The Las Vegas metro has recorded some of the nation's most significant population growth over the past two decades. Situated at the bottom of southern Nevada, it is proximate to the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River and Lake Mead. The city proper is largely bounded by mountains, government lands and military facilities, limiting developable land.
The Las Vegas MSA is comprised of Clark County and boasts a population of 2 million. Henderson, North Las Vegas, Spring Valley and Las Vegas were among the fastest-growing cities in the United States over the last decade. Las Vegas is the largest city in the metro, with 570,300 persons.
Tourism and gaming remain the top drivers for the Las Vegas economy. Economic diversification and growth in the professional and business services sector, mainly housing-related professions, fueled considerable payroll expansion prior to the recession. As the metro gradually regains its footing, the professional and business services sector will help lead the local economic recovery, growing 2.2 percent annually through 2016.
All 10 of the nation's largest hotels are located in Las Vegas. Along with tourism and gaming, conventions also play an integral part in the local economy. Since 2001, convention attendance has exceeded 4.4 million delegates annually, providing a significant boost to the local economy. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest in the world, containing 2 million square feet of exhibition space and 144 meeting rooms.
Population-serving sectors of the economy, such as education, healthcare and retail sales, have grown in importance over the past two decades due to the population nearly tripling in size. These sectors will continue to have a major roll as population growth continues to exceed the national annual average.
The economic growth in Las Vegas depends on tourism, medical services, business information technology and green energy. The MSA's low tax structure and affordable cost of living will continue to attract residents, tourists and businesses to the area.