Las Vegas

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Las Vegas
Nickname : The Entertainment Capital of the World, Sin City
Las Vegas by day
Las Vegas by day
Seal of Las Vegas
Las Vegas flag
Location in Clark County and Nevada
Location of Las Vegas in Clark County (left) and Nevada (bottom right)
Basic data
Foundation : 1905
State : United States
State : Nevada
County : Clark County
Coordinates : 36 ° 11 ′  N , 115 ° 8 ′  W Coordinates: 36 ° 11 ′  N , 115 ° 8 ′  W
Time zone : Pacific ( UTC − 8 / −7 )
Inhabitants :
Metropolitan Area :
632,912 (as of 2016)
2,155,664 (as of 2016)
Population density : 1,862.6 inhabitants per km 2
Area : 340.0 km 2  (approx. 131 mi 2 ) of
which 339.8 km 2  (approx. 131 mi 2 ) is land
Height : 610 m
Postcodes : 89044-89199
Area code : +1 702
FIPS : 32-40000
GNIS ID : 0847388
Website :
Mayor : Carolyn Goodman

Las Vegas [lɑs ˈveɪgəs] is the largest city in the US state of Nevada . It is best known for the many casinos , which are mainly located along the Las Vegas Strip . The population in an area of ​​340 square kilometers is approx. 630,000 (2016 estimate), the agglomeration spreads over 1200 square kilometers and has a total of almost two million inhabitants. Las Vegas is the administrative seat of Clark County . The name comes from Spanish and means "The meadows" or "The meadows". The city is also known for its large number of wedding chapels, as Nevada has straightforward marriage and divorce laws. The gap between rich and poor is the widest of all US cities in Las Vegas; in Las Vegas, the life expectancy of poor people is well below the national average.

Artists working in Las Vegas included musicians like Elvis Presley , The Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra , Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin , Celine Dion , Johnny Cash , Elton John and illusionists like Siegfried and Roy , David Copperfield , Criss Angel and the Cirque du Soleil .

About 42 million people traveled to Las Vegas in 2019. The city was shaped by casinos and shows .


First settlement until the city was founded

Rafael Rivera is considered to be the first European to reach what is now Las Vegas. In 1829 he was looking for an alternative route while spying on a trade caravan on the Old Spanish Trail to Los Angeles . Because of the artesian springs and the associated vegetation in the otherwise dry desert region, he named the place Las Vegas (Spanish for "the floodplains").

The first settlement was founded in 1855 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( Mormons ) , but abandoned two years later. In the mid-1860s, the US Army built Fort Baker . Because of its springs, Las Vegas became an important stopover for wagon trips and the railroad en route between California in the west and New Mexico in the east. In 1903 the rancher's widow Helen Stewart sold a large part of her farm property for 55,000 US dollars to the railway company San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad : In the same year they had completed the Salt Lake City – Los Angeles to Las Vegas railway. In 1905 the entire railway line was completed and the company parceled out the acquired farm property due to the high demand. On May 15, 1905, plots of land were auctioned off to speculators and investors for a total of US $ 265,000, and the city of Las Vegas was officially founded.

Legalization of gambling; the boom and the decline


The building of the Hoover Dam from 1931 to 1935 and the legalization of gambling in Nevada in 1931 laid the foundation for the city's rapid growth. In 1941, El Rancho Vegas was the first hotel casino to open just outside of what was then Las Vegas, and in December 1942 the New Frontier followed on the Strip. The mobster Bugsy Siegel , who had been running a betting shop for horse races in Las Vegas since 1941, bought the El Cortez gambling hotel at the end of 1945 together with several partners, including Meyer Lansky , Moe Sedway and David Berman . Soon after, it was sold for a profit and the money invested in building the Flamingo Las Vegas . It became the first hotel casino to have a stage hall in the style of Hollywood nightclubs , in which stars performed. Contrary to popular legend, Siegel was not the founding father of the concept of hotel casinos and modern Las Vegas, but followed others who had taken this path before him.

