Las Vegas (often abbreviated simply as "Vegas") is the
most populous city in the state of Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and
an internationally known vacation, shopping, entertainment, and gambling
destination. It was established in 1905 and officially became a city
in 1911. It was the largest U.S. city founded in the 20th century.
Las Vegas is home to Clark County School District, the
fifth largest school district, which currently handles more than 280,000
students. (Get school
information for Clark County)
The name Las Vegas is often applied to the unincorporated areas of Clark
County that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the
Las Vegas Strip. This 4½ mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is
mostly outside the Las Vegas city limits, in the unincorporated towns of
Paradise and Winchester.
The center of gambling in the United States, Las Vegas is marketed as The
Entertainment Capital of the World and is famous for its massive, lavish
casino resorts. The city's glamorous image has made it a popular
setting for films and television programs.
Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to
the west and became a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. It
was a staging point for all the mines in the surrounding area, especially
those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped their goods out to the
rest of the country. With the growth of the railroads, Las Vegas
became less important, but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam
resulted in substantial growth in tourism, which, along with the
legalization of gambling, led to the advent of the casino-hotels for which
Las Vegas is famous.
The constant stream of tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos was
augmented by a new source of federal money. This money came from the
establishment of what is now Nellis Air Force Base. The influx of
military personnel and casino job-hunters helped start a land building
boom which still goes on today.
The McCarran International Airport provides commercial
flights into the Las Vegas valley. The airport also serves private
aircraft, domestic and international passenger flights, and freight/cargo
flights. Although general aviation traffic flies into McCarran
International, other airstrips are available.
Constant population growth means the housing construction
industry is vitally important. In 2000 more than 21,000 new homes
and 26,000 resale homes were purchased; more than one third of Las Vegas
homes are only five years old or less. In early 2005 there were 20
residential development projects of more than 300 acres each currently
The median income for a household in the city was $44,069,
and the median income for a family was $50,465. Males had a median
income of $35,511 versus $27,554 for females. The per capita income for
the city was $22,060. About 8.6% of families and 11.9% of the
population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age
18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2006 census estimate, the Las Vegas metropolitan area contained
over 1.7 million residents, and contains the largest ethnic Hawaiian
community outside of Hawaii.