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Is Carson City’s population dropping?

Carson City’s population dropped by 29 residents last year, but the municipality is disputing the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A researcher said the data shows Nevada’s state capital is part of a global problem that is starting to show itself: population decline.

Carson City is a bellwether for where we are headed as a species, said Brian Bonnenfant, project manager at the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“This issue is a microcosm of what is going on across many counties across the U.S. and countries across the world, and that is low birth rates are really catching up to us,” he said. “And so with the boomers cycling through we are going to see this increase in deaths from that demographic and the younger generation not birthing enough to replace that.”

Last year Carson City (which is also a county) had 524 births compared to 914 deaths, resulting in Carson City’s natural population decreasing by 390 people. Carson City’s drop in residents (when comparing births and deaths) is second only to Nye County, which lost 623 residents.

However, Carson City added 357 domestic and international migrants to its population, leaving it with 58,036 people, compared to the county’s population of 58,646 back in 2020, according to census data.

Demographics of Carson City

Cameron Gresh, a public information officer for Carson City, said the municipality does not independently track its population and defers to the Nevada Department of Taxation for specific numbers. Carson City provided numbers that show the city added 609 residents from 2022 to 2023.

The median age in Carson City is 42.1 years old, according to census figures, which is above the state average of 39. The biggest demographic group is people ages 55 to 59 years, and 20.6 percent of the city is 65 years or older, compared to the state average of 16.9 percent.

Mesquite is the fastest-growing city in the state of Nevada. The city’s population jumped 10.5 percent from 20,616 in 2020 to 22,786 in 2023, according to the census. Located in Clark County, Mesquite lies within the Virgin River Valley about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Census statistics show 14 of 17 counties in the state had more deaths than births from 2022 to 2023, led by Nye County which had 368 births compared to 991 deaths, and the county had an overall population increase of 951 due to 1,592 residents added through domestic migration.

Only four counties (Esmeralda, Pershing, Humboldt and White Pine) had negative immigration. White Pine led the way with a a drop of 178 domestic migrants and three internationals.

Clark County had 24,876 births compared to 20,042 deaths last year.

Nevada’s population as a whole increased last year by 16,755 people, but seven counties had population declines, and more than half of the population growth was attributed to domestic and international migration to Clark County (9,097 people). The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the country’s population will start declining as soon as 2080, and by 2100 there may be roughly as many people in America as there are today.

Contact Patrick Blennerhassett at pblennerhassett@reviewjournal.com.

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