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Kicking off the Census

Today, the Douglas County Public Library in Minden will be celebrating a kickoff of the 24th U.S. Census.

The Silver State has only been part of 16 of those decennial counts, and for much of its history, population gains weren’t much to write home about. In 1870, the state’s entire population was 42,491 people, most of whom lived in Western Nevada. Almost a quarter lived in Virginia City, at the time. The most populous of Nevada’s counties today, Clark, didn’t even exist until the 20th Century.

Douglas is one of Nevada’s first counties, and in 1870 was home to 1,215 people.

There were only 2,029 people living in Douglas during the 1950 Census, making it the fourth least populous county in the entire state.

But starting in 1960, the rush began, with the county nearly doubling from 3,481 to 6,882, and then practically tripling to 19,421.

The final two decades of the 20th century saw the population double to 41,259, and prognosticators thought the county’s population would wind up above 60,000 today.

The Great Recession served to take some of the wind out of that growth’s sails, with the 2010 count showing 46,997 people, an addition of 5,000.

With the number of registered voters within sight of a record 41,000 as of March 4, we suspect that the 2020 Census will show people have been filling in some of those places left empty by the Great Recession and will be looking for new homes.

But many fortunes have been won and lost in the Silver State over its history.