In the 1950s, numerous visitors came to the city to see the atomic bomb tests that were taking place near the city at the Nevada Test Site in the desert. During this time the influence of the American Cosa Nostra increased ; she controlled numerous hotels. Some of the casino's profits were skimmed off by the gangsters before they could be taxed, and ended up with the family bosses who moved from cities far away from the city, such as B. Chicago or Miami controlled the casinos.

Then the National Crime Syndicate had declared Las Vegas an open city; d. H. In contrast to other cities, it did not “belong” to a “family” or a criminal clan, but here anyone could do business. The bosses financed the construction costs from 1960 onwards from the newly established pension fund of the Teamsters ' transport workers' union ; In particular, this procedure applies to the return of the Cosa Nostra to Las Vegas in the 1970s, which was handled by straw men . In 1974 , Allen Glick bought two casinos for $ 63 million from union funds. The connection was established via official Teamsters channels to Frank Balistrieri , the Cosa Nostra boss of Milwaukee , who then contacted Nick Civella . The fund manager Roy Williams only had to sign. In particular, this form of financing applies to the casinos Aladdin , Circus Circus , The Sands , The Dunes and Tropicana .

This detour financing and the " skimming " of the casinos were exposed. By February 14, 1979, when a cash courier from Las Vegas was caught at the Kansas City airport with two 40,000 US dollar parcels, the corruption was evident and a series of successful house searches began. In 1986, more Chicago Outfit mobsters were fined $ 2 million for the financial levy of the Las Vegas casinos. In the mid-1960s, Moe Dalitz was looking for new owners for the casinos. This role was taken over by Howard Hughes in 1967, who introduced the business models that are still in use today, slowly displacing the gangsters. In the 1970s and 80s, the city was still seen as increasingly run down.

New upswing

Steve Wynn initiated a trend reversal in 1989 with the opening of the Mirage , which was able to attract new and above all wealthy customers with the Siegfried & Roy Show . The first approach was conventions and meetings that attracted new audiences. Since the turn of the millennium, official attempts have been made to change the image of the city from a Sin City ("City of Sin") with casinos, nude bars and illegal prostitution to a City of Entertainment ("City of Entertainment"); the aim was to make the city attractive for families with children. This development was ambivalent: while on the one hand many shows and hotels were designed to be family-friendly, the red light industry is still omnipresent, especially due to the masses of advertising leaflets by strippers and prostitutes on the streets.

After 1990, Las Vegas was at times one of the fastest growing cities in the United States .

In a 2008 Forbes magazine list based on FBI statistics , Las Vegas was named the fourth most dangerous city in the United States. The basis of the statistics was the number of violent crimes (murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery) in relation to the number of inhabitants, whereby only cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants were evaluated.

In the mass murder in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and more than 800 injured on the premises opposite the Mandalay Bay Hotel during a performance by country singer Jason Aldean as part of the Route 91 Harvest music festival . The Las Vegas Strip was temporarily closed and the McCarran International Airport closed.


Representation of the ethnic distribution of the population in Las Vegas in 2010. White , Black , Asian , Latino .

Las Vegas is Nevada's largest city with 632,912 inhabitants (2016) and was the 28th largest city in the United States in 2016 . With a land area of ​​339.8 km², this corresponds to a population density of 1,862 inhabitants per square kilometer. The annual population growth is 2.0 percent (average, 2000–2008). The urban area of Las Vegas has 1.31 million inhabitants, the metropolitan area 1.87 million.

Las Vegas was founded as a railroad city in 1905 and grew rapidly from the start. In the 1940s the number of inhabitants exceeded the 10,000 mark, and 20 years later the city already had 100,000 inhabitants. In the period from 1990 to 2016, the population more than doubled. Because the urban area is now densely populated, growth is increasingly shifting to the suburbs of the metropolitan region, which have now reached the mountainous region.

