Las Vegas , officially the City of Las Vegas and often known simply as Vegas, is the 28th-most populated city in the United States, the most populated 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, city, seat of Clark county, southeastern Nevada, U.S. The only major city in the American West to have been founded in the 20th century, Las Vegas grew from a tiny, desert-bound railroad service centre at the outset of the 20th century to the country’s fastest-growing metropolis at century’s end. This transformation—made possible by a combination of shrewd entrepreneurship, access to water, an extensive transportation network, and permissive state laws—has created the city now often known simply as «Vegas,» a place of vast casinos, elaborate hotels, and spectacular entertainment venues that attracts masses of visitors from throughout the world.
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.
At the close of the 20th century, it was the most populated American city founded within that 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 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had 648,224 residents in 2018, with a metropolitan population of 2,227,053.As with most major metropolitan areas, the name of the primary city is often used to describe areas beyond official city limits.
Data and Facts
- The oldest hotel in Las Vegas is the Golden Gate Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas, which opened in 1906
- 15 of the world’s top 25 hotels are located in Las Vegas and the Vegas hotels offer a combined total of rooms over 130,000
- The first casino in Las Vegas received its gambling license in 1931
- The 6.8 km stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is referred to as The Strip, but in fact, it isn’t located in Las Vegas, it's technically located in in Paradise, Nevada
- The Bellagio chocolate fountain is certified by Guinness World Records as the largest chocolate fountain in the world, at over 27 feet tall
- In 2018, Nevada's gaming revenue was $11.9 billion dollars43 percent of Nevada's general fund is fed by gaming revenue
- The Las Vegas Strip is the brightest place on Earth when looked at from outer space
Las Vegas operates on a council-manager system. The city manager is responsible for the daily operations of government and administration. The city council comprises seven members, including six members elected by ward as well as the mayor, who presides over the council. All serve four-year terms. The Mayor sits as a Council member-at-large and presides over all of the City council meetings. In the event that the Mayor cannot preside over a City Council meeting, the Mayor Pro-Tem is the presiding officer of the meeting until such time as the Mayor returns to his/her seat. The City Manager is responsible for the administration and the day-to-day operations of all municipal services and city departments. The City Manager maintains intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, county and other local governments.
Approximately 700,000 people live in unincorporated areas governed by Clark County, and another 465,000 live in incorporated cities such as North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City. Las Vegas and Clark County share a police department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which was formed after a 1973 merger of the Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff's Department. North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and some colleges have their own police departments. A Paiute Indian reservation occupies about 1 acre in the downtown area.
Agriculture formed the basis of the Las Vegas economy from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. The city’s outlying areas continued to depend on farming and ranching until the 1980s, when the rising cost of obtaining subsurface and river water for fields and pastures caused many to abandon their operations. Whereas agriculture had accounted for the vast majority of water use in the area, the city’s municipal needs began to grow with an increase in population. Since the 1990s, Las Vegas has had one of the fastest-growing employment bases in the country, benefiting from a large labour pool and from a favourable business climate. These conditions enabled city promoters to entice businesses of all kinds to choose Las Vegas over California.Mining constitutes the mainstay of the region’s industrial sector; minerals extracted from the several facilities in the area include silver, gold, lead, and molybdenum. Manufacturing has grown in importance, with most of the plants concentrated in the communities of Henderson and North Las Vegas. Construction has long been a significant component of the economy, serving the rapidly growing population.Although Las Vegas claims to have a diversified economy, the service sector unquestionably is dominant. In addition, trade shows and conventions account for an ever-growing portion of tourism revenues. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest such facilities in the country.Some two-thirds of all jobs in the region are service-related. The largest concentrations are in the numerous hotels, casinos, and other tourist-related enterprises, where wages typically are low. Nonetheless, labour is well-organized, and union membership is high. Government-related employment is also important; Nellis Air Force Base, adjacent to North Las Vegas, is the metropolitan area’s single largest employer. In addition, wholesale and retail trade and financial services are all significant components of the regional economy.
The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy are tourism, gaming and conventions, which in turn feed the retail and restaurant industries.
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 .
The most notable of the early casinos may have been Binion's Horseshoe 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 , the Downtown Grand Las Vegas , the El Cortez Hotel & Casino and the Plaza Hotel & Casino.
It’s no secret that the Las Vegas commercial real estate market has experienced turmoil in some sectors in the past few years, but that doesn’t mean it’s finished. Fortunately–and despite what most people think–the Las Vegas economy isn’t all about gambling. Politicians, lenders and civic leaders are on the march to reshape the economic landscape by drawing manufacturing interests, non-gambling industry companies and a host of other commercial innovators like movie theater and shopping center developers to the area which means a lot of investment opportunities are opening up.
