According to the national census, Nevada had 1,998,257 residents in 2000, making it the 35th most populous state. In 2006 its population density was 9 persons per sq km (23 per sq mi).
Nevada has for many years been the fastest-growing state in the country. The state had a population of only 160,083 in 1950. Its population increased by 78.2 percent during the 1950s, by 71.3 percent during the 1960s, by 63.8 percent during the 1970s, by 50.1 percent during the 1980s, and by 66.3 percent during the 1990s.
Population distribution is very uneven. In 2000 some 92 percent of Nevadans were classified as inhabitants of urban areas. Most of the urban population was concentrated in the Las Vegas and Reno areas.
According to the U.S. Census, whites made up the largest share of the population, 75.2 percent, in 2000, while blacks accounted for 6.8 percent of the people, Asians for 4.5 percent, Native Americans for 1.3 percent, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders for 0.4 percent, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race for 11.8 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 19.7 percent of the people.
Las Vegas and Reno were originally minor stops on the historic routes to California. Both cities grew rapidly in the last half of the 20th century, as air conditioning and air transportation spurred the growth of gambling casinos, luxury hotels, and resorts.
The Las Vegas metropolitan area, which includes a portion of Arizona, had a population of 1,777,539 in 2006. The city of Las Vegas had 552,539 in 2006. Other cities in the Las Vegas metropolitan area include Henderson (240,614), North Las Vegas (197,567), and Boulder City (15,177). The Reno metropolitan area had 400,560 residents in 2006. Its principal cities were Reno (210,255 in 2006) and Sparks (83,959).
Carson City (56,062) is the state capital. Other cities include Elko, the hub of the northeastern cattle-ranching area; Winnemucca, a transportation crossroads; and Ely, the chief city of the copper-mining region. Many old mining towns have lost most of their population. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious group in Nevada. The largest Protestant denominations are the Baptists and the Methodists. "Nevada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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