A 2024 scientific poll of 869 Nevada “likely voters” was conducted in April 2024 in conjunction with this study. It explored Nevadans’ response to the state’s 35-year rapid population growth and loss of natural habitat and farmland (1982-2017), as well as priorities on what, if anything, should be changed in public policy for the future. (The results had a standard “margin of Sampling Error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.”)

Click here to view the polling company’s full survey with precise wording of all questions, the order they were asked, and methodology. Many of the overall responses are summarized on the Home page of this report; some of the variations among subgroups of Nevadans are shown below.


On most questions, all or nearly all the 28 subgroups chose the same top answer as the population as a whole. This was regardless of gender, race, income, education, political party, ideology, age, whether a person was a life-long Nevadan, and whether the person claimed their residence as a large city, suburbs, or  small city/town/rural. 

Nonetheless, there often were some statistically significant variations among subgroups’ support for that top preference (as shown in a later section). 

Opinions with Widest Across-the-Board Similarity

The across-the-spectrum general agreement with the least variation among the 28 Nevada subgroups was particularly notable on these three Nevada voter opinions:


The state needs to stop or dramatically slow down more “development taking over natural habitat and farmland.”


Continuing the recent rate of population growth will make the future of Nevada “worse.”


Drawing more heavily on the state’s aquifers is not the water solution for a growing population

Direct Support for Wildlife Habitat

In a time of deep partisan divisions, large majorities of Nevadans in each party affiliation are agreed in support of ambitious habitat protection.

Do you support or oppose the federal government’s goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s land and waters from development by the year 2030?


65% YES 62% YES 81% YES Democrats Republicans Independents


How to Prioritize River Water

Continuing the rate of population and development growth in Nevada will force tough choices about where scarce water in the nation’s driest state will go. 

When it came to the question of what should have the priority for remaining water in the state’s rivers, “fish and wildlife that depend on the river habitats” was Nevada voters’ top choice — but only with 33% support.
With Nevada having the largest number of endangered fish species of any state and 67 aquatic species found nowhere else in the world, it has to be a matter of some concern to conservationists that only one-third of Nevada voters answered that aquatic life should have priority. 
In how they answered the rivers question, there was little or no statistically significant difference among subgroups of several categories of voters  according to their income level, race, gender, or how long they had lived in the state.
But in terms of prioritizing aquatic life, the subgroups that DID indicate significantly HIGHER LEVELS OF SUPPORT than others in their category were:
  • the middle-aged (40-64) 
  • political independents
  • ideological liberals
  • small city/town/rural residents
  • those without a college degree.  

Few Would Divert Water from AGRICULTURE to Support a Growing Human Population

Only 31% of voters said YES

Nevada is the nation’s driest state. Cities and towns compete with agriculture for water. Should some water currently used to irrigate farmland be diverted to support additional human population growth in Nevada?


Clearly opposed to taking water from agriculture to handle more population growth: 25 of the 28 subgroups

Statistically evenly divided between YES and NO answers: Liberals and residents of Big Cities

The only subgroup clearly favoring diversion from agriculture: Young Adults (18-39)

The most significant major differences in support for diverting water from agriculture were found in three categories of Nevadans (race, party, nativity), although there wasn’t majority support from any of the three.

Support for Diverting Water from Agriculture to Growing Cities

  • Hispanics (42%) and Whites (26%) 

  • Democrats (39%) and Republicans (21%)

  • Lifelong Nevadans (40%) and people who moved in as adults (25%)

Uniformly Opposed to Drawing More Heavily From AQUIFERS to Support Growing Population

Nevadans were especially opposed to the aquifer solution for rapid population growth. Only 21% favored it, while 64% worried that “aquifers are already being over-pumped.” 

More remarkable was how similarly most subgroups opposed the aquifer solution for rapid growth.

Opposition to Drawing Down Aquifers

  • Men (63%), Women (65%)

  • White (65%), Hispanic (61%), Others (63%)

  • Democrats (61%), Republicans (66%), Others (65%)

  • Conservatives (64%), Moderates (64%), Liberals (68%)

  • Large City (61%), Suburbs (64%), Small City/Town/Rural (69%)

  • Nevada Natives (60%), Moved as Child (63%), Moved as Adult (67%)

  • No College Degree (63%), Degree (65%)

  • Less than $50,000 income (63%), $50,000-$100,000 (67%), More than $100,000 (61%)

74% 64% 56% Young Adults Middle Aged Seniors Oppose drawing down aquifers

Only the age category showed significant differences in its subgroups, but all three subgroups heavily opposed the solution.


