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Elko County, Nevada facts for kids

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Elko County
Elko County
Elko County Courthouse in Elko
Map of Nevada highlighting Elko County
Location within the U.S. state of Nevada
Map of the United States highlighting Nevada
Nevada's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Nevada
Founded 1869; 155 years ago (1869)
Named for Elko
Seat Elko
Largest city Elko
 • Total 17,203 sq mi (44,560 km2)
 • Land 17,170 sq mi (44,500 km2)
 • Water 33 sq mi (90 km2)  0.2%
 • Total 48,818
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2.83776/sq mi (1.09567/km2)
Time zones
Majority of county UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
West Wendover UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Elko County is a county in the northeastern corner of Nevada, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 48,818. Its county seat is Elko. The county was established on March 5, 1869, from Lander County.

Elko County is the fourth-largest county by area in the contiguous United States, ranking lower when the boroughs of Alaska are included. It is one of only 10 counties in the U.S. with more than 10,000 square miles (25,900 km2) of area.

Elko County is part of the Elko, NV Micropolitan Statistical Area. It contains 49.8 percent of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, set up in the late 19th century for the Shoshone-Paiute peoples; they are a federally recognized tribe. Although slightly more than 50% of the reservation is across the border in Owyhee County, Idaho, the majority of tribal members live on the Nevada side. The reservation's land area is 450.391 square miles (1,166.5 km2).


This area was long occupied by Native American tribes of the Plateau, particularly the Western Shoshone, Northern Paiute, and Bannock peoples. Their traditional ways were disrupted after European-American settlement, as the two cultures competed for resources and had differing conceptions of land use and property.

Elko County was established by European Americans in 1869 from Lander County; the name was taken from the name of the county seat, Elko.

In 1877 what became known as the Duck Valley Indian Reservation was established by presidential executive order for the Western Shoshone in this area, after they signed treaties with the United States. Later the Paiute became involved in the Bannock War, but after they were allowed to return from exile in Washington State, in 1886 another executive order was used to expand the reservation to accommodate them. The federally recognized tribe of the two peoples together conducts farming and ranching in this high desert territory.

The population of the county increased markedly in the late 20th century as the economy improved.

On March 14, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management sold 29 oil and gas leases for $1.27 million to a collection of six companies that included Noble Energy. The transaction was the first such in Nevada.


2013-07-04 15 37 14 Sagebrush-steppe along U.S. Route 93 in central Elko County in Nevada
Sagebrush steppe in Elko County, Nevada along US 93. Much of the county looks essentially like this.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 17,203 square miles (44,560 km2), of which 17,170 square miles (44,500 km2) is land and 33 square miles (85 km2) (0.2%) is water. Not counting Alaska's boroughs (four of which are also larger), it is the fourth-largest county in area in the United States (behind San Bernardino County, California, Coconino County, Arizona, and Nye County, Nevada). The elevation ranges from about 4,300 feet (1,300 m) at the edge of the salt flats of the Great Salt Lake Desert, to 11,387 feet (3,471 m) on the summit of Ruby Dome in the Ruby Mountains. The most topographically prominent mountain in Elko County is Pilot Peak.

The county has three physiographic sections (70% Great Basin section, 20% Payette, 10% Snake River Plain) and 4 watersheds (45% Humboldt River, 30% Upper Snake River, 20% central Nevada desert, 5% Pilot-Thousand Springs).

National protected areas

Adjacent counties

Time zones

Except for West Wendover which is in the Mountain Time Zone, the county is in the Pacific Time Zone, though other communities such as Owyhee, Mountain City, Jarbidge and Jackpot unofficially observe Mountain Time as well due to their proximity to, and economic connections with, neighboring areas of Idaho.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,447
1880 5,716 65.8%
1890 4,794 −16.1%
1900 5,688 18.6%
1910 8,133 43.0%
1920 8,083 −0.6%
1930 9,960 23.2%
1940 10,912 9.6%
1950 11,654 6.8%
1960 12,011 3.1%
1970 13,958 16.2%
1980 17,269 23.7%
1990 33,530 94.2%
2000 45,291 35.1%
2010 48,818 7.8%
2020 53,702 10.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 48,818 people, 17,442 households, and 12,441 families living in the county. The population density was 2.8 inhabitants per square mile (1.1/km2). There were 19,566 housing units at an average density of 1.1 per square mile (0.42/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 79.4% white, 5.3% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.8% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 10.3% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 22.9% of the population in terms of ancestry.

Of the 17,442 households, 39.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.7% were non-families, and 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.26. The median age was 33.4 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $67,038 and the median income for a family was $75,171. Males had a median income of $56,528 versus $34,464 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,879. About 5.8% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.0% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.


A number of highways maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation, some national in prominence, cross Elko County. The county also maintains a network of county routes; however, many of them are unpaved and receive limited, if any, winter maintenance.

Transportation by means other than road vehicle is limited within Elko County. Commercial air service is available only at the Elko Regional Airport in Elko; the only destination currently served is Salt Lake City International Airport. Other public airports in Elko County include Jackpot Airport, Owyhee Airport and Wells Municipal Airport.

Amtrak passenger service is available from the unstaffed Elko station. Service is via the California Zephyr and is either eastbound or westbound, once a day.

Major highways

  • I-80 (NV).svg Interstate 80
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (Carlin)
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (Elko)
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (Wells)
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (West Wendover, Nevada–Wendover, Utah)
  • US 93.svg U.S. Route 93
  • Alt plate.svg
    US 93.svg U.S. Route 93 Alternate
  • Nevada 221.svg State Route 221
  • Nevada 223.svg State Route 223
  • Nevada 225.svg State Route 225
  • Nevada 226.svg State Route 226
  • Nevada 227.svg State Route 227
  • Nevada 228.svg State Route 228
  • Nevada 229.svg State Route 229
  • Nevada 230.svg State Route 230
  • Nevada 231.svg State Route 231
  • Nevada 232.svg State Route 232
  • Nevada 233.svg State Route 233
  • Nevada 278.svg State Route 278
  • Nevada 535.svg State Route 535
  • Nevada 766.svg State Route 766
  • Nevada 767.svg State Route 767


2011-08-04 20 00 00 Susie Fire in the Adobe Range west of Elko Nevada
Lightning-sparked wildfires are common occurrences in Elko County.


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

Ghost towns

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Elko para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Architects:
Georgia Louise Harris Brown
Julian Abele
Norma Merrick Sklarek
William Sidney Pittman
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