As a young city even by American standards, Las Vegas is heavily influenced by immigration . In 2008, 78 percent of residents were born outside of Nevada. Immigration from abroad (predominantly from Mexico ) has increased significantly in recent decades - while only one in ten residents was born abroad in 1990, it is currently almost one in four. The proportion of foreigners rose from six percent to 15 percent in the same period. Almost half of the population are non-Hispanic whites (47.9 percent), although their proportion is falling significantly. In 2009 Las Vegas became a so-called Majority-Minority City . This means that non-Hispanic whites, who make up a nearly two-thirds majority nationwide, make up less than half of the city's population. Hispanics , at 31.5 percent, are the second largest and fastest growing population group: in 1980, their share was 7.8 percent.

English is the primary language for two-thirds of Las Vegas residents. Due to the immigration of Latin Americans, the proportion of Spanish has increased sharply in recent years, so that it is now used at home by a quarter of the population. The other languages ​​together make up eight percent. Overall, 16 percent of those surveyed say they don't speak English very well.

Las Vegas had the highest suicide rate in the United States in 2007 .

Population development

year Residents¹
1980 164,674
1990 258.295
2000 480,042
2010 584,313
2016 632.912

¹ 1980–2010: census results; 2016: US Census Bureau estimate

Climate table

The climate of Las Vegas is a desert climate (BWh) with long, very hot, dry summers and short, cool winters.

Las Vegas
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: World Meteorological Organization The climatological data are based on the monthly averages from 1961 to 1990;
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Las Vegas
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 14.1 17.4 20.4 25.3 31.0 37.9 41.1 39.6 34.8 27.8 19.7 14.2 O 27
Min. Temperature (° C) 0.9 3.8 6.6 10.4 15.7 20.8 24.6 23.4 19.0 12.4 5.9 1.1 O 12.1
Precipitation ( mm ) 12.2 12.2 10.7 5.3 7.1 3.0 8.9 12.4 7.1 5.3 10.9 9.7 Σ 104.8
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 7.9 8.7 10.2 11.5 12.5 13.4 12.6 11.9 11.2 9.8 8.2 7.6 O 10.5
Rainy days ( d ) 2.1 1.8 2.1 1.2 0.9 0.5 1.6 2.0 1.2 1.0 1.3 1.7 Σ 17.4
Humidity ( % ) 44 38 33 24 21st 16 21st 25th 25th 28 36 44 O 29.6
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: World Meteorological Organization The climatological data are based on the monthly averages from 1961 to 1990;
Typical desert landscape around Las Vegas
Lake Mead
Circus Circus Hotel
Hotel Mirage
Casino "Bellagio" in the evening
Hotel New York New York
Hotel Luxor

Excursion destinations

Las Vegas is a popular starting point for excursions to the Hoover Dam , which dams the Colorado River to Lake Mead southeast of Las Vegas . Other popular excursion destinations in the vicinity are the Red Rock Canyon , which is just a few kilometers beyond the western city limits , the Valley of Fire in the northeast, approximately 80 kilometers from the Strip , and the hiking and winter skiing areas in the northwest of Las Vegas, which are just as far away Spring Mountains around Mount Charleston and Lee Canyon. The "Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort" is located here at 2,600 meters above sea level.

Many Las Vegas tourists also visit Death Valley, about 200 kilometers away, and the Grand Canyon in the state of Arizona from here . About an hour north on the way to Death Valley is the ghost town of Rhyolite . At the beginning of the 20th century a gold rush town with 10,000 inhabitants, it is now an open-air museum.


The income from tourism in 2014 amounted to around 40 billion US dollars, this year for the first time more than 40 million tourists visited the city. The casinos themselves have a total turnover of about $ 4.5 billion a year. Las Vegas has approximately 150,000 guest beds. The costs for building the hotels are getting higher and higher. The Venetian Resort Hotel cost 1.6 billion US dollars to build and the Wynn Las Vegas Casino & Hotel is the most expensive hotel at 2.7 billion US dollars. Donald Trump is building a high-rise with condominiums in the city, the MGM Mirage Group invested around 7.4 billion US dollars in the CityCenter Las Vegas, which opened in December 2009 . The Cosmopolitan , which fell to Deutsche Bank due to bankruptcy, cost around four billion US dollars.

