Nevada

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Nevada

Nevada is a state in the Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. Nevada is the 7th-most extensive, the 32nd-most populous, and the 9th-least densely populated of the U.S. states. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada’s people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area, including three of the state’s four largest incorporated cities. Nevada’s capital is Carson City while the largest city is Las Vegas.

Etymology

The name “Nevada” comes from the Spanish adjective nevada [neˈβaða], meaning “snow-covered” or “snowy”. The state takes its name from the Nevada Territory, which in turn was named for the Sierra Nevada.

Nevadans pronounce the second syllable with the “a” of “apple” while some people from outside of the state pronounce it with the “a” of “palm”.Although the quality, but not the length, of the latter pronunciation could be perceived as closer to the Spanish pronunciation ([æ] is near-low front, [ɑ] is low back and [a] is low front, though often retracted to central [ä] in Spanish), it is not the pronunciation used by Nevadans. State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson proposed a bill to recognize the alternative pronunciation of Nevada, though the bill was not supported by most legislators and never received a vote. The Nevadan pronunciation is the one used by the state legislature. At one time, the state’s official tourism organization, TravelNevada, stylized the name of the state as “Nevăda”, with a breve over the a indicating the locally preferred pronunciation, which was also available as a license plate design until 2007.

Geography

Nevada is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province and is broken up by many north–south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them.

Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow. The state’s highest recorded temperature was 125 °F (52 °C) in Laughlin (elevation of 605 feet or 184 meters) on June 29, 1994. The coldest recorded temperature was −52 °F (−47 °C) set in San Jacinto in 1972, in the northeastern portion of the state.

The Humboldt River crosses the state from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee, and Carson rivers. All of these rivers are endorheic basins, ending in Walker Lake, Pyramid Lake, and the Carson Sink, respectively. However, not all of Nevada is within the Great Basin. Tributaries of the Snake River drain the far north, while the Colorado River, which also forms much of the boundary with Arizona, drains much of southern Nevada. The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 m), harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (910 m), while some in central Nevada are above 6,000 feet (1,800 m).

Climate

Nevada is the driest state in the United States. It is made up of mostly desert and semi-arid climate regions, and, with the exception of the Las Vegas Valley, the average summer diurnal temperature range approaches 40 °F (22 °C) in much of the state. While winters in northern Nevada are long and fairly cold, the winter season in the southern part of the state tends to be of short duration and mild. Most parts of Nevada receive scarce precipitation during the year. The most rain that falls in the state falls on the east and northeast slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

The average annual rainfall per year is about 7 inches (180 mm); the wettest parts get around 40 inches (1,000 mm). Nevada’s highest recorded temperature is 125 °F (52 °C) at Laughlin on June 29, 1994, and the lowest recorded temperature is −50 °F (−46 °C) at San Jacinto on January 8, 1937. Nevada’s 125 °F (52 °C) reading is the third highest statewide record high temperature of a U.S. state, just behind Arizona’s 128 °F (53 °C) reading and California’s 134 °F (57 °C) reading.

Counties

Nevada is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. Carson City is officially a consolidated municipality, meaning it legally functions as both a city and a county. As of 1919, there were 17 counties in the state, ranging from 146 to 18,159 square miles (380 to 47,030 km2).

Lake County, one of the original nine counties formed in 1861, was renamed Roop County in 1862. Part of the county became Lassen County, California, in 1864, resolving border uncertainty. In 1883, Washoe County annexed the portion that remained in Nevada.

Parks and Recreation Areas

The official language of Illinois is English, although between 1923 and 1969, state law gave official status to “the American language”. Nearly 80% of people in Illinois speak English natively, and most of the rest speak it fluently as a second language. A number of dialects of American English are spoken, ranging from Inland Northern American English and African-American English around Chicago, to Midland American English in Central Illinois, to Southern American English in the far south.

Over 20% of Illinoians speak a language other than English at home, of which Spanish is by far the most widespread, at more than 12% of the total population. A sizeable number of Polish speakers is present in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Illinois Country French has mostly gone extinct in Illinois, although it is still celebrated in the French Colonial Historic District.

Northern Nevada

• California National Historic Trail
• Humboldt National Forest
• Great Basin National Park
• Old Spanish National Historic Trail
• Pony Express National Historic Trail

Northern Nevada

• Ash Meadows National Wildlife Preserve • Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park
• Toiyabe National Forest
• Inyo National Forest
• Mount Charleston and the Mount Charleston Wilderness
• Spring Mountains and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
• Lake Mead National Recreation Area
• Death Valley National Park

Wilderness

There are 68 designated wilderness areas in Nevada, protecting some 6,579,014 acres (2,662,433 ha) under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.

State Parks

The Nevada state parks comprise protected areas managed by the state of Nevada, including state parks, state historic sites, and state recreation areas. There are 24 state park units, including Van Sickle Bi-State Park which opened in July 2011 and is operated in partnership with the state of California.

Demographics

Population

The United States Census Bureau determined Nevada had a population of 3,104,614 at the 2020 U.S. census. In 2021, the estimated population of Nevada was 3,143,991, an increase of 39,377 residents (1.27%) since the 2020 census. Nevada had the highest percentage growth in population from 2017 to 2018. At the 2020 census, 6.0% of the state's population were reported as under 5, 22.5% were under 18, and 16.1% were 65 or older.

Females made up about 49.8% of the population. Since the 2020 census, the population of Nevada had a natural increase of 2,374 (the net difference between 42,076 births and 39,702 deaths); and an increase due to net migration of 36,605 (of which 34,280 was due to domestic and 2,325 was due to international migration).

Religion

Church attendance in Nevada is among the lowest of all U.S. states. In a 2009 Gallup poll only 30% of Nevadans said they attended church weekly or almost weekly, compared to 42% of all Americans (only four states were found to have a lower attendance rate than Nevada’s). Major religious affiliations of the people of Nevada are: Protestant 35%, Irreligious 28%, Roman Catholic 25%, Latter-day Saints 4%, Jewish 2%, Hindu less than 1%, Buddhist 0.5% and Muslim less than 0.1%. Parts of Nevada (in the eastern parts of the state) are situated in the Mormon Corridor.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 451,070; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 175,149; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 45,535; Buddhist congregations 14,727; Baháʼí Faith 1,723; and Muslim 1,700. The Jewish community is represented by The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and Chabad. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6.2% of Nevadans are adherents, making it the sixth highest percentage stage in the Union.

Economy

The economy of Nevada is tied to tourism (especially entertainment and gambling related), mining, and cattle ranching. Nevada’s industrial outputs are tourism, entertainment, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates Nevada’s total state product in 2018 was $170 billion. The state’s per capita personal income in 2020 was $53,635, ranking 31st in the nation. Nevada’s state debt in 2012 was calculated to be $7.5 billion, or $3,100 per taxpayer. As of May 2021, the state’s unemployment rate was 7.8%.

Mining

In portions of the state outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas mining plays a major economic role. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral mined. In 2004, 6,800,000 ounces (190,000,000 g) of gold worth $2.84 billion were mined in Nevada, and the state accounted for 8.7% of world gold production. Silver is a distant second, with 10,300,000 ounces (290,000,000 g) worth $69 million mined in 2004. Other minerals mined in Nevada include construction aggregates, copper, gypsum, diatomite and lithium. Despite its rich deposits, the cost of mining in Nevada is generally high, and output is very sensitive to world commodity prices.

Cattle Ranching

Cattle ranching is a major economic activity in rural Nevada. Nevada's agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, alfalfa, dairy products, onions, and potatoes. As of January 1, 2006, there were an estimated 500,000 head of cattle and 70,000 head of sheep in Nevada. Most of these animals forage on rangeland in the summer, with supplemental feed in the winter. Calves are generally shipped to out-of-state feedlots in the fall to be fattened for the market. Over 90% of Nevada's 484,000 acres (196,000 ha) of cropland is used to grow hay, mostly alfalfa, for livestock feed. This livestock is usually used for food.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Amtrak's California Zephyr train uses the Union Pacific's original transcontinental railroad line in daily service from Chicago to Emeryville, California, serving Elko, Winnemucca, and Reno. Las Vegas has had no passenger train service since Amtrak's Desert Wind was discontinued in 1997. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches provide connecting service from Las Vegas to trains at Needles, California, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, California; and from Stateline, Nevada, to Sacramento, California. There have been a number of proposals to re-introduce service to either Los Angeles or Southern California. The Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and south of Nevada. Greyhound Lines provide some bus service to the state.

Interstate 15 (I-15) passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. I-215 and I-515 also serve the Las Vegas metropolitan area. I-80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, roughly following the path of the Humboldt River from Utah in the east and the Truckee River westward through Reno into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several U.S. highways: US 6, US 50, US 93, US 95 and US 395. There are also 189 Nevada state routes. Many of Nevada's counties have a system of county routes as well, though many are not signed or paved in rural areas. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that do not have a continuous interstate highway linking its two major population centers – the road connection between the Las Vegas and Reno areas is a combination of several different Interstate and U.S. highways. The Interstate 11 proposed routing may eventually remedy this.

Energy

Nevada has had a thriving solar energy sector. An independent study in 2013 concluded that solar users created a $36 million net benefit. However, in December 2015, the Public Utility Commission let the state's only power company, NV Energy, charge higher rates and fees to solar panel users, leading to an immediate collapse of rooftop solar panel use. In December 1987, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to designate Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository as the only site to be characterized as a permanent repository for all of the nation's highly radioactive waste.

Education

Education in Nevada is achieved through public and private elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges and universities. A May 2015 educational reform law expanded school choice options to 450,000 Nevada students who are at up to 185% of the federal poverty level. Education savings accounts (ESAs) are enabled by the new law to help pay the tuition for private schools. Alternatively, families “can use funds in these accounts to also pay for textbooks and tutoring”.

Approximately 86.9% of Nevada residents have attained at least a high school degree or equivalent, which is below the national average of 88.6%.

Culture

Entertainment and Tourism

Resort areas like Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Laughlin attract visitors from around the nation and world. In FY08 their 266 casinos (not counting ones with annual revenue under a million dollars) brought in $12 billion in gaming revenue and another $13 billion in non-gaming revenue. A review of gaming statistics can be found at Nevada gaming area.

Nevada has by far the most hotel rooms per capita in the United States. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, there were 187,301 rooms in 584 hotels (of 15 or more rooms). The state is ranked just below California, Texas, Florida, and New York in the total number of rooms, but those states have much larger populations. Nevada has one hotel room for every 14 residents, far above the national average of one hotel room per 67 residents.

Sports

The Las Vegas Valley is home to the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League who began to play in the 2017–18 NHL season at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, the Las Vegas Raiders of the National Football League who began play at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in 2020 after moving from Oakland, California, and the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA who began playing in 2018 at Mandalay Bay Events Center after relocating from San Antonio.

Nevada takes pride in college sports, most notably its college football. College teams in the state include the Nevada Wolf Pack (representing the University of Nevada, Reno) and the UNLV Rebels (representing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), both in the Mountain West Conference (MW).

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