While deep partisan divisions are the norm of the day in America on all kinds of issues, Nevada Democrats, Republicans and Independents were virtually identical in their response to two questions about growth, overwhelmingly supporting a dramatic slowdown or halt to the state’s rapid expansion in population and sprawl. 

The POPULATION of Nevada has more than tripled the last four decades. Would you prefer that the state’s population continue to grow rapidly, that it grow much more slowly, that it stay about the same size, or that it become smaller?


13% 40% 20% 22% 4% Continue to grow rapidly Grow much more slowly Stay about the same Become smaller Not sure

Grow much more slowly or stop  vs. continue current growth rate

81%-15% Democrats 86%-10% Republicans 82%-14% Independents
28% 38% 20% 15% Continue at the current pace Slow down dramatically Try to stop the losses Not sure

Federal data show that Nevada has the highest rate of NEW DEVELOPMENT taking over natural habitat and farmland. Does Nevada still have enough habitat and farmland to continue that rate of rural loss, or should it slow down the loss dramatically, or try to stop the losses?


Slow down dramatically or stop  vs. continue current sprawl rate

59%-27% Democrats 56%-29% Republicans 58%-27% Independents

When considering solutions to slow down Nevada’s population and sprawl growth, Nevadans of the three political identities did diverge some, although generally supporting the same solutions. 

Major differences could occasionally be found among the subgroups of other demographic categories.

SOLUTION: Make it more difficult to move to Nevada from other states

A major source of Nevada’s population growth is people moving in from other states, especially California.

Should local and state governments in Nevada make it more difficult for people to move to Nevada from other states by RESTRICTING DEVELOPMENT?

51% YES 34% NO 47% YES 36% NO 56% YES 29% NO 51% YES 29% NO All Voters Democrats Republicans Independents


Support for such restrictions are much higher (62%-28%) among those who’ve lived their life in Nevada than for those who moved to the state as adults (46%-38%). 

One potential way of controlling new growth is by LIMITING THE NUMBER OF NEW HOOK-UPS TO SEWAGE LINES and wastewater treatment plants. Do you favor using this as a tool to manage or control growth?

48% YES 32% NO 46% YES 34% NO 46% YES 34% NO 54% YES 29% NO All Voters Democrats Republicans Independents


SOLUTION: Reduce immigration 

60% 25% 7% 8% Reduce annual immigration Keep immigration at its current level Increase immigration Not sure

Another major source of Idaho population growth is immigration from other countries. Should the federal government reduce annual immigration to slow down Nevada’s population growth, keep immigration and population growth at the current level, or increase annual immigration and population growth?



The immigration solution was one area where Nevadans diverged significantly by political party, age, and self-identified political ideology.

57%-33% Independents 77%-19% Republicans 46%-44% Democrats 60%-32% All Voters
50%-39% Young (18-39) 63%-28% Middle-aged (40-65) 66%-30% Seniors (65+)
81%-18% Conservative 53%-34% Moderate 32%-59% Liberal

But the significant difference of opinions by age and politics was not found in other groupings of Nevadans, such as by race.

The support for immigration reduction among Whites, Hispanics, and All Others was all within the standard statistical margin of error of the 60%-32% support by all Nevadans. The same similarity was true among subgroups in the categories of income, education, gender, where people live, and how long they have lived in Nevada

In trying to reduce population growth from illegal immigration, should the government mandate that all employers use the federal electronic E-Verify system to help ensure that they hire only legal workers for U.S. jobs?

71% YES 18% NO 66% YES 24% NO 83% YES 19% NO 57% YES 33% NO All Voters Democrats Republicans Independents


All 28 subgroups of Nevadans overwhelmingly supported the system to limit jobs to legal workers. Support was 2-to-1 or greater for every subgroup except Independents and Liberals (who still favored mandatory E-Verify by 54%-34%).

SOLUTION: Funnel residents into denser living

One way for Nevada communities to handle continued population growth without losing as much open space, natural habitat, and farmland is to change zoning and other regulations to funnel more current and future residents into apartments and condo buildings instead of single-family houses with yards. 

44% FAVOR 46% OPPOSE 53% FAVOR 37% OPPOSE 43% FAVOR 50% OPPOSE 39% FAVOR 51% OPPOSE All Voters Democrats Republicans Independents


Voters who have lived in Nevada their whole life favor the funneling (53%-38%) while people who have moved to the state as adults don’t (39%-52%).