The largest employer outside of the gambling industry are the city authorities with 20,000 employees. In addition to the entertainment industry, the public sector with the University of Nevada and the post office is the main source of jobs. There are 30 hospitals and the number has increased significantly in recent years.

The per capita income of Las Vegas is located at 27988 US dollar slightly higher than the American average (27,466 US dollars). Prosperity is unevenly distributed among the various population groups. On average, whites are the richest group. Asians are also relatively wealthy, whereas blacks tend to have below-average incomes. The poorest groups are Hispanics and mestizos or mulattos . The official unemployment rate is 13.9 percent, one of the highest in the United States. It is believed that Las Vegas is the city with the most homeless people (an estimated 100,000) in the US. Las Vegas is one of the cities that suffered the most from the 2009 economic crisis.

The metropolitan area of ​​Las Vegas generated an economic output of 111.1 billion US dollars in 2016, making it 36th among the metropolitan areas of the USA. The economy has recovered in recent years and has shown above-average growth rates in national comparison.


The McCarran International Airport had 2,008 passenger volumes of about 44 million passengers. At the time of construction, the airport was located far outside the city, but is now almost completely surrounded by buildings.

Since 1990, the city has had the Citizens Area Transit (CAT), a bus network with a total of 38 lines that has to cover an area twice as large as Berlin (1732 square kilometers). However, even at peak times, the lines are often only offered every 15 or 20 minutes, and they are not coordinated with one another. Only on the busiest bus route The Deuce , which runs the entire “Strip”, you usually only wait a few minutes for the next bus until the early evening. However, there can be considerable waiting times in the evening hours.

The Las Vegas Monorail has existed since 2004 , it takes fourteen minutes from the MGM Grand Hotel to the Sahara Las Vegas Hotel and stops at the Las Vegas Convention Center as well as at some hotels such as Caesars Palace and Bally's.

The city is on the Union Pacific Railroad from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles . Since 1997 there has only been freight traffic. The train station is in the Union Plaza Hotel at the end of Fremont Street.


The desert city of Las Vegas gets 90 percent of its water and drinking water from Lake Mead . The reservoir was completely filled for the last time in 1999, and since then the water level has fallen by more than 30 meters. The scarcity of drinking water - triggered by the waste of water, the rapid population explosion and the expansion of tourism - prompted the city to hire three water waste investigators (colloquially water cops) in the Las Vegas Valley Water District.

Well-known hotels

Most of these hotels are concentrated on just two streets, the Strip and Fremont Street . Some of the hotels are replicas of well-known places in the world. The expanded Venetian Resort Hotel replaced the MGM Grand Hotel as the largest hotel in the city at the beginning of 2008 and at that time was the second largest hotel complex in the world with over 7,000 rooms. The Hotel Bellagio is best known for the Fountains of the Bellagio , a water show that takes place every quarter of an hour with water fountains to music. The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino hosts the World Series of Poker every year .

Las Vegas by Night (2007)


The Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey franchise was founded in summer 2016 . In the 2017/18 season , the team began playing in the National Hockey League (NHL). It plays its home games in the T-Mobile Arena , which opened in 2016 and is located in the suburb of Paradise .

Since 2020 Las Vegas has also been home to a franchise of the National Football League (NFL) with the Las Vegas Raiders . This was not an expansion team , but rather the Oakland Raiders, previously based in Oakland , California . The team is scheduled to start playing in Las Vegas in the 2020 NFL season , with the home ground being the Allegiant Stadium , which is currently under construction . The Las Vegas Aviators minor league baseball team , which is currently part of the Oakland Athletics organization, also plays in Las Vegas .

