City Analysis: Las Vegas, Nevada

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Las Vegas: Overview

There are nearly 650 K people in Las Vegas proper and more than 2 M people living in the city’s greater metropolitan area. Of these, nearly 46% are between the ages of 18 and 34. City elections will be held in June and November. The neighborhoods most likely to cater to affluent creatives and families are the Arts District, Downtown, Summerlin, and Henderson.

Population Statistics

  • World Population Review estimates Las Vegas’ population in 2020 as 644,644 people, and notes that this is Nevada’s most-populous city. Notably, this counts only those living in the city limits, and does not account for the total metropolitan area, which is more than 2 M people (2.23 M in 2018).
  • The total number of residents falling into the 18 34-year-old age range is estimated to be around 295,246 for Las Vegas city-proper and 1,053,400 for the greater metropolitan area of the city, or 45.8% of the city’s population. These were estimated because no site collects this information (by the specific range of 18 – 35 particularly); calculations are shown below.
  • The general demographics of this city are: White (62.17%), Other Race (12.47%), Black/African-American (12.17%), Asian (6.62%), Two+ Races (4.86%), Native American (0.92%), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.80%). The male-to-female ratio is nearly equal at 50.04% to 49.96% respectively. The median age is 37.7; for women it’s 38.2 and for men, it’s 37.1.
  • Average family size is 3.45 and average household size is 2.73 persons, and the city has a 52.5% home ownership rate. The average earnings is $35,928, with males averaging $40,144 and females averaging $32,228 annually.

2020 City Elections

  • Clark County, Nevada (where Las Vegas is seated) will have municipal elections in 2020 for the following: “district court judgeships, justice of the peace judgeships, water district representatives, Moapa Valley Television Maintenance District representatives, and Overton Power District representatives,” according to Ballotpedia. The primary is scheduled for June 9, 2020 with the general election following on November 3, 2020.
  • Las Vegas held city elections in 2019 for “mayor and the Ward 1, 3, and 5 seats on the city council,” as well as a special election for the Ward 2 seat (after the sitting representative resigned).

Top Neighborhoods for Creatives

  • Las Vegas’ Arts District is likely the best place in the city for creatives with spending power. It’s an 18-block area filled with art museums and galleries, as well as artists’ collectives. The area hosts a First Friday event each month, and “encompasses a funky stretch of Main Street that mixes antique shops with bars … plus up-and-coming culinary destinations.”
  • The Downtown area of Las Vegas is host to both classic hotel-casinos and corporations, but also home to trendy bars, like the Fremont Street Experience, hip restaurants, like La Comida, and cultural outposts, like 11st Street Records where creatives of all types are sure to flock. Notably, most of the residences in this area are high (or higher-) end.
  • Young (and often affluent) families like the Summerlin neighborhood, a “master-planned community” founded and built originally by Howard Hughes. This neighborhood is close to attractions like the Red Rock Resort, which is just off the gorgeous Red Rock Canyon (for the adventurous-hiking types), and the downtown area hosts “a massive shopping and dining complex,” plus the city’s ballpark.
  • Henderson is another suburb area that’s likely to be home to affluent creatives and families; the area is a mix of residences and commercial sectors and has been slowly being revitalized for years. It’s home to the “booze district,” or the collection of “local breweries and distilleries,” as well as a gourmet restaurant scene.

Programs for Residents

  • The city hosts a variety of programs for residents in the following categories: Neighborhood Services (like for neighborhoods, homeless folks, veterans, etc); Education Services (like before and after-school programs); Events (various); Parks & Facilities (various); Programs & Classes (like sports, educational offerings, dance, art, etc); and Arts & Culture (like visual arts museums, performing arts centers, etc).
  • The city also offers helpful resources for new residents, neighborhood improvement grants, rentals (like picnic spaces or special event centers), and parking and city-based transportation options/information.

City ID Cards

  • Las Vegas does not appear to have a city ID card program, though the state of Nevada offers an ID (like all states).