Most indicators show that the commercial real estate market has bottomed out in Las Vegas, and you can find properties at a fraction of what they were just a few years ago. Distressed properties are being assigned for disposition which can make for a relatively quick turnaround on investment. For those with longer term financial goals, there are numerous office buildings, shopping centers and other retail spaces available for acquisition. All investors know that the Las Vegas residential home buyer market has taken the biggest hit in value in recent years, with many homes now in foreclosure or underwater. This situation arose because Las Vegas, like any boom town, has wildly fluctuating demographics, attracting more than its fair share of daring individualists looking to fulfill their dreams and move on. During the bubble, lax lending practices made buying irresistible for that group, even though they probably weren’t «buying types» in the traditional sense. But just because buying is more difficult, doesn’t mean that the people have stopped coming! True, lending now comes with more strings attached, but those people who were buying will now be renting, which means that residential rental properties are going to be the biggest investment opportunity for the foreseeable future. And now is the time to get in on the ground floor.
number of new industries have moved to Las Vegas in recent decades. Online shoe retailer Zappos.com 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 square feet.
A growing population means the Las Vegas Valley used 1.2 billion gallons 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.
Until the early 20th century, Las Vegas was isolated from other population centres and was connected to Los Angeles and Salt Lake City by only a wagon route that required weeks to traverse. That changed in 1904, when a line from the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad to Las Vegas was completed. Today Las Vegas is a regional hub for the Union Pacific Railroad and is served by Amtrak.
The city’s network of county, state, and federal roads is inadequate to meet the transportation needs of the growing population, and Las Vegas Boulevard, portions of the interstate highway, and other arterial roads are often crowded. The city has undertaken a large-scale program of road improvements, the centrepiece of which is the Bruce Woodbury Beltway, constructed as a joint venture with other municipalities in the metropolitan area. The basic road was completed in 2003, and work has continued on converting its entire 53 miles into a limited-access highway. The city maintains an extensive bus system, and a privately built and operated monorail connects many casinos and other attractions on the Strip.
McCarran International Airport is among the fastest-growing airports in the country. The Southern Nevada Foreign Trade Zone—a free-trade zone that includes the airport and allows a variety of goods to be imported duty-free or with reduced excise taxes—has increased the region’s attractiveness to international business interests.
RTC Transit is a public transportation system providing bus service throughout Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and other areas of the valley. About 2.3 percent of Las Vegas commuters used all other forms of transportation, including taxi, bicycle, and motorcycle. About 4.3 of working Las Vegas residents worked at home.
In 2015, 10.2 percent of city of Las Vegas households were without a car, which increased slightly to 10.5 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Las Vegas averaged 1.63 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8 per household.
With some exceptions, including Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway and Rancho Drive , the majority of surface streets in Las Vegas are laid out in a grid along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways.
Interstates 15, 515, and US 95 lead out of the city in four directions. Two major freeways – Interstate 15 and Interstate 515/U.S. Route 95 – cross in downtown Las Vegas. US 95 heads south from US 93 near Henderson through far eastern California. A partial beltway has been built, consisting of Interstate 215 on the south and Clark County 215 on the west and north. Other radial routes include Blue Diamond Road to Pahrump and Lake Mead Boulevard to Lake Mead.
Responsibility for providing a range of services to the citizenry is shared by the city, the board of supervisors for Clark county, and the governments of nearby municipalities. Las Vegas maintains an airport and road authority, a municipal court system, police and fire departments, waste-management operations, water treatment and delivery facilities, public parks, and public libraries. The city’s municipal park system expanded rapidly in the late 1990s to include such new facilities as Children’s Memorial Park, northwest of downtown, and Heritage Park, which adjoins the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.
The most important component of the region’s infrastructure is its water supply, and water availability is the largest single variable affecting Las Vegas’s sustainability and future growth. Groundwater long constituted the water supply when agriculture accounted for most regional water use. However, urban water demand rose dramatically with the rapid and sustained growth of Las Vegas after 1950, and planners turned to the vast resources of Lake Mead to provide the additional water. The massive Southern Nevada Water Project, funded jointly by the federal and state governments and built between 1968 and the early 1980s , is a complex of distribution and treatment facilities that draws from Lake Mead and now supplies the bulk of regional water needs.
