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August 20, 2014

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Census data reveal higher numbers of Hispanics, Asian-Americans

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Steve Marcus

The latest 2010 Census data provides a more detailed look at Nevada’s population and housing trends. The percentage of vacant housing units in the valley rose to 14.9 percent from 8.5 percent in 2000.

The gender gap in Nevada is narrowing, the population of Asian-Americans is catching up to that of blacks among valley residents and a shrinking percentage of owner-occupied dwellings are headed by young people, reflecting the hit they took in the recession.

Those are among the trends revealed in the latest 2010 Census data, released Wednesday night. An initial batch of Census numbers, released in the spring, highlighted the rapid Hispanic population growth in Nevada over the previous decade and the need for a fourth congressional district. The latest data include far greater detail on race, gender and age distribution, households and families.

The newest numbers show the most densely populated ZIP code in the state is 89101, an area with 8,604 residents per square mile that encompasses downtown Las Vegas and is bordered by Main Street to the west, Charleston Boulevard to the south, Pecos Road to the east and Owens Avenue to the north. That area is 60 percent Hispanic, representing the highest concentration of Hispanics in the valley.

“The older areas tend to have smaller lot sizes and they’re more dense,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal partner of economic analysis firm Applied Analysis in Las Vegas. “We’re seeing more households doubling up with two families, sometimes more, and that’s happening more in Hispanic communities than elsewhere.”

The highest concentration of housing in the valley is found in ZIP code 89103, with 4,100 units per square mile. The area is bordered by Rainbow Boulevard to the west, Tropicana Avenue to the south, Interstate 15 to the east and Spring Mountain Road to the north.

Of the valley’s three cities, Las Vegas still has by far the most people and the greatest population density. Las Vegas, with 4,298 people per square mile, is twice as dense as North Las Vegas and has nearly double Henderson’s density.

“Las Vegas is landlocked and it’s built out,” Aguero said. “North Las Vegas has a substantial amount of vacant land still to be developed, and so does Henderson.”

The Census counted 1.95 million people in Clark County, which includes 583,756 people living within the boundaries of Las Vegas, 257,729 in Henderson and 216,961 in North Las Vegas. Nevada’s population: 2.7 million.

Race

One of the biggest Census stories has been the growth of the Hispanic population in Clark County, making up 29.1 percent, or 568,644 people, in 2010. A decade ago, Hispanics accounted for 22 percent of the population, or 302,143 residents.

Among the ethnic subsets, people who were either born in Mexico or claim it as their heritage make up 74.5 percent of the county’s Hispanic population versus 71.6 percent a decade ago.

“Most of these people migrated from California, which has more than 7 million descendants from Mexico,” said Miguel Narvaez, president of Hispanic Alliance, a Las Vegas education and advocacy organization. “They came looking for better opportunities in construction and manufacturing. A lot of large construction companies that were building hotels were bringing in people from California because there weren’t enough people here to complete the jobs.”

But the most dramatic increase among Hispanics involves Salvadorans, who surpassed Cubans and Puerto Ricans as the second most populous group of Hispanics in the county. There were 24,542 Salvadorans in the county last year, more than triple the number in 2000. Narvaez said this had to do with the relative ease Salvadorans have experienced in obtaining work visas.

State demographer Jeff Hardcastle also said that when a group “settles in another area and has enjoyed a level of success, that starts helping the word get back home,” prompting friends and relatives to join them.

There is a substantial drop-off of Hispanics in many of Nevada’s rural counties, most notably in Storey County, where less than 6 percent of the residents are Hispanic.

Blacks make up 10.5 percent of the county, up from 9.1 percent in 2000. Asian-Americans make up 8.7 percent of the population, up from 5.3 percent a decade ago. (More than half of that growth represented Filipinos.)

“This is one of the most important trends in the community and one of the most overlooked,” Aguero said of Asian-American growth. “We have more Asian-oriented businesses than ever.”

Among individuals who belong to a single American Indian tribe, Navajos place first with 1,428 members, and Cherokees came in second with 946. A decade ago, Cherokees outnumbered Navajos.

The 89134 ZIP code that encompasses Sun City Summerlin has a population that is 85.3 percent white, the greatest concentration in the valley. The highest percentage of blacks, 39.9 percent, is in the 89106 ZIP code bordered by Rancho Drive to the west, Charleston Boulevard to the south, Main Street to the east and portions of Lake Mead Boulevard and Carey Avenue to the north. The greatest concentration of Asian-Americans, 26.7 percent, is in the 89139 ZIP code immediately southwest of I-15 and the Las Vegas Beltway.

Gender and age

The gender gap in Nevada has narrowed. Instead of 104 males for every 100 females, as was the case in 2000, the margin in 2010 was 102 males per 100 females. But then there’s Pershing County, where there are nearly 172 males for every 100 females.

Hardcastle said Nevada traditionally has had more men than women because of the mining and construction industries. But as the population ages, the gender gap narrows.

“Women tend to outlive men,” he said.

And in Nevada, they are older, with a median age of 36.9 compared with 35.8 for males.

Two hundred three Nevadans have reached the century mark in age, 156 of whom are women. But the two oldest residents in Nevada are men, each at least 110 years old.

Esmeralda is the only county in the state where more than one-quarter of its residents are at least 65. In Clark County, where the median age is 39, seniors make up 11.3 percent of the population.

The greatest concentration of children in the county can be found in Bunkerville and Moapa Valley, but in the Las Vegas Valley that distinction goes to the 89030 ZIP code, where 35.4 percent of its residents are under 18. The area is bordered by Pecos Road to the east, Craig Road to the north, portions of 5th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard to the west, and portions of Owens Avenue and Lake Mead Boulevard to the south.

Households and families

No surprise here: 715,365 housing units were occupied in the county last year compared with 512,253 in 2000. But because of the recession, the percentage of vacant housing units in the valley rose to 14.9 percent from 8.5 percent in 2000. There was also a slight drop in housing units that were occupied by the owner, from 59.1 percent to 57.1 percent.

Of the county’s households, 31 percent included children in 2010, a figure exceeded in Nevada only by Elko, Lander and Humboldt counties. Clark County also had the state’s highest percentage of households, 13.5 percent, headed by females with no husband present.

Of the slightly more than 1 million households statewide, 462,509 last year were considered husband-wife households, and 87,079 were unmarried partner households, including 4,724 male couples and 4,597 female couples.

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