The NBA has been organizing an NBA Summer League every summer since 2004 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, where NBA rookies can gain their first experience and talents without a contract can earn a contract on an NBA team. Plans for an NBA expansion have so far failed due to the loose gambling and betting laws in Las Vegas. The NBA All-Star Game took place in Las Vegas in 2007.


sons and daughters of the town

Personalities related to the city

Bands from Las Vegas

Twin cities


The American documentary television series American Justice from A&E Network took up the topic of casinos and mobsters in Las Vegas:

See also


  • Jonathan Foster: Stigma Cities: The Reputation and History of Birmingham, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman 2018, ISBN 978-0-8061-6071-9 .
  • Daniel K. Bubb: Landing in Las Vegas: Commercial Aviation and the Making of a Tourist City. University of Nevada Press, Reno 2017, ISBN 978-1-943859-89-4 .
  • Geoff Schumacher: Sun, Sin & Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas. Revised and expanded edition. University of Nevada Press, Reno 2015, ISBN 978-0-87417-988-0 .
  • Eugene P. Moehring, Michael S. Green: Las Vegas: A Centennial History. University of Nevada Press, Reno 2005, ISBN 978-0-87417-615-5 .
  • Barbara Land, Myrick Land: A Short History of Las Vegas. 2nd, revised edition. University of Nevada Press, Reno 2004, ISBN 978-0-87417-564-6 .

Web links

Commons : Las Vegas  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Las Vegas  Travel Guide
 Wikinews: Las Vegas  - In The News

Individual evidence

  1. a b Data on Las Vegas according to the United States Census Bureau
  2. John M. Glionna: Las Vegas: a place to get rich, but where the poor die younger . In: The Guardian . April 16, 2016, ISSN  0261-3077 ( [accessed November 4, 2020]).
  3. Official visitor statistics from the Trade Fairs and Tourism Authority
  4. ^ Malvin Lane Miranda: A history of Hispanics in southern Nevada . University of Nevada Press, 1997. ISBN 0-87417-291-8 . Page 19 in Google Book search
  5. ^ History Timeline ( July 1, 2014 memento in the Internet Archive ), City of Las Vegas
  6. ^ Leonard J. Arrington, Davis Bitton: The Mormon experience: a history of the Latter-Day Saints . 2nd ed. University of Illinois Press, Urbana 1992, ISBN 0-252-06236-1 , pp. 118 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  7. ^ Robert Lacey : Meyer Lansky. The gangster and his America . Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 1992, ISBN 3-7857-0652-9 , pp. 181-184.
  8. The Hoffa Files: How This Tough Guy Made Las Vegas ( Memento from July 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) on (English)
  9. ^ "Blood Threat", February 3, 1986,
  10. America's Most Dangerous Cities.
  11. Attack on concert in Las Vegas: 50 dead, more than 400 people in the hospital . In: Spiegel Online . October 2, 2017 ( [accessed October 2, 2017]).
  12. See List of Cities in the United States # Cities by Population
  13. ^ National Public Radio: Las Vegas: The Suicide Capital Of America , All things cosidered, December 10, 2008
  14. Vegas breaks tourism record with more than 40 million visitors ( memento January 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority press release, accessed January 17, 2015.
  15. Casino opened in Las Vegas: Deutsche Bank zockt ,, December 15, 2010 (accessed September 17, 2019).
  16. County's jobless rate increases to record 13.9% , Las Vegas Sun, October 19, 2009
  17. "Las Vegas Foreclosures Outperform All Other US States," Die Welt, April 29, 2011
  18. ^ US Department of Commerce, BEA, Bureau of Economic Analysis: Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved July 4, 2018 (American English).
  19. ^ Alan Berube, Jesus Leal Trujillo, Tao Ran, and Joseph Parilla: Global Metro Monitor . In: Brookings . January 22, 2015 ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).
  20. Clarck Country: Press release ( Memento of May 17, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), January 23, 2009
  21. Water Waste Fees and Policies ( Memento of October 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  22. ^ First high-rise casino: The Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas was blown up. In: June 15, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016 .
  23. ^ Adrian Franke: NFL: 5 questions about the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. In: March 28, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017 .
  24. Tomorrow's stars to shine bright at Samsung NBA Summer League 2015 ( Memento from January 11, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  25. NBA Expansion Looming With Two New Franchises  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /