Las Vegas, often known simply as Vegas, is the 26th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The Las Vegas Valley as a whole serves as the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada.
The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino-hotels and associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world's most visited tourist destinations. The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of "Sin City", and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for literature, films, television programs, and music videos.
Las Vegas was settled in 1905 and officially incorporated in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, it was the most populated American city founded within that century (a similar distinction was earned by Chicago in the 19th century). Population growth has accelerated since the 1960s, and between 1990 and 2000 the population nearly doubled, increasing by 85.2%. Rapid growth has continued into the 21st century, and according to the United States Census Bureau, the city had 641,903 residents in 2020, with a metropolitan population of 2,227,053.
As with most major metropolitan areas, the name of the primary city ("Las Vegas" in this case) is often used to describe areas beyond official city limits. In the case of Las Vegas, this especially applies to the areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip, which are actually located within the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester.
The Las Vegas Valley is a major metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada, and the second largest in the Southwestern United States. The state's largest urban agglomeration, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Statistical Area is coextensive since 2003 with Clark County, Nevada. The Valley is largely defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) basin area surrounded by mountains to the north, south, east and west of the metropolitan area. The Valley is home to the three largest incorporated cities in Nevada: Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. Eleven unincorporated towns governed by the Clark County government are part of the Las Vegas Township and constitute the largest community in the state of Nevada.
The names Las Vegas and Vegas are interchangeably used to indicate the Valley, the Strip, and the city, and as a brand by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to denominate the region. The Valley is affectionately known as the "ninth island" by Hawaii natives and Las Vegans alike, in part due to the large number of people originally from Hawaii who live in and regularly travel to Las Vegas.
Since the 1990s the Las Vegas Valley has seen rapid growth, tripling its population of 741,459 in 1990 to 2,227,053 estimated in 2018. The Las Vegas Valley remains one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, and in its relatively short history has established a diverse presence in international business, commerce, urban development and entertainment, as well as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. In 2014, a record-breaking 41 million visited the Las Vegas area, producing a gross metropolitan product of more than $100 billion.
Hispanic or Latino of any race: 33.1%
White (non-Hispanic): 43.5%
Black (non-Hispanic): 12.2%
The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic Whites, have proportionally declined from 72.1% of the population in 1990 to 43.5% in 2020, even as total numbers of all ethnicities have increased with the population. Hispanics or Latinos of any race make up 33.1% of the population. Of those 24.0% are of Mexican, 1.4% of Salvadoran, 0.9% of Puerto Rican, 0.9% of Cuban, 0.6% of Guatemalan, 0.2% of Peruvian, 0.2% of Colombian, 0.2% of Honduran and 0.2% of Nicaraguan descent.
Hawaiians and Las Vegans alike sometimes refer to Las Vegas as the "ninth island of Hawaii" because so many Hawaiians have moved to the city.
The 2020 census showed the city contained 651,319 people, 190,862 households, and 117,538 families residing. As of 2006, there were 176,750 households, of which 31.9% had children under age 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the city, the population age distribution was as follows:
25.9% under the age of 18
8.8% from 18 to 24
32.0% from 25 to 44
21.7% from 45 to 64
11.6% who were 65 years of age or older
The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females, there are 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 102.5 males.
According to a 2004 study, Las Vegas has one of the highest divorce rates. The city's high divorce rate is not wholly due to Las Vegans themselves getting divorced. Since divorce is easier in Nevada than in most other states, many people come from across the country for the easier process. Similarly, Nevada marriages are notoriously easy to get. Las Vegas has one of the highest marriage rates of U.S. cities, with many licenses issued to people from outside the area.
HOUSING UNITS: 190,862
OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING UNIT RATE: 52.7%
MEDIAN VALUE OF HOUSING UNIT: $334,000
MEDIAN GROSS RENT: $1,102
Las Vegas has seen the job market increase by 3.5% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 39.0%, which is higher than the US average of 33.5%.
Tax Rates for Las Vegas
The Sales Tax Rate for Las Vegas is 8.3%. The US average is 7.3%.
The Income Tax Rate for Las Vegas is 0.0%. The US average is 4.6%.
Tax Rates can have big impact when Comparing Cost of Living.