Questions for City Officials

  • Question 1: Nearly half of the population in the city proper and metropolitan areas is under age 35. What are the biggest draws in the city for this age group and what does the city do to continue to draw them in?
  • Question 2: The city has already spent over $2 M on the Badlands legal dispute and the city government just authorized additional expenditures on legal fees. How does the city justify spending what could cover “one-fifth of the operating budget for the city’s Courtyard Homeless Resource Center” on legal expenses over failed negotiations?

Calculations / Estimates

  • The US Census Bureau shows the following as statistics for the age breakdown: 18-20 years old (3.8% + 3.9% = 7.7%); 21-24 years old (5.3% + 5.2% = 10.5%); 25-34 (14.3% + 13.3% = 27.6%). This adds up to equal 45.8% of the population.
  • Using the Las Vegas city-proper total population: 45.8% of 644,644 = 295,246 persons
  • Using the Las Vegas metropolitan area total population of 2.23 M: 45.8% of 2.23 M = 1,053,400 persons
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Las Vegas: Business Community

Initiatives that promote small businesses in Las Vegas include Small Business Research Portal, Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, Symphony Park, and The Medical District Targeted Industry Program (MD-TIP). Local merchant associations in Las Vegas include Vegas Chamber, Downtown Vegas Alliance (DVA), Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas Executives Association, American Marketing Association Las Vegas, and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Las Vegas.

Initiatives to Promote Small Businesses

Small Business Research Portal

  • The Small Business Research Portal is a data portal developed by the city of Las Vegas to assist small businesses in the optimization of their operations.
  • The research services offered by the portal include business and industry analysis, advertising analysis, competitive intelligence, and demographic analysis.

Las Vegas North Premium Outlets

  • The Las Vegas North Premium Outlets are among the most successful malls for retail outlets in the US.
  • The city of Las Vegas provides a conducive business environment in the outlets including assisting retailers with location issues and assisting property owners and commercial brokers in the recruitment of high-quality tenants.
  • The city also provides dedicated development teams that help developers with permits, plans, and designs in order to implement their development projects.

Symphony Park

  • Symphony Park is reputed to be among the prime development locations in Las Vegas. It has over 600 mixed-use residential building units that have ground floor commercial spaces that are being developed.
  • Other facilities that are also being developed include a new parking garage for the city that has two spaces for retail business, a major convention building beside World Market Center, and one of the biggest home furnishings expo sites in the US.

The Medical District Targeted Industry Program (MD-TIP)

  • The Medical District Targeted Industry Program (MD-TIP) offers financial assistance to business and/or property owners that rehabilitates, renovates or expands industrial or commercial properties in the Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD).
  • LVMD is a center of medicine with major hospitals, higher institutions, and other medical providers.
  • The program provides rebates for project expenses of $50,000 and below for eligible industries in the specified locations.

Local Merchant Associations

Major Partnerships

Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD)

  • The Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD) is a partnership "between the city of Las Vegas and the downtown Las Vegas medical and health care community".
  • The LVMD provides support for continuous and future business and property development in the district.
  • The aim of the district is to boost the provision of complementary medical services while promoting a sense of community and improving quality health care.

Partnership with UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs

  • The city of Las Vegas entered into a partnership with Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to "establish a community resiliency initiative".
  • The goal of the partnership is to ascertain and deal with stresses and shocks that could affect the whole community.
  • There would be collaboration between the partners and stakeholders in the community to influence policy decisions and provide guidance for urban management.
  • Relationships and resources from the city and UNLV would be used to develop community leadership and create a framework for sustainability and resilience in the city.

Partnership with Downtown Vegas Alliance (DVA)

  • The city of Las Vegas and Downtown Vegas Alliance are partnering to promote a positive shift in jobs, economic growth, the arts district, and transportation.
  • The partnership involves the Nevada Museum of Art, Zappos, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Circa Resort and Casino, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman.
  • The partnership promotes projects such as "Turbulence (a new unique tavern for special event spaces), a new visitor center on Main Street, updated plans for new Circa Resort and Casino, and construction of the Nevada Art Museum in 2023".

