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Location within the U.S. state of Nevada
Nevada's location within the U.S.
|Founded||January 4, 1909 (founded)|
July 1, 1909 (organized)
|Named for||William A. Clark|
|Largest city||Las Vegas|
|o Total||8,061 sq mi (20,880 km2)|
|o Land||7,891 sq mi (20,440 km2)|
|o Water||169 sq mi (440 km2) 2.1%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||240/sq mi (93/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 3rd, 4th|
Clark County is located in the U.S. state of Nevada. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,951,269, with an estimated population of 2,231,647 in 2018. It is by far the most populous county in Nevada, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the state's residents - thus making Nevada one of the most centralized states in the United States.
Las Vegas, the state's most populous city, has been the county seat since its establishment. The county was formed by the Nevada Legislature by splitting off a portion of Lincoln County on February 5, 1909, and was organized on July 1, 1909. The Las Vegas Valley, a 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) basin, includes Las Vegas and other major cities and communities such as North Las Vegas, Henderson, and the unincorporated community of Paradise.
Originally part of the Mexican Territory of Alta California, the Clark County lands were first traversed by American beaver trappers. Word of their journeys inspired the New Mexican merchant Antonio Armijo in 1829 to establish the first route for mule trains and herds of livestock from Nuevo Mexico to Alta California through the area, along the Virgin and Colorado Rivers. Called the Armijo Route of the Old Spanish Trail, the route was later modified into the Main Route by the passing merchants, trappers, drovers, Ute raiders and settlers over the years by moving to a more direct route. In Clark County it was northward away from the Colorado to a series of creeks, waterholes and springs like those at Las Vegas, to which John C. Frémont added Frémont's Cutoff on his return from California to Utah in 1844.
What is now Clark County was acquired by the United States during the Mexican-American War, becoming part of the northwestern corner of New Mexico Territory. In 1847, Jefferson Hunt and other Mormon Battalion members returning to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles pioneered a wagon route through the County that became the Mormon Road. In 1849, this road became known as the "Southern Route", the winter route of the California Trail from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles during the California Gold Rush. By the mid 1850s the route now known as the Salt Lake Road in California and the California Road in Utah Territory, was a wagon trade route between the two. In the mid 1850s Mormons established a settlement at Las Vegas. In the 1860s Mormon colonies were established along the Virgin and Muddy Rivers.
All of the county was part of Mohave County, Arizona Territory, when that Territory was formed in 1863, before Nevada became a state. In 1865, it became part of Pah-Ute County, Arizona Territory. The part of Pah-Ute County north and west of the Colorado River was assigned to the new State of Nevada in 1866, however Arizona territory fought the division until 1871. Pah-Ute County became part of Lincoln County and the westernmost part, the southernmost part of Nye County.
Clark County was named for William A. Clark, a Montana copper magnate and Democratic U.S. Senator. Clark was largely responsible for construction of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad through the area, contributing to the region's early development. Clark County is a major tourist destination, with 150,000 hotel rooms. The Las Vegas Strip, home to most of the hotel-casinos known to many around the world, is not within the City of Las Vegas city limits, but in unincorporated Paradise. It is, however, in the Las Vegas Valley.
Clark County is coextensive with the Las Vegas MSA, a metropolitan statistical area designated by the Office of Management and Budget and used by the United States Census Bureau and other agencies for statistical purposes.
The Colorado River forms the county's southeastern boundary, with Hoover Dam forming Lake Mead along much of its length. The lowest point in the state of Nevada is on the Colorado River just south of Laughlin in Clark County, where it flows out of Nevada into California and Arizona. Greater Las Vegas is a tectonic valley, surrounded by four mountain ranges, with nearby Mount Charleston being the highest elevation at 11,918 ft (3,633 m), located to the northwest. Other than the forests on Mount Charleston, the geography in Clark County is a desert. Creosote bushes are the main native vegetation, and the mountains are mostly rocky with little vegetation. The terrain slopes to the south and east. The county has an area of 8,061 square miles (20,880 km2), of which 7,891 square miles (20,440 km2) is land and 169 square miles (440 km2) (2.1%) is water.
20 official wilderness areas in Clark County are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Many of these are in, or partially in, one of the preceding protected areas, as shown below. Many are separate entities that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):
Clark County has a diverse desert flora and fauna, including higher elevation mountain areas, the desert floor and the Colorado River/Lake Mead ecosystems. Variations in diurnal temperature as well as seasonal swings in temperature create demanding adaptation elements on the species of this county. Population expansion, especially since 1970, has placed additional pressure on species in the area.
Correspondingly air quality levels prior to the 1960s were in a favorable range, but the proliferation of automobiles with the human population expansion created circumstances where some Federal Air Quality Standards began to be violated in the 1980s.
To plan for the wave of development forecast by 1980, Clark County embarked on a regional Environmental Impact Assessment funded by a Federal Section 208 program, with Sedway Cooke conducting the planning work and Earth Metrics performing environmental analysis. This endeavor projected population growth, land use changes and environmental impacts.
To prevent the loss of federal funds due to unacceptable dust levels in the Las Vegas valley, in 2003 the Nevada Air Quality Management division (under direction of Clark County officials) created the massive "Don't Be a Dusthole" campaign. The campaign successfully raised awareness of dust pollution in the Las Vegas valley, quantifiably reducing pollutants and preserving ongoing federal funding.
