A closer look at Nevada’s and Washoe County’s inflow population migration

Californians driving Nevada’s population growth

More than 50,000 Californians moved to Nevada from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, according the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates 2018 – 2019 State-to-State Migration Flows. This number is a 6.7 percent increase over the 47,513 Californias that moved to Nevada the previous year. And, according to a recent Planetizen piece, “There are more adults in Nevada that were born in California than born in Nevada…”

Of course, Nevada received new residents from all over the country (and even the world for the matter), but the vast majority, nearly 40 percent, came from the Golden State. (See the table below.)

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates 2018 – 2019 State-to-State Migration Flows

Nevada a top growth state

In total, more than 141,000 people moved to Nevada from July 1 2018 to July 1 2019. Subtracting from that, the nearly 90,000 people who left the state during the same period, results in a net inflow of 52,815 to the state — making Nevada one of the top-10 states in the U.S. for numeric growth. (See table below.)

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates 2018 – 2019 State-to-State Migration Flows

What is remarkable about Nevada’s inclusion on the top-ten list in the table above is its relatively small population base. In fact, of the ten states listed above, Nevada’s state population is, by far, the smallest.

For this reason, Nevada was again ranked one of the nation’s fastest growing states — 2nd only to Idaho. (See table below).

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates 2018 – 2019 State-to-State Migration Flows

Why are people moving to Nevada?

Well, the reasons are varied, but the most common reason cited is Nevada’s very favorable tax situation, especially when compared to California’s. (See The Wall Street Journal’s January 25, 2020 story: So Long, California? Goodbye, Texas? Taxpayers Decide Some States Aren’t Worth It — After new tax law made it costlier to own a house in many high-price areas, some residents are pulling up stakes)

When you take Nevada’s zero state income tax, relatively lower home prices, lower property taxes, and lower cost of living, it’s easy to see the attractiveness of The Silver State. And these favorable attributes appeal to retirees and job seekers alike.

According to a recent United Van Lines Movers Study, of those people moving to Nevada, nearly 37% cited “retirement” as their primary reason for moving, and one-third cited “job” as their primary reason for moving. Other reasons cited included “family” and “lifestyle”. (See United Van Lines interactive migration map below.)

Inflows to Washoe County

Utilizing the U.S. Census’ Flows Mapper tool, we’re able to take a closer, county-to-county look at migration flows. For Washoe County, Nevada we see that 3,398 people moved in from Clark County, Nevada — making Clark County the top contributing county in the U.S. to Washoe County’s population.

The top-20 counties contributing to Washoe County’s inflows include:

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau 2013-2017 5-Year American Community Survey

Outside of other Nevada counties, it is those California counties along the “I-80 corridor” and also in southern California that are the greatest contributors to Washoe County’s inflow migration. (See the map below.)


Data source: U.S. Census Bureau 2013-2017 5-Year American Community Survey

Inflows to Reno, NV

The U.S. Census Bureau also has migration data at the metro area level. Using the most recent tables in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Metro Area-to-Metro Area Migration Flows: 2013-2017 American Community Survey we see those metro areas contributing the most residents to the Reno, NV metro area in the table below.


Data source: U.S. Census Bureau 2013-2017 5-Year American Community Survey


Thank you for reading. I would love to read your comments and thoughts below. And if you have questions regarding the above, please let me know in the comments below.

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About Guy Johnson

I am a licensed Nevada REALTOR® (lic.# S.0075262.LLC) living and working in fabulous Reno, Nevada. I cover Reno, Sparks, Incline Village, Carson City, and beyond. Give me a call at 775-722-4011 and I will be happy to assist you with your real estate needs. I'm your Guy!
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