Nevada is famed for having a low density of population. However, as a result of the rather unique environment very few of the people who live inside the state live in rural areas. Most people who reside in the state have collected in the urban settlements. The capital city of Nevada is Carson City which is located 30 miles south of Reno in the far west of the state. Part of the city actually spreads into California and although the size of the city is only just over 55,000 it has acted as the capital since 1864. Carson City grew as silver and gold were discovered on Comstock Lode. More people arriving in the area to work located in the city, and other businesses were attracted into the area to make the most of the new-found wealth.
Eventually other commercial activity emerged to challenge the importance of the mining industry and the building of the Truckee and Virginia Railroad confirmed the city’s importance. Carson City is the smallest of all of the nation’s state capitals. Reno is found in the north of Nevada. It is known as “The Biggest Little City in the World” with a population of just over 240,000. Reno is found at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is a casino city. The city original grew as silver, gold and other minerals were discovered in the area. It popularity took increased in the 1930’s with the state’s laws legalizing gambling and being one of the first states to allow divorces to take place.
During this period the city grew rapidly until other states divorce laws fell in line with Nevada’s. Although still being a popular gambling destination it has to play second fiddle to Las Vegas and nowadays the growing ski industry around Lake Tahoe and has brought a great number of tourists and economic benefit into the city.
The second largest city in the state is Henderson with a population of just over 290,000. Lying just 16 miles south east of Las Vegas it is regarded as one of the safest and best cities to live in the country. The building of the Basic Magnesium Plant during the Second World War was vital in the growth of the city. This initial growth declined after the plant was closed after the war. The city benefits from being so close to Las Vegas with many residents commuting to work in Las Vegas from Henderson. The city has also grown its own entertainment industry with casinos, shopping malls and restaurants thriving in the city.
Nearby Las Vegas is comfortably the largest city in Nevada with a population of over 600,000 and is most probably the country’s most famous resort city. The city bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World and it attracts close to 43 million visitors each year with many heading to the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Until Nevada legalized gambling in 1931 Las Vegas was very much a trading post for travellers heading west. An area of land was bought either side of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in 1905 and this became the down town area of the city.
Following 1931 the new gambling laws, plus large numbers of construction workers arriving in the city for the construction of the nearby Hoover Dam, created a perfect environment for the opening up of new casinos in the area. The emergence of commercial air travel after the Second World War only increased the numbers of people arriving in the city. The city today is reliant on the numbers of people arriving to take advantage of the adult entertainment industry. The economic strength of the area is closely linked with spin off industries emerging from the success of the casinos. The millions of tourists arriving in Las Vegas will often use the city as a central base before venturing into other areas of the state to explore the natural wilderness on offer.