Nev. population likely down first time since WWII |

Nev. population likely down first time since WWII

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Nevada’s population likely fell by about 1 percent between July 2008 and July 2009, the first time in more than a half century the number of residents has declined, the state demographer said Wednesday.

The number of Nevadans had grown every year since at least the 1930s, when reliable records first were kept, and the population perhaps has grown for more than a century, Jeff Hardcastle said.

But over the 12-month period that ended July 31, Nevada’s population dropped by an estimated 27,677 to a total of 2.71 million, he said.

That compares with a gain of 20,396 residents, or 0.8 percent, from July 2007 to July 2008, Hardcastle said. The population grew by 95,287 people, or 3.6 percent, from July 2006 to July 2007.

Carson City’s population fell 1.9 percent (1,094 people) to 56,506.

The U.S. Census Bureau uses different methods to reach its estimates. Last week, the agency predicted final numbers would show Nevada had grown by 1 percent from July 2008 to July 2009, a fraction of the yearly growth earlier in the decade.

“The important thing to keep in mind is that these are estimates, and with the 2010 Census being conducted in the spring, we will have a better sense of where we stand,” Hardcastle said a statement Wednesday. “So it is important that people respond to the Census and accurately report their information.”

The estimates are prepared for July of each year and used for a variety of purposes, including revenue distribution between the cities and towns.

The state’s estimates are based on an average of two independent estimates for the counties. One is based on housing units and the other on indicators of population change such as labor force and school enrollment. The two estimates are averaged together for the county total.

Only four Nevada counties recorded population gains from 2008 to 2009, Hardcastle’s numbers show. The largest gain was in Elko County, with a 1.5 percent boost (763 people) to a total of 50,561. The others were:

– Lander County, 1.9 percent, or 112 people, to 6,003.

– Mineral County, 1.7 percent, or 73 people, to 4,474.

– Eureka County, 0.6 percent, or nine people, to 1,562.

Nevada’s largest county, Clark, which encompasses Las Vegas, saw a decline of 0.8 percent (15,676 people) to a total of 1.95 million. Washoe County, encompassing Reno and Sparks, lost 1.8 percent of its residents (7,201 people) for a new total of 416,632, and Douglas County was down 1.4 percent (741 people) to 51,390.