Nevada starts 2016 with a solid tailwind regarding population growth, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates and related analysis.
A bureau release in December based on growth from mid-2014 to mid-2015 showed the Silver State was 12th in raw total growth during that period and third among states in percentage growth during that period, and a Wall Street Journal article apparently based on the same bureau figures determined the state was third best among states in net migration per thousand.
The migration into the state isn’t all based on job opportunities, but neither does it all stem from retirees, according to interviews with two Nevada sources.
“The last 12 months, Nevada’s No. 9 in the country,” said Elliot Parker, University of Nevada, Reno economics professor, speaking of employment. He said he would suspect the migration also has to do with retirees coming to Nevada.
Jeff Hardcastle, state demographer, confirmed Parker’s expectation by saying a growing number of people who are coming of late move here beyond middle age.
“We’re seeing more migrants coming in who are over age 55,” he said.
But both Hardcastle and Parker indicated some population gains may stem from economic recovery and word getting out Nevada has job opportunities now or will soon.
Parker, for example, said he has heard talk some are coming in anticipation of job growth from the Tesla Motors/Panasonic partnership in Northern Nevada and other companies expanding into the state or growing here.
Hardcastle, meanwhile, based his remarks on analysis of the Tuesday Census Bureau release and accompanying spread sheets. He said the state was 12th in raw population growth, with 52,564 new residents from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. He said of that number, 26 percent or 13,691 came from natural growth, or births over deaths, while the other 74 percent was attributed to in-migration over out-migration.
Of the 38,873 additional state residents from migration, Hardcastle indicated, up to 25 percent could be from other countries while the rest came from other states. He said, however, some analysts say there may be questions whether international estimates of migration may be too high.
Migration to Nevada clearly was strong, whatever the source, based on The Wall Street Journal story’s breakout of the 13 per thousand residents influx during the period of mid-2014 to mid-2015. The number ranked third behind Florida’s 16.5 per thousand and North Dakota’s 15.7 per thousand. Colorado was fourth with 12.5 per thousand.
Hardcastle said the 13 per thousand figure for Nevada compared with 11.5 per thousand coming to the Silver State the previous year.
The Census Bureau’s 10 fastest-growing states in percentage terms during the mid-2014 to mid-2015 period, Hardcastle said, included Nevada as fourth behind North Dakota, Colorado and the District of Columbia, which made it third among states. He said in part the state’s percentage was because the growth builds from a low base of about 2.5 million residents here. Nevada grew 1.85 percent, just a tad more than Florida’s 1.84 percent.
North Dakota’s percentage growth rate was tops at 2.28, followed by Colorado with 1.89 percent, and the D.C. rate of 1.88 percent.
In terms of raw numbers and growth, North Carolina was singled out in the Census Bureau’s Tuesday release because it became the ninth state to cross the 10 million population mark.
The bureau said North Carolina grew by 281 people per day from mid-2014 to mid-2015, which meant it’s overall population growth for that period ranked behind only Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and the state of Washington. Florida, during the same period, passed 20 million in population, making it the third state to reach that milestone. That Florida boost of 365,703 in population captured The Wall Street Journal’s attention, which in its population migration article pondered the impact on the current presidential race with two Republican hopefuls from that state. They are Sen. Mark Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.