Looking for someone to thank for Nevada’s population mini-boom? Thank the baby boomers.
Clark County’s over-65 crowd grew by nearly 6 percent in 2013, helping to fuel the state’s continued post-recession population rebound, according to census figures released Thursday.
The 14,204 new retirement-age residents in the county outpaced the entire number of new working-age residents and nudged the median age from 36.1 to 36.4 years.
The local aging trend falls in line with the nation, where baby boomers pushed the median age from 37.5 to 37.6 years. Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.
Overall, Clark County’s population grew 1.5 percent between July 2012 and July 2013, accounting for much of the state’s 1.3 percent population bump over that time.
Nationwide, Nevada had the sixth-fastest growth rate, the same spot it held the year before but a big jump from 2011, when the Silver State languished in the 32nd spot.
The population uptick was another sign of the region’s recovery following the devastating recession, said county demographer John Wardlaw.
“What that says is a rebound for the economy here. Are we back to where we were? No,” he said.
For decades, Nevada and Clark County topped the annual fastest-growing lists. By 2007, the county was adding more than 65,000 people a year as it raced past the 2 million population mark.
But the rapid growth hit a wall with the recession. Between 2008 and 2010, the county added only 50,000 residents.
The number of new residents moving here bottomed out in 2011, when the county gained just 745 people through migration. But that suddenly rebounded in 2012 when it gained more than 19,000 new residents through migration, a number not seen since 2008.
The county’s population growth hasn’t reached pre-recession levels, but it’s leveled off with 31,000 new people in 2012 and 30,000 in 2013, according the latest census figures.
The latest influx of residents pushed the county population to 2.03 million.
The rise in population, along with climbing housing prices and falling unemployment, show positive signs for Southern Nevada’s recovery from the economic depths of the recession, Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis has said.
HISPANIC GROWTH CONTINUES
The 2.4 percent growth among Hispanics outpaced the overall growth in Clark County. That number matches the previous year, and made Hispanics 30 percent of the county population.
The county’s Hispanic population is by far the highest in the state, where the Hispanic population is 27.5 percent. In Washoe County, Hispanics are 23.3 percent of the population.
SMALL COUNTIES GROW FAST
Thanks to the mining boom across rural Nevada, many of the state’s smaller counties enjoyed significant growth last year.
Tiny Esmeralda County, along the California border, came in as the fourth-fastest growing county in the nation, with a 9 percent growth rate. That explosive growth was fueled by a grand total of 69 people, bringing the population to 832.
Several other small counties, including Lander, Eureka and Elko, grew 2 percent or more.
Contact Brian Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0281. Find him on Twitter: @HaynesinVegas.