Lowest RFP Amount

  • The procurement/purchasing website of the city of Las Vegas does not provide information on the lowest RFP amounts for bids on goods/services. It only provides general information to assist businesses in placing their bids such as bid opportunities, supplier resources, supplier diversity, purchasing records, and city surplus.


  • What other financial assistance programs do you have for small businesses?
  • What are the lowest RFP amounts for bids on goods/services?

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LAs Vegas: Issues and Challenges

Water shortage, crime, and climate change-driven warming are key issues and challenges being tackled by the leaders of Las Vegas city. These and other findings are outlined below.

Water Shortage Challenges


Climate Change

  • Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the US and directly susceptible to climate change effects.
  • Climate Central ranked the city number 1 in terms of temperature change ahead of El Paso in Texas, Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, and Burlington in Vermont.
  • Las Vegas registered a 5.76°F increase between 1970 to 2018.
  • Its home state Nevada registered a 2.8°F increase between 1970 to 2018.
  • Climate Central points out that climate change-driven warming increases evaporation which in turn spurs droughts and heavier downpours.
  • Warming also raises sea levels and storm surges as well as intensifying downpours from hurricanes.
  • Lastly, warming damages public health through heat waves and seasonal pests as well as worsening ground-level ozone pollution.
  • The Guardian reports that the Las Vegas Desert Research Institute found a correlation between heatwaves and deaths caused by heat in southern Nevada.
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) reported that Las Vegas can experience 96 days of over 100°F by the end of the century if global carbon emission trends continue.
  • The Guardian links climate change challenges to the city's casual attitude towards growth and development.
  • During its boom years, the city paved hundreds of miles with heat-absorbing asphalt and concrete which contributed to a 'heat island' effect in the valley.
  • The article points out that Las Vegas' poorest and elderly residents as well as children are at risk with climate change-driven warming.
  • The city has made efforts to decrease its carbon footprint by using renewable energy to power its government buildings and streetlights since 2016.
  • Major businesses including hotels and casinos have also prioritized sustainability in their operations.
  • MGM Resorts alone has installed 20 acres of solar panels to power its facilities.
  • Voters in Nevada also passed a ballot demanding state utilities to obtain 50% of electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

Question to City Leaders

  • In light of the dual challenges of water shortage and climate change-driven warming, what are your short-term priorities and long-term sustainability plans to improve environmental and public health in Las Vegas?