Today, the city known for state-of-the-art fun, is also regarded world-wide as one of the best places to test and develop technologies around autonomous vehicles. Its innovative and abundant start-ups are crafting new ideas for the next big thing with particular focus on transportation and the region’s primary economic driver – the tech-based gaming industry.
When Zappos.com moved its headquarters to downtown Las Vegas in 2013, the e-commerce giant with more than 1500 employees and annual sales of more than $2 billion, helped to spawn new development in the area, attracting several small to mid-size tech companies and start-ups.
Las Vegas is an international stage for innovation and technology as the host city of two massive trade shows annually: Consumer Electronics Show and Specialty Equipment Market Association . Building on the strong tech foundation provided by Switch, a global technology solutions corporation that operates the world’s only Tier 5-rated colocation facility at its core campus in Southern Nevada, the city of Las Vegas established in 2016 an Innovation District.
The Innovation District is envisioned as a center for testing groundbreaking technology in the areas of alternative energy, transportation and social infrastructure. It is also a proving ground for collaborative efforts between the city and its new technology partners in the areas of fiber, transit, communication and the Internet of Things.
Autonomous Vehicle Licensing– Nevada was the first state in the country to pass legislation legalizing autonomous testing
State of the Art Regional Traffic Signal System – The Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is one of the first integrated intelligent transportation systems in the country. This system can support data exchange for testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.
Development of Robust Downtown Wireless Network - The city of Las Vegas is currently developing a public-private, 4G or better, wireless network in downtown Las Vegas to support communication between vehicles, roadside infrastructure and traffic management centers.
GPS Base Station Network - The GPS Base Station Network is used to provide highly accurate land measurements and road mapping that better meets the specificity required to operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and autonomous self-driving cars.
Lidar Mapping of Downtown Roadways - Lidar mapping provides an accurate model of above- and below-ground infrastructure to create a "3D" city.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
From its first settlement by Mormons in the mid-19th century, Las Vegas has been populated predominantly by people of European ancestry. Some three-fourths of the population is white. Only a small proportion of the population today is Mormon. About a third is Roman Catholic, and there is a sizable Jewish minority.
Several hundred Chinese immigrants were drawn to the region in the mid-19th century to help build the railroad that would join Las Vegas to other cities in the mountain region and on the Pacific coast. About the same time, Basque sheepherders came to the area, introducing an Iberian culture quite distinct from that of Spanish-speaking Mexicans living there. African Americans arrived in the 19th century, most of them as cowboys and seasonal ranch workers, and their numbers grew in the years during and after World War II, when many were stationed in the area for military service or arrived to work in defense-related industries.
African Americans now constitute a substantial minority, more than one-tenth of the city’s population. Hispanics account for more than one-fourth of the total, many of them recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America who work largely in the service sector. Relatively small numbers of Asians and Native Americans round out the city’s ethnic composition, as do Pacific Islanders, who moved to Las Vegas in such numbers that many Hawaiian immigrants refer to it as the «ninth island».
Ethnic discrimination was common in the city’s earlier days but has subsided somewhat since the late 1960s. Few African Americans or Hispanics worked on the Hoover Dam project during the 1930s, even after the federal government ordered the consortium building it to halt such discriminatory practices; those who were hired were employed only as common labourers. Jim Crow segregation practices were introduced in Las Vegas in 1947 as a means of placating the city’s growing white tourist clientele; only one casino, the Moulin Rouge, which was partially owned by the African American heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, was open to both blacks and whites. The rest of the city’s casinos voluntarily desegregated in the mid-1950s, but de facto segregation existed elsewhere in Nevada until the mid-1960s. In 1968 Governor Paul Laxalt initiated several far-reaching reforms that were meant to ease growing ethnic tensions.
-White: 62.1% -Black or African American: 11.1% -Asian: 6.1% -Two or more races: 4.9% -Native American: 0.7% -Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.6%.
The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic Whites,have proportionally declined from 72.1% of the population in 1990 to 47.9% in 2010, even as total numbers of all ethnicities have increased with the population. Hispanics or Latinos of any race make up 31.5% 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. According to research by demographer William H. Frey, using data from the 2010 United States Census, Las Vegas has the second lowest level of black-white segregation of any of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, after Tucson, Arizona.Hawaiians and Las Vegans sometimes refer to Las Vegas as the «ninth island of Hawaii» because so many Hawaiians have moved to the city.As of the census of 2010, there were 583,756 people, 211,689 households, and 117,538 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,222.5/sq mi .
The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $53,000 and the median income for a family was $58,465. Males had a median income of $35,511 versus $27,554 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,060. About 6.6% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
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.