LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — During our Meadows to Metropolis series, we’ve talked about the impact population growth will have on us here in Southern Nevada when it comes to housing, crime, job diversity and more. However, despite the issues and challenges we face, people continue to move here and are excited to call Las Vegas home.
“2020 hit and so did a pandemic,” said Tommy Speigner. “With that, we were inside of a two-bedroom apartment downtown, lack of access to a playgrounds and parks, so we kind of realized we needed places to roam.”
Tommy and Krista Speigner moved their family from Portland, Oregon to Southern Nevada about a year ago. The need for more space, outdoor recreation, affordability and our state’s diversity were the main reasons they chose Las Vegas.
Research from Applied Analysis shows Nevada ranks third in terms of overall racial diversity, behind Hawaii and California.
“It allows our children to have a more diverse opinion of people and things and places and allows them to understand more and have a broader understanding of different people and environments,” Tommy said.
New research from UNLV takes a look at population growth in Southern Nevada.
A number of factors help determine population forecasts including birth rate minus death rates, but people choosing to reside here is making the biggest difference, says Andrew Woods, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV.
“In particular, we saw during the pandemic that southern California and other parts of the country got more expensive, while here in Southern Nevada we still had a lot of ground to make up from the last recession, so things are much for affordable for folks,” Woods said. “So we saw an increase, not a decrease, of individuals moving here.”
This research helps leaders determine the best areas to put money and resources to plan for the future.
“How to factor it into those budgets,” Woods said. “How do we think of five, 10, 15 years the number of personnel that we need to continue to have the services that we have today. “
How we develop and what we do about housing, education, jobs, water and more will all have an impact when it comes to how we sustain our growth. This could give our state the opportunity to become the face of the nation and the chance to serve as a model for the rest of the country.
Richard Bryan served Nevada as governor and senator, seeing that growth first-hand.
“Today it just kind of blows my mind how big this place has gotten,” Bryan said.
To him, Las Vegas has always been a city full of opportunity, but the challenge is how to handle it all.
“What are we going to do about this water issue? We can’t just forget about it — that’s a serious issue,” Bryan said. “I don’t think the town, 10 years from now, is going to dry up and go away. I think there are some solutions that we can fashion, but that’s a real challenge.”
But Bryan remains optimistic.
“I think the future is incredibly bright for us if we manage our resources and the challenges we face,” Bryan said.
As long as we tackle those issues head-on, families like the Speigners can look forward to more days outdoors, enjoying everything Southern Nevada has to offer.
Researchers at UNLV predict our population will increase by more than 650,000 people by 2035. By 2060, Southern Nevada is expected to grow by more than 1 million people.
For a look at the research, click here.