boundary), and continues to the Colorado River where the Nevada, California, and Arizona boundaries merge 12 miles southwest of the Laughlin (Nevada) Bridge.

The largest mountain range in the southern state is the Spring Mountains, just west of Las Vegas. The state's lowest point is along the Colorado River, south of Laughlin.

Some have suggested that Nevada annex the town of Wendover, Utah, which would be merged with West Wendover, Nevada. This deal will require the permission of both the Nevada and Utah legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

Areas maintained by the National Park Service include:

California National Historic Trail
Death Valley National Park
Great Basin National Park near Baker
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Pony Express National Historic Trail

Adjacent states
Oregon - northwest
Idaho - northeast
Utah - east
Arizona - southeast
California - west

The Nevada Territory in 1861.Derived from the Father Kino expeditions at the end of the 17th century through north Mexico and south U.S., Nevada passed to Spanish control, belonging to the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In 1821 became part of the First Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide, until 1823, and afterwards of Mexico. As a result of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 and based on the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty, Nevada became part of the United States. On August 14, 1850, the U.S. Congress established the Utah territory which included the present day state. 1859 saw the discovery of the Comstock Lode, a rich outcropping of gold and silver, and the mining center Virginia City sprang up. This discovery brought a flood of miners, prospectors, merchants and others hoping to strike it rich.

On March 2, 1861, the Nevada Territory separated from the Utah territory and adopted its current name, shortened from Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy range"). Eight days prior to the presidential election of 1864, Nevada became the 36th state in the union. Statehood was rushed to the date of October 31 to help ensure Abraham Lincoln's reelection and post-Civil War Republican dominance in congress[citation needed]. As Nevada's mining-based economy tied it to the more industrialized Union, it was viewed as more politically reliable than other Confederate-sympathizing states such as neighboring California. Additionally, the immense amounts of silver that were being mined out of the Comstock Lode helped finance the war.

Nevada achieved its current boundaries on May 5, 1866 when it absorbed the portion of Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River. The transfer was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area, and it was thought by officials that Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected population boom. This area includes most of what is now Clark County, Nevada.

Mining shaped Nevada's economy for many years. Although, in the late 19th century, Nevada found it increasingly more difficult to compete with states such as Colorado and Utah in the mining industry. There was even talk of stripping away statehood, the only time in American history such an action was discussed in Congress. However, the rich silver strike at Tonopah in 1900 is thought to have saved the state from near collapse. This was followed by strikes in Goldfield and Rhyolite, lasting well into the 1910s and making Nevada a dominant player in mining once again.

Gambling and labor
Gambling erupted once more following a recession in the early 20th century, helping to build the city of Las Vegas.Unregulated gambling was common place in the early Nevada mining towns but, outlawed in 1909 as part of a nation-wide anti-gaming crusade. Due to subsequent declines in mining output in the 1920s and the decline of the agricultural sector during the Great Depression, Nevada re-legalized gambling on March 19, 1931, with approval from the legislature. At the time, the leading proponents of gambling expected that it would be a short term fix until the state's economic base widened to include less cyclical industries. However, re-outlawing gambling has never been seriously considered since, and the industry has become Nevada's primary source of revenue today.

In 1931, construction began on Hoover Dam near Las Vegas. Thousands of workers from across the country came to build the dam, and providing for their needs in turn required many more workers. The boom in population is likely to have fueled the relegalization of gambling, alike present-day industry. Both Hoover Dam and later war industries such as the Basic Magnesium Plant first started the growth of the southern area of the state near Las Vegas. Over the last 75 years, Clark County has grown in relation to the Reno area, and today encompasses most of the state's population.

The Nevada Test Site, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the City of Las Vegas, was founded on January 11, 1951 for the testing of nuclear weapons. The site is composed of approximately 1,350 square miles (3,500 km²) of desert and mountainous terrain. Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site began with a one-kiloton of TNT (4 terajoule ) bomb dropped on Frenchman Flats on January 27, 1951. The last atmospheric test was conducted on July 17, 1962 and the underground testing of weapons continued until September 23, 1992.

