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Las Vegas, Nevada
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Las Vegas, Nevada

Alternate meanings: Las Vegas (disambiguation).

Las Vegas is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nevada, and (due to its gambling and entertainment) a major tourist destination. At the 2000 census, the city had a population of 478,434 making it the largest city in the state of Nevada. The city's official population estimate as of July 1, 2002 is 514,640. Las Vegas is the county seat of Clark County, Nevada.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Government
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Climate
6 Sports
7 Transport
8 Related topics
9 External links


First settled in 1854 by Mormon farmers, Las Vegas already had been named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party who watered there while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. At that time, some low areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian springs which created extensive green areas in contrast to the surrounding desert, hence the name Las Vegas, Spanish for "The Fertile Valleys." The Mormons abandoned the site in 1857, and the U.S. Army built Fort Baker there in 1864. Thanks to the springs, Las Vegas was a water stop, first for wagon trains and later railroads, on the trail between Los Angeles, California, and points east such as Albuquerque, New Mexico. Las Vegas was founded on May 15, 1905 when 110 acres, in what later would become downtown, were auctioned.

Incorporated in 1911, and with gambling legalized in 1931, Las Vegas started its rise to world fame in 1941, when developers began building large hotels incorporating gambling casinos. Several such early enterprises are widely reputed to have been backed by money from crime syndicates based in the eastern United States. Gangsters Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Meyer Lansky are widely credited as the organizers and prime movers behind early development of Las Vegas. Ever since then, Las Vegas has been a mecca of gambling.

Las Vegas is sometimes called "Sin City" due to the popularity of legalized gambling, availability of alcoholic beverages any time of the day and night, various forms and degrees of adult entertainment, and legalized prostitution in nearby counties (Nevada law prohibits prostitution in counties which have large populations; see Prostitution in Nevada). The nickname favored by local government and promoters of tourism is "The Entertainment Capital of the World." In the last fifteen years or so many massive casinos have been built, and the emphasis has turned from gambling and other "adult" pursuits to entertainment for both adults and children. In addition, concerted effort has been made by city fathers to diversify their economy by attracting light manufacturing, textiles, banking, and other commercial interests. The lack of any state, individual or corporate income tax, and very simple incorporation requirements, have fostered the success of this effort. Having been late to develop an urban core of any substantial size, Las Vegas has retained very affordable real estate prices in comparison to nearby urban centers. Consequently, the city has recently enjoyed an enormous boom both in population and in tourism. As of 2001, the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area is the fastest growing population center in the United States. Las Vegas's incorporated population of 478,434 is an understatement of the city's recent population boom, as much of the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area is unincorporated. The Las Vegas metropolitan area (not including nearby Boulder City) contains 1,337,357 residents.

As a reflection of the city's rapid growing population, the new Chinatown of Las Vegas was constructed in the early 1990s on Spring Mountain Road. Chinatown initially consisted of only one large shopping center complex but the area was recently expanded for new shopping centers that contain various Asian businesses.


The City of Las Vegas government is currently operated as a City Council-City Manager Plan. The Mayor sits as a Councilmember-At-Large and he presides over all of the City Council meetings. In the event that the Mayor cannot preside over a City Council meeting the Mayor Pro-Tem is the presiding body of the meeting until such time as the Mayor returns to his seat. The City Manager is responsible for the administration and the day to day operation of all of the municipal services and city departments. The City Manager also maintains an intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, county and other local governments.

Elected and Government Officials of the City of Las Vegas:
(For Councilmembers' official websites, see City of Las Vegas Official Website under External Links)

Elected on June 22, 2004 in a special election to fill the one year remaining in the term of Councilwoman Lynette Boggs-McDonald following her resignation.

City of Las Vegas Government Offices are located at 400 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101.

See also: List of mayors of Las Vegas, Nevada


Las Vegas is located at 36°11'39" North, 115°13'19" West (36.194168, -115.222060)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 293.6 km² (113.4 mi²). 293.5 km² (113.3 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.04% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 478,434 people, 176,750 households, and 117,538 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,630.3/km² (4,222.5/mi²). There are 190,724 housing units at an average density of 649.9/km² (1,683.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 69.86% White, 10.36% African American, 0.75% Native American, 4.78% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 9.75% from other races, and 4.05% from two or more races. 23.61% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 176,750 households out of which 31.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% are married couples living together, 12.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% are non-families. 25.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.66 and the average family size is 3.19.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 102.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $44,069, and the median income for a family is $50,465. Males have a median income of $35,511 versus $27,554 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,060. 11.9% of the population and 8.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 15.4% are under the age of 18 and 8.3% are 65 or older.

There are also approximately a half-million people who call Las Vegas home but do not live in the city limits of any city. As a matter of fact, the famous Las Vegas Strip is not in the city limits; most of it is in Paradise, Nevada and is governed municipally by the Clark County commission. Approximately 1.6 million people call the Las Vegas Valley home.


Las Vegas has a desert climate with very little rainfall, and extreme heat in the summer; highs of 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) are common from May to September, and for several days each year, temperatures may exceed 115 degrees (46 degrees Celsius). Winters are cool and windy, with the balance of Las Vegas' annual four inches of rainfall coming from January to March. Occasionally, the usual arid weather is interrupted by torrential rains.


Because Las Vegas is in a valley, the rare instance of intense precipitation can cause heavy flooding. For example, an unprecedented hailstorm hit the northeast part of the city for two hours in August of 2003, causing, at times, a complete white-out. Heavy localized flooding occurred, with property damage reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To help alleviate the damage caused by flooding, the city has spent millions of dollars to build large concrete drainage areas throughout the area. The hope is that these open-top drainage areas (each ten feet by fifteen feet by thirteen feet) will help to ease the flow of water when flooding does occur.


Las Vegas is the largest city in the United States to have no major-league level professional sports teams. This is largely due to the stigma of legal sports betting being seen as a conflict of interest with any potential pro sports team being located in Las Vegas by the NBA, NFL, NHL, and Major League Baseball. This is despite the fact that Nevada law prohibits the state's legal sports books from accepting bets on any event that involves a Nevada-based team. However, Las Vegas does have the following minor league sports and pro tour events:

The Las Vegas Posse was a former Canadian Football League team that played at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Las Vegas is also host to many professional boxing matches and has hosted many heavyweight boxing championship bouts. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels (Runnin' Rebels is used only by the basketball program) host Mountain West Conference events on the UNLV campus and eight miles east, at Sam Boyd Stadium. Indoor sporting events involving UNLV teams are held at the Thomas & Mack Center;.

In April 2004, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig publicly revealed that MLB was considering Las Vegas as a potential future home for the Montreal Expos.


After many delays, a passenger monorail opened on July 15, 2004. It begins at the MGM Grand at the south end of the Strip, and then runs roughly parallel to the Strip on its eastern side. The monorail passes next to the Las Vegas Hilton and the Convention Center before ending at the Sahara at the north of the Strip. It takes about 14 minutes to travel its total distance of 3.9 miles (approximately 6 kilometers). The fare is $3 one way or $10 for an all-day pass.

McCarran International Airport is amongst the United States busiest airports. The growth of the Strip to the south has meant that the airport is now very close to the heart of Las Vegas.

Related topics

External links

{| id="toc" style="margin: 0 2em 0 2em;"
Regions: Great Basin | Mojave Desert | Lake Tahoe
Largest cities: Carson City | Las Vegas | Reno
Counties: Churchill | Clark | Douglas | Elko | Esmeralda | Eureka | Humboldt | Lander | Lincoln | Lyon | Mineral | Nye | Pershing | Storey | Washoe | White Pine |