Nevada, the nation’s fastest growing state, is becoming older and more diverse, according to annual U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Wednesday night.
Between 2010 and 2018, the Silver State saw its retirement-age population grow by more than 149,000 people, the data shows. Close to 1 in 6 Nevada residents are now age 65 or older.
The state’s rate of growth in retirement-age residents, about 46 percent, was faster than the national rate of about 30 percent. The boom has raised Nevada’s median age to 38.1 years, nearly identical to the national average of 38.2 years.
“Aging will be a bigger factor in changing consumption patterns for goods and services and needs in government services,” state demographer Jeff Hardcastle said. “There will be an increasing demand on the health care sector, potentially.”
Nevada’s population as a whole grew by more than 330,000 people from 2010 to 2018. The state’s growth rate, about 12 percent, was double the national rate of about 6 percent.
Much of the local growth has been due to in-migration from other states and abroad. As of 2017, only 26 percent of the state’s nearly 3 million residents were born here, according to Census data.
“Nevada has now come back to a situation we experienced before the Great Recession,” said professor Stephen Miller, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “We had a lot of people retiring in the rest of the country, especially California, selling their house, taking the equity out and coming to Nevada.”
The data also showed that the state’s non-Hispanic white population has remained relatively flat since 2010.
Meanwhile, the state’s Hispanic and non-white population has increased, leading Nevada to become a majority-minority state in 2017, according to the Census estimates. The shift likely had some influence on the Democratic blue wave that washed over the state during the 2018 midterm election.
“By and large the non-white population has tended to vote more Democratic than the white population,” Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said.
Most of the state’s growth has been seen in Southern Nevada. Clark County added more than 48,000 people between 2017 and 2018, the second-largest annual population increase of any U.S. county.
During that time, the county’s population of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders grew by more than 1,400 people, the largest numeric growth in the country. The American Indian and Alaska Native population grew by 3.5 percent, nearly 1,700 people, the fastest rate of growth in the country among counties with a total population of 20,000 or more.
Nevada’s neighbors are also seeing their populations expand. Maricopa County in Arizona had the largest increase in population in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, adding more than 81,000 people.
“The West is booming,” Frey said. “It’s probably the fastest growing part of the country.”