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Washoe County, Nevada facts for kids

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Washoe County
Washoe County
Reno skyline
Official seal of Washoe County
Map of Nevada highlighting Washoe County
Location within the U.S. state of Nevada
Map of the United States highlighting Nevada
Nevada's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Nevada
Founded November 25, 1861; 160 years ago (1861-11-25)
Named for Washoe people
Seat Reno
Largest city Reno
 • Total 6,542 sq mi (16,940 km2)
 • Land 6,302 sq mi (16,320 km2)
 • Water 240 sq mi (600 km2)  3.7%
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Washoe County is a county in the U.S. state of Nevada. As of the 2010 census, the population was 421,407, making it Nevada's second-most populous county. Its county seat is Reno. Washoe County is included in the Reno, NV Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Washoe County was created on November 25, 1861, as one of the original nine counties of the Nevada Territory. It is named after the Washoe people who originally inhabited the area. It was consolidated with Roop County in 1864. Washoe City was the first county seat in 1861 and was replaced by Reno in 1871.

Washoe County is the setting of the 1965 episode "The Wild West's Biggest Train Holdup" of the syndicated western television series, Death Valley Days. In the story line, deputy Jim Brand (Charles Bateman) places a locked chain on a Central Pacific Railroad engine until the company agrees to pay its tax assessment. Roy Barcroft played the aging Sheriff Jackson with Pat Priest as his daughter, N Brand.

In 1911, a small group of Bannock under a leader named "Shoshone Mike" killed four ranchers in Washoe County. A posse was formed, and on February 26, 1911, they caught up with the band, and eight of them were killed, along with one member of the posse, Ed Hogle. Three children and a woman who survived the battle were captured. The remains of some of the members of the band were repatriated from the Smithsonian Institution to the Fort Hall Idaho Shoshone-Bannock Tribe in 1994.

In 1918, Washoe County elected the first woman elected to the Nevada Legislature, Sadie Hurst, a Republican.

"For decades Paiute children growing up in northern Nevada were required by the federal government to attend a boarding school in Carson City where they learned English, not Paiute."

As of 2013, "Washoe County is the first school district in the state to offer Paiute classes," offering an elective course in the Paiute language at Spanish Springs High School and North Valleys High School.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,542 square miles (16,940 km2), of which 6,302 square miles (16,320 km2) is land and 240 square miles (620 km2) (3.7%) is water. The highest point in Washoe County is Mount Rose at 10,785 ft (3,287 m), while the most topographically prominent peak is Virginia Peak.

There are two incorporated cities within the county, namely Reno and Sparks. In 2010, there was a ballot question asking whether the Reno city government and the Washoe County government should become one combined governmental body. According to unofficial results the day after the election, 54% of voters approved of the ballot measure to consolidate the governments.

The Truckee Meadows of Washoe County starts at the furthest southern runway of Reno Tahoe International Airport, GPS Coordinates 39.468836,-119.770912 and runs south east. Rattle Snake Mountain at Huffaker Park, follows the span of Steamboat Creek to the southern east end of Washoe County. This is the last of the range/prairie and wild grass water shed from the eastern range of the Reno Tahoe basin.

Major highways

  • I-11 (Future).svg Interstate 11 (Future)
  • I-80 (NV).svg Interstate 80
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (Verdi)
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (Reno–Sparks)
  • Business Loop 80.svg Interstate 80 Business (Wadsworth–Fernley)
  • I-580 (NV).svg Interstate 580
  • US 395.svg U.S. Route 395
  • Alt plate.svg
    US 395.svg U.S. Route 395 Alternate
  • Business plate.svg
    US 395.svg U.S. Route 395 Business (Reno)
  • Nevada 28.svg State Route 28
  • Nevada 341.svg State Route 341
  • Nevada 425.svg State Route 425
  • Nevada 426.svg State Route 426
  • Nevada 427.svg State Route 427
  • Nevada 430.svg State Route 430
  • Nevada 431.svg State Route 431
  • Nevada 439.svg State Route 439
  • Nevada 443.svg State Route 443
  • Nevada 445.svg State Route 445
  • Nevada 446.svg State Route 446
  • Nevada 447.svg State Route 447
  • Nevada 647.svg State Route 647
  • Nevada 648.svg State Route 648
  • Nevada 653.svg State Route 653
  • Nevada 655.svg State Route 655
  • Nevada 659.svg State Route 659
  • Nevada 667.svg State Route 667
  • Nevada 668.svg State Route 668
  • Nevada 671.svg State Route 671
  • Nevada 673.svg State Route 673
  • Nevada 877.svg State Route 877
  • Nevada 878.svg State Route 878
  • Nevada 880.svg State Route 880

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

  • Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (part)
  • Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (part)
  • Toiyabe National Forest (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,091
1880 5,664 83.2%
1890 6,437 13.6%
1900 9,141 42.0%
1910 17,434 90.7%
1920 18,627 6.8%
1930 27,158 45.8%
1940 32,476 19.6%
1950 50,205 54.6%
1960 84,743 68.8%
1970 121,068 42.9%
1980 193,623 59.9%
1990 254,667 31.5%
2000 339,486 33.3%
2010 421,407 24.1%
2020 486,492 15.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 421,407 people, 163,445 households, and 102,768 families living in the county. The population density was 66.9 inhabitants per square mile (25.8/km2). There were 184,841 housing units at an average density of 29.3 per square mile (11.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.9% white, 5.2% Asian, 2.3% black or African American, 1.7% American Indian, 0.6% Pacific islander, 9.5% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 22.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 16.9% were German, 13.1% were Irish, 11.8% were English, 7.2% were Italian, and 4.7% were American.

Of the 163,445 households, 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 37.1% were non-families, and 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.11. The median age was 37.0 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $55,658 and the median income for a family was $67,428. Males had a median income of $46,653 versus $35,559 for females. The per capita income for the county was $29,687. About 8.5% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.0% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Demographics of Washoe County covers 6,540.4 square miles. There are approximately 42,154 households in the unincorporated areas with an estimated population of 419,948. The average household size in 2007 was estimated at 2.70. The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is charged with fire protection and emergency services.


Washoe County
Ranching in Washoe County


Census-designated places

Other communities

  • Anderson
  • Antelope Valley
  • Arrowcreek
  • Bartley Ranch
  • Beulah
  • Border Town
  • Bronco
  • Buffalo Ranch
  • Caughlin Ranch
  • Copperfield
  • Damonte Ranch
  • Deep Hole
  • Diessner
  • Dodge
  • Flanigan
  • Franktown
  • Galena
  • Glendale
  • Grand View Terrace
  • Heinz
  • Hidden Valley
  • Hot Springs
  • Huffaker
  • Jumbo
  • Lawton
  • Mayberry-Highland Park
  • McCarran (partly in Storey County)
  • Mira Loma
  • Montreux
  • Mustang
  • New Washoe City
  • North Valleys
  • Northeast Reno
  • Northwest Reno
  • Olinghouse
  • Palomino Valley
  • Panther Valley
  • Patrick
  • Phil
  • Poeville
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Pyramid
  • Raleigh Heights
  • Rancho Haven
  • Red Hawk
  • Red Rock
  • Reederville
  • Saddlehorn
  • Sand Pass
  • Sano
  • Steamboat Springs
  • Upper Pyramid
  • Vya
  • Washoe City
  • Washoe Summit
  • Wedekind
  • Winnemucca Ranch
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