Las Vegas Nevada
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.
The name "Las Vegas" is often also applied to the unincorporated areas of Clark County that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. This four and a half mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is mostly outside the Las Vegas city limits, in the township of Paradise, Nevada.
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 Valley metropolitan area is home to 1,583,172 residents according to the county's 2003 estimate.
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.
Most of the people and businesses who call "Las Vegas" home actually live in neighboring communities that have no city government. In fact, of the nearly 1.6 million people who live in the Las Vegas Valley, just under 680,000 live in no city at all. The largest of these towns are Paradise (187,680) between Las Vegas and Henderson, Sunrise Manor (183,679) east of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, and Spring Valley (152,330) southwest of Las Vegas. These towns resulted from a 1940s water dispute between the City of Las Vegas and early homeowners south of San Francisco Street, now Sahara Avenue. Residents of these towns cannot vote for the Mayor and City Council of Las Vegas, but they can vote for members of the Clark County Commission, which governs their areas. They are also represented by advisory boards, which are appointed by and give nonbinding suggestions to the Clark County Commission.
The City of Las Vegas government operates as a council-manager government. The Mayor sits as a Councilmember-At-Large and 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:
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.
The population of the entire Las Vegas Valley is approximately 1.6 million.
Las Vegas has a desert climate with very little rainfall, and extreme heat in the summer; highs of 105°F (40°C) are common from May to September, and for several days each year, temperatures may exceed 115°F (46° C). Winters are cool and windy, with the balance of Las Vegas' annual four inches of rainfall coming from January to March. Only rarely are showers seen in Spring or Fall. July through September, the Mexican Monsoon often brings enough moisture from the Gulf of Mexico across Mexico and into the US southwest to cause afternoon thunderstorms.
Because Las Vegas is in a valley, the rare instance of intense precipitation can cause heavy flooding. For example, an unprecedented thunderstorm hit the northwest part of the city for two hours in August of 2003, causing some hail damage and considerable water damage. 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 one of the largest cities 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. There are no laws preventing Nevada sports books from accepting bets on local professional teams, and many casinos have said they would not voluntarily take a local team "off the boards." Las Vegas also has a considerably small television market, because the larger outlying areas were all drawn into the markets of larger cities farther away decades ago (St. George, Utah is in the Salt Lake City market, and Bullhead City, Arizona is in the Phoenix market). Las Vegas' TV market is the 51st largest in the US, behind places like Albuquerque, Greensboro, Harrisburg, and Hartford.
However, Las Vegas does have the following minor league sports and pro tour events:
Las Vegas has become an internationally known motor racing locale having hosted the elite Formula One racers at Caesars Palace and the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) for Indy racers in the early "80's. Las Vegas was also the home of the famed "Mint 400" Desert Race from 1968-1987 run in the unforgiving Nevada desert outside Las Vegas. Nearly 100,000 spectators lined the 100 mile loop to view the 500+ off road racing vehicles. Sponsored by Del Webb's Mint Hotel and Casino, the event was the largest and richest event in the sport. The technical and safety inspection was held on famed Fremont Street and became one of the major must attend sporting events in Las Vegas history. The race ended when Del Webb organization sold the Mint Hotel to the adjacent Horseshoe owned by the legendary Binion gaming family.
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 men's 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 complex, both at the main arena and at Cox Pavilion, a smaller arena attached to the complex.
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. However, MLB eventually chose Washington, D.C. as the Expos' new home.
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. The system has suffered several malfunctions that have caused it to be closed for extended periods.
The CAT Bus (Citizens Area Transit) is the most popular means of public transportation among locals and tourists with 51 bus routes operating all over the valley.