Douglas County’s growth may slow |

Douglas County’s growth may slow

by Kurt Hildebrand
Nevada Appeal News Service

Douglas County is projected to be the slowest growing county in Nevada during the next two decades, according to the Nevada Demographer’s Office.

Douglas and Churchill are tied at a 32 percent increase in population by 2026, Demographer Jeff Hardcastle projected in a report released Monday.

Carson City is projected to grow 39 percent by 2026 and Storey and Washoe counties will grow by 48 percent.

Lyon County will be the leader in western Nevada growth, with a projected increase of 84 percent, which would bring its population to 89,916 people, more than any other area county besides Washoe.

Several rural Nevada counties are projected to lose population over the next two decades. The biggest loser will be Esmeralda County which will go from 1,276 people to 999 during the same period.

Nevada will likely continue to outpace the national growth rate,” Hardcastle said. “The Census Bureau’s Interim Projections show the United States growing by 19 percent between 2000 and 2020 and Nevada’s growth rate is projected at 74 percent for the same period. Within Nevada, change will be unevenly distributed.”

Hardcastle also said there are a number of factors that were not able to be included in the model, and those could impact how much Nevada continues to grow. These factors include affordable housing, the federal deficit, the trade deficit, a continued reliance on foreign oil and the peak production of oil and global climate change.

He said he didn’t incorporate any political reactions to growth such as Carson City’s growth cap or the proposed Douglas County growth cap.

Also increased housing costs did little to alter the model’s projection of the county’s growth, according to Hardcastle.

“The model was already picking up some of the housing increases,” he said.

More of a factor is the county’s aging population and a change in the way the data is reported since 2000. The smaller sample of data may skew the projection, somewhat.

“If I thought I was perfectly right, I would go out and bet some money,” he said.

Hardcastle said he altered the model’s inputs to show no change in the county’s hospitality segment, which may not be true.

According to the report, Carson City’s population in 2026 will be 79,133, while Douglas County’s population will hit 66,064.

Clark County, home to Las Vegas, the state’s largest city, will continue to grow at a substantial pace, increasing in population from 1.796 million to a projected 3.344 million, accounting for three-quarter’s of the state’s total population.

The projections are used in preparing the state’s budget and for other planning purposes. They were prepared using the Regional Economic Models Inc. model. This model relates a county’s population and economy to other counties in the model and the nation as a whole. A draft of the projections was sent to local governments and other interested parties for comment.