Over 87% of the state today is owned by the Federal Government. The primary reason for this is that homesteads were not permitted in large enough sizes to be viable in the arid conditions that prevail throughout desert Nevada. Instead, early settlers would homestead land surrounding a water source, and then graze livestock on the adjacent public land, which is useless for agriculture without access to water (this pattern of ranching still prevails). The deficiencies in the Homestead Act as applied to Nevada were probably due to a lack of understanding of the Nevada environment, although some firebrands (so-called "Sagebrush Rebels") maintain that it was due to pressure from mining interests to keep land out of the hands of common folk. This debate continues to be argued among some state historians today.

Historical populations
year Population


1860 6,857
1870 42,941
1880 62,266
1890 47,355
1900 42,335
1910 81,875
1920 77,407
1930 91,058
1940 110,247
1950 160,083
1960 285,278
1970 488,738
1980 800,493
1990 1,201,833
2000 1,998,257
Nevada Population Density MapAccording to the Census Bureau, as of 2005, Nevada has an estimated population of 2,414,807, which is an increase of 81,909, or 3.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 416,550, or 20.8%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 81,661 people (that is 170,451 births minus 88,790 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 337,043 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 66,098 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 270,945 people.

Demographics of Nevada (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 86.11% 7.67% 2.17% 5.67% 0.83%
2000 (hispanic only) 18.78% 0.44% 0.45% 0.25% 0.11%
2005 (total population) 84.25% 8.58% 2.15% 6.87% 0.92%
2005 (hispanic only) 22.31% 0.69% 0.51% 0.30% 0.12%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 18.23% 35.25% 20.23% 46.27% 33.72%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) 11.17% 31.96% 16.39% 46.36% 33.55%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 43.57% 88.97% 34.74% 44.46% 34.84%
The largest reported ancestry groups in Nevada are: German (14.1%), Mexican (12.7%), Irish (11%), English (10.1%), Italian (6.6%), Filipino (5.2%), and American (4.8%). Nevada also has a sizable Basque ancestry population.

In Clark and Pershing Counties, a plurality of residents are of Mexican ancestry; Nye County and Humboldt County have a plurality of German-Americans.

6.8% of its population were reported as under 5, 26.3% under 18, and 13.6% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.7% of the population. As a result of its rapid population growth, Nevada has a higher percentage of residents born outside of the state than any other state.

Nevada is the fastest growing state in the country. Between 2000 and 2003, Nevada's population increased 12.2%, while the USA's population increased 3.3%. Between 1990 and 2000, Nevada's population increased 66.3%, while the USA's population increased 13.1%. Over two thirds of the population of the state lives in the fast-growing Las Vegas metropolitan area. If Congress were reapportioned using 2005 data, Nevada would gain a representative seat, for a total of 4.

The religious affiliations of the people of Nevada are:

Christian – 78%
Protestant – 44%
Baptist – 15%
Methodist – 6%
Lutheran – 3%
Other Protestant – 21%
Roman Catholic – 24%
Latter-day Saint – 12%
Other Christian – 1%
Other Religions – 2%
Non-Religious – 20%

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Nevada's total state product in 2003 was $88 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $31,910, 19th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, dairy products, onions and potatoes. Its industrial outputs are tourism, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment. It is well-known for gambling and nightlife. Large, luxurious casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno attract visitors from around the world.

Nevada's booming economic center of Las VegasIn portions of the state outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas, mining and cattle ranching are the major economic activities. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral mined. In 2004, 6.8 million ounces of gold worth $2.84 billion were mined in Nevada, and the state accounted for 8.7% of world gold production. Silver is a distant second, with 10.3 million ounces worth $69 million mined in 2004. [1] Other minerals mined in Nevada include construction aggregates, copper, gypsum, diotomite and lithium. Despite its rich deposits, the cost of mining in Nevada is generally high, and output is very sensitive to world commodity prices.