Income and Salaries for Las Vegas
The average income of a Las Vegas resident is $25,555 a year. The US average is $28,555 a year.
The Median household income of a Las Vegas resident is $50,903 a year. The US average is $53,482 a year.
The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy are tourism, gaming, and conventions, which in turn feed the retail and restaurant industries.
The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos and the hotels, although in recent years other new attractions have begun to emerge.
Most casinos in the downtown area are located on Fremont Street, with The STRAT Hotel, Casino & Skypod as one of the few exceptions. Fremont East, adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience, was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the goal being to attract a different demographic than the Strip attracts.
The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, is the oldest continuously operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas; it opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada.
The year 1931 marked the opening of the Northern Club (now the La Bayou). The most notable of the early casinos may have been Binion's Horseshoe (now Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel) while it was run by Benny Binion.
Boyd Gaming has a major presence downtown operating the California Hotel & Casino, the Fremont Hotel & Casino, and the Main Street Casino. The Four Queens also operates downtown along the Fremont Street Experience.
Downtown casinos that have undergone major renovations and revitalization in recent years include the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, The D Las Vegas (formerly Fitzgerald's), the Downtown Grand Las Vegas (formerly Lady Luck), the El Cortez Hotel & Casino, and the Plaza Hotel & Casino.
Las Vegas Strip
The center of the gambling and entertainment industry is located on the Las Vegas Strip, outside the city limits in the surrounding unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester in Clark County. The largest and most notable casinos and buildings are located there.
When The Mirage opened in 1989, it started a trend of major resort development on the Las Vegas Strip outside of the city. This resulted in a drop in tourism in the downtown area, but many recent projects have increased the number of visitors to downtown.
An effort has been made by city officials to diversify the economy by attracting health-related, high-tech and other commercial interests. No state tax for individuals or corporations, as well as a lack of other forms of business-related taxes, have aided the success of these efforts.
The Fremont Street Experience was built in an effort to draw tourists back to the area and has been popular since its startup in 1995.
The city purchased 61 acres (25 ha) of property from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1995 with the goal of creating a better draw for more people to the downtown area. In 2004, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced plans for Symphony Park, which could include a mixture of offerings, such as residential space and office buildings.
Already operating in Symphony Park is the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (opened in 2010), The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (opened in 2012) and the DISCOVERY Children's Museum (opened in 2013).
On land across from Symphony Park, the World Market Center Las Vegas opened in 2005. It currently encompasses three large buildings with a total of 5.1 million square feet. Trade shows for the furniture and furnishing industries are held there semiannually.
Also located nearby is the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets. With a second expansion, completed in May 2015, the mall currently offers 175 stores.
City offices moved to a new Las Vegas City Hall in February 2013 on downtown's Main Street. The former City Hall building is now occupied by the corporate headquarters for the major online retailer, Zappos.com, which opened downtown in 2013. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has taken an interest in the urban area and has contributed $350 million toward a revitalization effort called the Downtown Project. Projects funded include Las Vegas's first independent bookstore, The Writer's Block.
A number of new industries have moved to Las Vegas in recent decades. Online shoe retailer Zappos.com (now an Amazon subsidiary) was founded in San Francisco but by 2013 had moved its headquarters to downtown Las Vegas. Allegiant Air, a low-cost air carrier, launched in 1997 with its first hub at McCarran International Airport and headquarters in nearby Summerlin.
Planet 13 Holdings, a cannabis company, have opened the world's largest cannabis dispensary in Las Vegas at 112,000 sq ft (10,400 m2).
Impact of growth on water supply
A growing population means the Las Vegas Valley used 1.2 billion US gallons (4.5×109 l) more water in 2014 than in 2011. Although water conservation efforts implemented in the wake of a 2002 drought have had some success, local water consumption remains 30 percent more than in Los Angeles, and over three times that of San Francisco metropolitan area residents. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is building a $1.4 billion tunnel and pumping station to bring water from Lake Mead, has purchased water rights throughout Nevada, and has planned a controversial $3.2 billion pipeline across half the state. By law, the Las Vegas Water Service District "may deny any request for a water commitment or request for a water connection if the District has an inadequate supply of water." However, limiting growth on the basis of an inadequate water supply has been unpopular with the casino and building industries.