Radio Commentary

Growth Spurts

ver 1,800 people move to Nevada each week. In most counties and cities the boom is alive and well and it shows no sign of letting up. The Nevada state demographer’s office released growth statistics for fiscal 1997 and once again Nevada had the fastest growth rate in the nation. If present trends continue, and demographers think they will, Nevada’s population will top two million by the millennium.

As for individual cities, you might be surprised that many municipalities have growth rates higher than Las Vegas’s. West Wendover and Wells, two small communities in Elko County, grew by 15 and 13 percent, respectively. Then came two Vegas-area cities, North Las Vegas and Henderson. Next came Fallon, Mesquite, then Sin City, Elko, and finally Reno. While Truckee Meadows environmental agitators bemoan the allegedly explosive growth rate of their area, Reno’s growth was fairly far down on the list, and Washoe County as a whole grew by a minuscule 1.5 percent.

Certainly the statewide stats will add fuel to the anti-growth fires out there, stoked by activists who see development—and often, just about any kind of human activity—as evil. But Nevadans shouldn’t believe the hype. Sure, growth causes problems. But a lot of states, such as New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, would love to have such problems. Populations in those states actually declined in recent years.

Nevada’s citizens, its business community, and its state government do need to think of innovative ways to handle the thousands of relocaters arriving each week. But don’t count NPRI as an organization that sees growing at such an incredible rate as tragic. u


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