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Census participation critical

Being more familiar than most people with the last 145 years of The Record-Courier and its predecessors, we can tell you it seems like every time Douglas County is on the verge of a real boom, events tend to take the wind out of its sails.

Of course the original boom was the California Gold Rush that led to the establishment of Mormon Station as a trading post in 1852 and the subsequent Comstock Lode, which saw prospectors rushing the other way.

Those resources combined with Nevada’s potential electoral college votes resulted in the Silver State’s birth in 1864. But once the Civil War was over, the cycle of boom and bust based on mining finds in the state’s deserts seemed to mostly pass by Douglas for much of its first century.

Both Las Vegas and Sparks were founded in 1905, while Minden was established in 1906. All three were railroad towns, but of them Minden basically remained static for roughly 30 years. We certainly wouldn’t have had it any other way, but we feel it is illustrative of just how glacially Douglas grew for much of its history.

According to the U.S. Census, there were 1,581 people living in Douglas County in 1880. The county didn’t crack 2,000 until the 1940 Census, when it hit 2,056.

It wasn’t until 1960, when the growth spurt brought the population to 3,481.

During a single person’s lifetime, the county’s population has grown from 2,029 in 1950 to an estimated 48,905 as of July 1, 2019. We assume that number will climb to 50,000 when the count is complete.

The state bases its decision on how much Douglas receives from the other counties in tax revenue on population. Currently, Douglas and its districts receive $3.79 million a year in mostly sales tax revenue from other counties.

That’s just one of the many reasons to participate in the Census, in addition to representation.