As of January 1, 2006 there were an estimated 500,000 head of cattle and 70,000 head of sheep in Nevada.[2] Most of these animals forage on rangeland in the summer, with supplemental feed in the winter. Calves are generally shipped to out-of-state feedlots in the fall to be fattened for market. Over 90% of Nevada's 484,000 acres of cropland is used to grow hay, mostly alfalfa, for livestock feed.

Further information: Nevada locations by per capita income
Nevada is also one of only a few states with no personal income tax and no corporate income tax. The state sales tax in Nevada is 6.5%. Counties can assess option taxes as well, making the combined state/county sales taxes rate in some areas as high as 7.75%. Sales tax in Carson City is 7.125% and sales tax in Washoe County is 7.375%, while sales tax in Douglas County is 6.75%.

State Route shieldInterstate 15 passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. It has spur routes I-215 and I-515. Interstate 80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, reaching from Utah in the east and passing westward through Reno and into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several federal highways: US-6, US-50, US-93, US-95 and US-395. There are also 189 Nevada State Highways. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that does not have a continuous Interstate highway linking its major poulation cores: Reno, Carson City, and Las Vegas.

The state is one of just a few in the country that allow semi-trailer trucks with three trailers—what might be called a "road train" in Australia. However, American versions are usually smaller, in part because they must ascend and descend some fairly steep mountain passes.

Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and in the south (map). Amtrak's California Zephyr uses one of the northern branches in a daily service from Chicago to Emeryville, California serving Elko, Winnemucca, Sparks, and Reno. [1] BNSF Railway has trackage rights to the Union Pacific lines in the north.

Amtrak provides bus services from Las Vegas to Needles, California and Los Angeles ([2]). Greyhound Lines also provides some bus services.

Las Vegas has a bus network and a monorail system that is being extended. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is one of the busiest airports in the United States. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (formerly known as the Reno Cannon International Airport) is the other major airport in the state. The city of Elko also has an airport with regular commercial service.

There are also bus services in Reno/Sparks, and from there to Carson City. Some counties do not have public transport at all, for example Eureka County.

Law and government
Nevada's governor is Kenny Guinn (Republican). Nevada's two U.S. senators are Harry Reid (Democrat) and John Ensign (Republican).

Further information: List of Nevada Governors

A view of the Nevada State Legislative BuildingNevada has a bicameral legislature, divided into a Senate and an Assembly. Members of the Senate serve for 4 years, and members of the Assembly serve for 2 years. Each session of the Legislature meets for 4 months every two years, or longer if the Governor calls a special session. Currently, the Senate is controlled by the Republican Party and the Assembly is controlled by the Democratic Party.

Nevada is one of the few U.S. states without a system of intermediate appellate courts. It has a state supreme court, the Supreme Court of Nevada, which hears all appeals. The court lacks the power of discretionary review, so Nevada's judicial system is extremely congested.

Original jurisdiction is divided between the District Courts (with general jurisdiction), and Justice Courts and Municipal Courts (both of limited jurisdiction).

Libertarian laws
The Supreme Court of Nevada's courthouseIn 1900, Nevada's population was the smallest of all states and was shrinking, as the difficulties of living in a "barren desert" began to outweigh the lure of silver for many early settlers. Historian Lawrence Friedman has explained what happened next:

Nevada, in a burst of ingenuity, built an economy by exploiting its sovereignty. Its strategy was to legalize all sorts of things that were illegal in California ... [a]fter easy divorce came easy marriage and casino gambling. Even prostitution is legal in Nevada, in any county that decides to allow it. Quite a few of them do. [3]
Besides prostitution laws (See Prostitution in Nevada), a number of laws in Nevada, to this day, are noticeably more liberal (or libertarian) than in most other states:

Divorce laws. Nevada's early reputation as a "divorce haven" arose from the fact that prior to the no-fault divorce revolution in the 1970s, divorces were quite difficult to obtain in the United States. To boost its fragile economy, Nevada adopted one of the most liberal divorce statutes in the nation. This resulted in Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287 (1942), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina had to give "full faith and credit" to a Nevada divorce.