From Part 03
  • "Seventy percent of Nevada’s 2.7 million residents live in or around Las Vegas. By 2026, the state’s population is expected to rise to over 4.3 million, of which 3.3 million will be in Clark County, which includes the city of Las Vegas."
  • "One dire study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego forecasts a 50% chance the lake will dry up within 15 years."
  • "And groundwater in southern Nevada being in short supply, Las Vegas is determined to secure water rights to groundwater in over 30 basins across the state’s rural areas. Applications to obtain approximately 100,000 acre-feet from six basins—Cave Valley, Coyote Valley, Delamar Valley, Dry Lake Valley, Snake Valley, and Spring Valley—are expected to procure enough water to supply 350,000 homes, or about 1 million people, cutting southern Nevada’s dependence on the Colorado River by 60%. All that is needed is a 250-mile pipeline with an asking price of approximately $3.5 billion."
  • "Strict water use regulations have been adopted by the Las Vegas Valley Water District. Grass yards are being converted to desert landscaping at an increasing rate. Lawns can only be watered between specific times on certain days, depending on the season."
  • "Despite the Upper Basin states not fully using their allotted 7.5 million acre-feet per year, Las Vegas appears at first to be against odds to meet the challenge of its water shortfall. After all, Nevada is the most water-resource-poor state in the country, garnering an average of less than four inches of rainfall per year."
  • "Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the United States, its temperatures having risen 5.76F since 1970. A June study of coroner data by the Las Vegas-based Desert Research Institute found a correlation between heatwaves and heat-related deaths in southern Nevada, both of which, they say, are on the rise. "
  • "And a recent Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report warns that without global action to reduce carbon emissions, the city will probably experience 96 days of heat above 100F by the end of the century, including 60 days over 105F, and seven “off the chart” days that would break the current heat index."
  • "In Las Vegas, a laissez-faire attitude toward growth has allowed high temperatures to become even more deadly, and the scorching heat now threatens the city’s basic functionality."
  • "During the boom years before the 2008 housing crisis, hundreds of miles of desert landscape were paved over with heat-absorbing asphalt and concrete, worsening a “heat island” effect in the cauldron-like valley. Outward growth also led to vehicles motoring further across the sprawling metropolis, increasing heat-trapping carbon emissions."
  • "The city’s poorest residents are most at risk. Fans and cooling systems can save lives, said Jill Roberts, the coroner office investigator, “but some people just don’t have the funds to fix their air conditioning or have working equipment”."
  • "Rachel Licker of the Union of Concerned Scientists warned that southern Nevada’s productivity and essential services will become increasingly stressed as temperatures rise – construction projects will slow or stop more frequently to ensure worker safety; police and postal workers may be affected; and since studies show schoolchildren perform worse as temperatures rise, teachers may need to adjust testing schedules and standards for days if not months at a time."
  • "Meanwhile, power surges may become more common if increased demand overwhelms electrical grids, leaving the people most sensitive to heat illness such as children and the elderly without a cooling system when it’s needed most."
  • "To lessen its own carbon footprint, the city of Las Vegas began powering all government buildings and streetlights with renewable energy in 2016. The state’s largest energy consumers, the multi-thousand room hotels and casinos on the Strip, have also made environmental sustainability a priority in recent years. MGM Resorts has over 20 acres of solar panels atop the Mandalay Bay convention center, and much of the electricity flowing through properties like the Bellagio, Luxor and New York, New York comes from a solar array in the Mojave Desert."
  • "For their part, Nevada voters passed a ballot initiative requiring state utilities to get 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. As a constitutional amendment, the proposal needs to pass a second time to take effect."
  • "Las Vegas, El Paso, Tucson, and Phoenix have warmed more than any other cities in the country. Each has gotten at least 4.3°F hotter since the first Earth Day."
  • "Warming matters because it drives most of the hazards associated with climate change. Higher average temperatures can boost evaporation, making dry areas drier and making wet places wetter, and in turn encouraging droughts and heavy downpours."
  • "Warming boosts sea levels, increases the height of storm surges, and worsens the downpours accompanying some hurricanes, such as 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. "
  • "Warming is also damaging public health, not just by contributing to dangerous heat waves and expanding the seasonal range of disease-carrying pests such as mosquitoes, but also by exacerbating ground-level ozone pollution."
  • "Las Vegas Metro Police gets about 10,000 calls per day. Now, its caseload could get even bigger thanks to a new ordinance passed by the Las Vegas City Council."
  • "The council recently passed an ordinance that allows homeless people to be fined or even arrested if they refuse to go to an open shelter bed. Under the ordinance, Metro Police officers would talk to homeless people about leaving the street for a shelter and then potentially arrest them if they refuse."
  • "This afternoon, the North Las Vegas City Council unanimously passed the appropriation of the funds for 77 new police cars to the department. Their presence is designed to curb crime in the city."
  • ""It's a win-win all the way around. You are getting more city services at a lower price," said city manager Ryann Juden. Chief Ojeda says the new purchase will make the community safer."
  • "Now she says some officers will be able to take a unit home, which will make response times faster. Officers will be on the clock from the moment they leave their house until they pull into their driveway."
  • "The city is also buying an important recruiting tool because new cars need new drivers. "In our jurisdiction, in Las Vegas, everyone is having recruitment issues," she said. "So that's a new recruiting tool that is going to be used.""
  • "Officers will only be able to take cars home if they live within city limits. This will encourage officers to live in the community--which could also fuel the local economy according to Juden. "
  • "Cheif Ojeda admits it's been hard to recruit officers. She hopes the new cars will serve as a road map for new policemen and women---driving them right into her department."