News Archives | Center for Business and Economic Research

How many people lived in Las Vegas 30 years ago?

Back in 1996, the UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic development projected that Clark County would have 2.26 million residents by 2024.

Turns out they weren’t far off as this year the same report, the 2024-2060 Population Forecasts has the county’s population at 2.41 million, so 26 years ago they were only off by approximately 147,000 residents.

Clark County is expected to hit 3 million residents in 2042, and the 1996 report estimated the county would break 2.5 million residents by 2034. This year’s report has Clark County breaking 2.5 million residents by 2027.

Andrew Woods, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV and one of the authors of the CBER report said there is a long history in the valley of population projections.

“From what I was told, we started doing this on our own in the early 1990s when the population was really booming and there were competing forecasts,” he said. “Sometime around 1997 there was agreement at least among local government entities to focus on one forecast which I credit my predecessor, Dr. Keith Schwer, with achieving.”

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Nevada’s 3rd-largest city: North Las Vegas or Reno?

“It was good happenstance that land was annexed for the industrial park… [The City of North Las Vegas] were the ones willing to take the risk on because they had no other choice,” said Andrew Woods, UNLV economics professor and directer for the Center for Business and Economic Research.

Woods said another way North Las Vegas has grown its population is by attracting residents with jobs and attracting workers who want short commutes to work.

“Now that they have those jobs, the challenge is that they want the workers to spend their money in North Las Vegas rather than at the casinos,” he said.

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UNLV expects Clark County population to surpass 3 million people within 20 years

UNLV has released projections for Clark County’s population covering the next 35 years.

The university’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) on Wednesday published its 2024-2060 population forecasts.

According to the latest forecast, the county’s population is expected to reach about 2,969,000 by 2040.

The report predicts Clark County will surpass 3 million people in 2042, and by 2060, the population is expected to reach 3,337,000.

For comparison, the county’s current population is estimated at 2,410,000.

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When will Clark County reach 3 million residents?

Clark County is expected to hit 3 million residents in 2042, according to a new UNLV report.

The county’s population is expected to grow “steadily” in the near future, adding approximately 38,414 residents to its population in 2024 and continue growing at more than 1 percent per year up until 2039 when it will have 2.9 million residents, said Andrew Woods, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV.

The center on Wednesday released its annual 2024-2060 Population Forecasts report, which is prepared for various local government bodies and compiles estimates and a demographic outlook.

Woods said leisure and hospitality (which includes food and accommodations) will continue to drive job growth and employment numbers in the next 1o years, however added another industry has started to push its way to the top of the list in the valley.

“What is interesting is health care is going to be our No. 2 in terms of our largest driver of employment growth in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said. “So the second largest total jobs in the valley will be health care by 2028.”

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Consumer spending is up but Las Vegas locals say they don’t see savings

Dr. Stephen Miller is a professor at UNLV and the top researcher for the school’s Center for Business and Economic Research. He says he’s not putting a lot of stock in the May consumer confidence index score.

“It’s no big deal, I don’t think,” Miller says. “The confidence index samples 3,000 people nationwide. It’s an attempt to measure what’s going to happen with consumer spending in the near future. At the center, we’re still pretty positive about the economy, but something to maybe be concerned about is the amount of credit card debt people are taking on in order to finance their consumer consumption activity.”

According to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the percentage of credit card holders in the U.S. with delinquent debt continued to rise last quarter and now sits at about 10% of all cardholders.

Still, metrics have shown that grocery prices have retreated recently, though prices for many items remain high.

“It looks like grocery prices are going to be coming down,” Miller says. “The fast food industry is competing on a downward trajectory too.”

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How many Californians have moved to Nevada since 2020?

UNLV Lee Business School population projections, which are prepared for local governments every year by the Center for Business and Economic Research, show that despite the influx of new residents from California, Clark County’s population actually dropped in 2021 by 43,591 net residents and that Clark County and Nevada’s overall population growth rate is slowing, but is still adding approximately 115 residents a day to its population base.

Stephen Miller, research director at UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research said it’s important to know that the Las Vegas Valley is still in a growth phase.

“We’re still growing above the national average,” he said. “But what’s happening is in the long run we will converge more towards the national average. There’s a convergence process that goes on as you get bigger, think of China, as you get bigger it’s harder to grow faster because you have a bigger base.”

The largest percentage of new residents are millennials from California, but Miller said there is also the aging baby boomer cohort to take into account.

“One of the main reasons some people come here (from California), is they’ve retired and want to escape the taxes and when they sell their house they have this huge equity they can take out and come and buy a house here at a much lower price and situate themselves in a much better position.”

UNLV projections have Clark County adding 33,000 residents this year, bringing the overall population to 2.4 million.

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What does the job market look like for the class of 2024?

With graduation season in full swing, economists and hiring experts say graduates are entering into a positive but slower job market compared to recent years. The overall economy and job market are stable but has lost some momentum since the U.S. reopened after the pandemic, they say.

“For anyone going into the job market now, whether it be a recent graduate or someone who has not been in the job market for a while and is reentering, it’s a good time, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect,” said Andrew Woods, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV.

Woods said the current job market is well suited for entry-level jobs both for people with college and technical degrees as well as high school graduates, but it’s a tougher situation for those looking to get into high-wage and premium benefit positions.

“Getting a job is not so much of a question,” Woods said. “Certainly for any college grads, it’s probably more of a question of, what is the job, what’s the pay and what’s the career opportunities?”

Nevada’s unemployment rate is currently 5.1 percent, the third highest in the nation behind Washington D.C. and California, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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How North Las Vegas went from near bankruptcy to fast-growing city

In 11 years North Las Vegas went from near bankruptcy to having a fast-growing economy with millions of square feet of industrial and retail space and big plans for more.

Andrew Woods, the director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said North Las Vegas’ growth strategy is paying off for the city.

“They certainly have turned the ship around since they are in a much stronger position,” Woods said. “You can drive out to North Las Vegas, and you’ll see lots of warehousing, lots of new businesses that didn’t exist five to 10 years ago.”

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UNLV research: fewer Californians moving to Las Vegas and Nevada

UNLV research shows a decline from the pandemic surge of Californians moving to Nevada.

FOX5 told you how UNLV researchers have been tracking migration trends for years, using the number of driver’s license surrenders as a metric to measure relocations.

From 2020 to 2021, record numbers of people moved from California to Nevada and Las Vegas. From 2022 to 2023, researchers noticed a decline and a further drop last year.

Professor Stephen Miller tells FOX5 that the trend is mainly tied to interest rates. Though housing is far more affordable in Las Vegas than Los Angeles, many people have either reconsidered their move or are holding off until interest rates drop once again.

“A lot of people have a low mortgage interest rate loan. So their monthly payment is pretty low. They couldn’t match that in the current market,” Miller said.

Researchers also found that fewer “work from home” opportunities limit the options for relocation. Cities such as Austin have also noticed a considerable decline.

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UNLV’s Dr. Stephen Miller Talks: Is the economy good or bad in Nevada? A look at cost of living, affordable housing

The pandemic hit Nevada hard, but it eventually eased and the state came back to life economically, just not as fast as the rest of the country.

Though our unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, it’s still around 5%, which economists have long said amounts to full employment.

What’s hurting is inflation combined with a very low rate of wage growth.

The state reported in December that Nevada’s average hourly rate ranked 44th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. And wage growth averaged just 1.3%, 49th in the country, and 16 states had wages with average wage growth above 5%.

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