Statutory rape laws. Nevada is currently the only state that has different ages of consent for different sexual practices. An adult may have "ordinary sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus or fellatio" with another person that is 16 years old or older (NRS 200.364); however a different law makes it illegal to incite, entice, or solicit any minor (a person under 18) to engage in an "infamous crime against nature". (NRS 201.195). (See also: Age of Consent).

Tax laws. Nevada's tax laws also draw new residents and businesses to the state. Nevada has no personal income tax or corporate income tax. [3].

Incorporation laws. Nevada also provides friendly environment for the formation of corporations, and many (especially California) businesspeople have incorporated their businesses in Nevada to take advantage of the benefits of the Nevada statute. Nevada Corporations offer great flexibility to the Board of Directors and simplify or avoid many of the rules that are cumbersome to business managers in some other states. In addition, Nevada has no franchise tax.

Financial institutions. Similarly, many U.S. states have usury laws limiting the amount of interest a lender can charge, but Federal law allows corporations to 'import' these laws from their home state. Nevada (amongst others) has relatively lax interest laws, in effect allowing banks to charge as much as they want, hence the preponderance of credit card companies in the state.[citation needed]

Due to the tremendous growth of Las Vegas in recent years, there is a noticeable divide between politics of northern and southern Nevada. The north has long maintained control of key positions in the state government even while the population of the Las Vegas area is larger than the rest of the state. This has fostered resentment as the north sees the south as a potential bully of majority rule and the south sees the north as the "old guard" trying to rule as an oligarchy. Most people outside the state are not familiar with this rivalry.

The state is not dominated by either major political party. Republicans won Nevada three times in the 1980's. Democrat Bill Clinton won the state in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections and Republican George Bush won Nevada in 2000 and 2004. In 2004, George Bush narrowly won the state's 5 electoral votes by a margin of 2 percentage points with 50.5% of the vote. Las Vegas' Clark County, which contains the vast majority of the state's population, was the only county to vote Democratic, however results show that all but five of Nevada's counties, including Clark and Washoe counties, the two largest in the state, are trending Democratic.

U.S. Senators

John Ensign (R) Harry Reid (D)

Important cities and towns
Rank City Population
city limits Land Area
sq. miles Population
per sq mi County
1 Las Vegas 553,807 113.3 4,222.5 Clark
2 Henderson 255,646 79.7 2,200.8 Clark
3 Paradise 221,051 47.1 3,947.3 Clark
4 Reno 206,629 69.1 2,611.4 Washoe
5 Sunrise Manor 195,581 38.2 4,081.8 Clark
6 North Las Vegas 177,751 78.5 1,471.0 Clark
7 Spring Valley 176,552 33.4 3,519.4 Clark
8 Sparks 88,518 23.9 2,773.6 Washoe
9 Carson City 58,350 143.4 366 Carson City
10 Pahrump 44,614 297.9 82.7 Nye

Rank County Population
county limits Land Area
sq. miles Population
per sq mi Largest city
1 Clark 1,715,337 7,910 174 Las Vegas
2 Washoe 383,453 6,342 54 Reno
3 Carson City 56,146 155.7 366 Carson City
4 Douglas 47,803 710 58 Gardnerville Ranchos
5 Elko 46,499 17,179 3 Elko
6 Lyon 44,646 1,994 17 Fernley
7 Nye 38,181 18,147 2 Pahrump
8 Churchill 26,106 4,929 5 Fallon
9 Humboldt 17,129 9,648 2 Winnemucca
10 White Pine 8,966 8,876 1 Ely