Nevada is the third most seismically active state in the U.S. (after Alaska and California); the United States Geological Survey has estimated that over the next 50 years, Clark County has a 10-20% chance of a M6.0 or greater earthquake occurring within 50 km (31 mi) of Las Vegas.
In 2000 there were 512,253 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.70% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.70% were non-families. 24.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.70% had someone living alone who was above age 64. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.17.
The county population contained 25.60% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 32.20% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 10.70% who were over age 64. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 103.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $53,536, and the median income for a family was $59,485. Males had a median income of $35,243 versus $27,077 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,785. About 7.90% of families and 10.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.10% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those over age 64.
Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,951,269 people, 715,365 households, and 467,916 families in the county. The population density was 247.3 inhabitants per square mile (95.5/km2). There were 840,343 housing units at an average density of 106.5 per square mile (41.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 60.9% white, 10.5% black or African American, 8.7% Asian, 0.7% Pacific islander, 0.7% American Indian, 13.5% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 29.1% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 11.7% were German, 9.1% were Irish, 7.6% were English, 6.3% were Italian, and 2.7% were American.
Of the 715,365 households, 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.6% were non-families, and 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.26. The median age was 35.5 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $56,258 and the median income for a family was $63,888. Males had a median income of $43,693 versus $35,324 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,422. About 8.7% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.9% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.
The county is home to many gaming related companies. Station Casinos is headquartered in unincorporated Clark County, along withGolden Entertainment, American Casino & Entertainment Properties, Bally Technologies, Cannery Casino Resorts, The Majestic Star Casino, LLC, Ameristar Casinos, Archon Corporation, Boyd Gaming, Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, DBT Online Inc., Gambler's Book Shop / GBC Press, Millennium Management Group, Navegante Group, Pinnacle Entertainment and Tropicana Entertainment
According to data collected by the Research and Analysis Bureau of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Clark County's largest employers, both public and private employers, as reported in the fourth quarter of 2012:
30,000 to 39,999 Employees
5,000 to 10,000 Employees
2,500 to 4,999
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority posts the historical numbers of visitors and hotel rooms in Clark County. The era of massive modern casino resorts began with the opening of the Mirage in November 1989.
The Clark County Commission consists of seven members who are elected to serve staggered four-year terms in biannual partisan elections. The commission members elect a chairman, who chairs their meetings. A hired county manager handles day-to-day operations under direction of the commission. The county's unincorporated towns also have appointed boards that provide advice to the commission.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department provides most law enforcement services in the county, including operation of the county's central jail, the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC). The present department was created in 1973 when the Clark County Sheriff's Department merged with the Las Vegas Police Department.
Other entities with police forces include University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Clark County School District, and cities such as Henderson, Mesquite, Boulder City and North Las Vegas. The Clark County Park Police is responsible for all of the parks operated by the county and some selected special venues, such as the Clark County Amphitheater, Clark County Archery Range, and the Desert Rose Golf Course.
The Regional Justice Center replaced the Clark County Courthouse in 2005, and is about 3 blocks from downtown Fremont Street, at 200 Lewis Avenue.
With nearly three-quarters of Nevada's population, Clark County plays a significant role in determining statewide Nevada elections as well the winner of the state's electoral votes in presidential elections. At the presidential level, the county has had a strong Democratic lean to it throughout its history, similar to many urban counties nationwide. Republican presidential candidates have only won the county six times from 1912 to the present day, all coming in national landslides where the Republican won over 400 electoral votes The most recent of these wins was George H.W. Bush in 1988. At the statewide level however, the county is more of a swing county, with several Republican gubernatorial candidates & US Senators winning the county since then. The last Republican senator to win the county was John Ensign in his 2006 victory, even as Jim Gibbons lost it in his gubernatorial win over Dina Titus that year. Both Kenny Guinn & Brian Sandoval carried the county in both gubernatorial terms they won, however.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada operates the RTC Transit system, and does planning for most major roadways.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority is a multi-agency group that manages the water distribution for the Las Vegas Valley.
The Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee manages and protects the Las Vegas Wash.
Since 1999 the group has added more the 15,000 plants to stabilize the wash's banks and restore and expand the wetlands surrounding the wash. As part of the effort to restore the wash to a more natural state, they have removed more than 500,000 pounds (230,000 kg) of trash.
The Grant Sawyer State Office Building, which houses many branches of state government, is within the City of Las Vegas.
The Nevada Department of Corrections operates three prisons within Clark County. High Desert State Prison, a medium-maximum prison, and the Southern Desert Correctional Center, a medium security prison, are both near Indian Springs, Nevada.
The Florence McClure Women's Correctional Center, originally called Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility, opened in North Las Vegas on September 1, 1997. It was built and operated by Corrections Corporation of America. On October 1, 2004, the Department of Corrections took direct control of the facility. It houses the female death row.
The Clark County School District serves all of Clark County with 228 elementary schools, 59 middle schools, and 54 high schools being the fifth largest in the country. Student enrollment in 2014 was 324,093.
Bracketed number refers to location on map, right
"Probability of an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or greater occurring within 50 km in 50 years (from USGS probabilistic seismic hazard analysis) 10-20% chance for Las Vegas area, magnitude 6" (p. 65)