Note: table was compiled using Nevada State estimates from 2004 for population and Census 2000 for area and density

cities in Nevada
] 10 richest places in Nevada
Ranked by per capita income

Incline Village-Crystal Bay, Nevada $52,521
Kingsbury, Nevada $41,451
Mount Charleston, Nevada $38,821
Verdi-Mogul, Nevada $38,233
Zephyr Cove-Round Hill Village, Nevada $37,218
Summerlin South, Nevada $33,017
Blue Diamond, Nevada $30,479
Minden, Nevada $30,405
Boulder City, Nevada $29,770
Spanish Springs, Nevada $26,908
Further information: Nevada locations by per capita income
Colleges and universities
Sierra Nevada College
Nevada System of Higher Education
University of Nevada, Reno (UNR)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
Nevada State College at Henderson
Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC)
Great Basin College
Community College of Southern Nevada (CCSN)
Western Nevada Community College
Touro University Nevada
[edit] Professional sports teams
Las Vegas Gladiators, Arena Football League
Las Vegas 51s, minor league baseball
Las Vegas Wranglers, East Coast Hockey League
Reno Silver Sox, Golden Baseball League
Miscellaneous topics
Nevada's nickname is "The Silver State" or "The Sagebrush State", and the state's motto is "All for Our Country". "Home Means Nevada" by Bertha Rafetto is the state song. The phrase "Battle Born" is on the state flag; "The Battle Born State" is the official state slogan, as Nevada was admitted into the union during the American Civil War.

Although the name is derived from the Spanish word nevada meaning "snowy", the local pronunciation of the state's name is not IPA: [nəˈvɑdə], but IPA: [nəˈvædə]. Residents often regard the pronunciation as a test of whether visitors such as presidential candidates, have informed themselves about the state. In 2005, the state issued a new series of license plates that list the name of the state as Nevăda to help with the pronunciation problem.

Several United States Navy ships have been named USS Nevada in honor of the state.

Nevada is the only state with legalized prostitution.

Further information: Prostitution in Nevada
Nevada is home to Nellis Air Force Base, a major testing and training base of the United States Air Force. Nellis is reputedly the home of Area 51, a top-secret installation of which the U.S. federal government has always denied existence. Area 51 is supposedly located in Groom Lake.

The paranormal radio talk show host Art Bell formerly lived in Pahrump, Nevada.

In Finnish language there is a very well known concept "Huitsin Nevada", which refers to some far away place in spoken language (in a same way as a saying "from here to Timbuktoo"). The origin and history of the saying is unknown. "Nevada" refers to the name of this US state and "Huitsin" is a slang word meaning "very" or "utter".

State symbols
Digitally colored elevation map of NevadaState animal: Desert Bighorn Sheep
State artifact: Tule Duck Decoy
State bird: Mountain Bluebird
State colors: Silver and Blue
State fish: Lahontan cutthroat trout
State flower: Sagebrush
State fossil: Ichthyosaur
State grass: Indian ricegrass
State march: "Silver State Fanfare" by Gerald Willis
State metal: Silver (Ag)
State motto: "All for our country"
State precious gemstone: Virgin Valley black fire opal
State semiprecious gemstone: Nevada turquoise
State song: "Home Means Nevada" by Bertha Raffetto
State reptile: Desert Tortoise
State rock: Sandstone
State soil: Orovada (soil) series
State tartan: A particular tartan designed for Nevada by Richard Zygmunt Pawlowski
State trees: Single-leaf Piñon and Bristlecone pine
A fictional history (with a great deal of fact) titled Nevada was written by Clint McCullough.

Black Rock Desert
Burning Man
List of cities in Nevada
List of Governors of Nevada
List of law enforcement agencies in Nevada
List of mountain ranges of Nevada
List of Nevada counties
List of Nevada rivers
List of Nevada state prisons
List of people from Nevada
List of radio stations in Nevada
List of television stations in Nevada
List of United States Senators from Nevada
List of ZIP Codes in Nevada
Scouting in Nevada
20 Largest cities in Nevada
^ Nevada Mining Association, Economic Overview of the Nevada Mining Industry 2004
^ United States Department of Agriculture Nevada State Agriculture Overview - 2005
^ Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 596-597.


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