Nevada Counties
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Nevada Counties

There are sixteen counties and one independent city in the state of Nevada. On November 25, 1861, the first Nevada Territorial Legislature established nine counties. Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864 with eleven counties. In 1969, Ormsby County and Carson City were consolidated into a single municipal government known as Carson City.

Nye County, Nevada

Nye County Education, Geography, and HistoryNye County, Nevada Courthouse

Nye County is a county located in the state of Nevada. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 43,946. Its county seat is Tonopah. At 18,159 square miles (47,030 km2), Nye is the largest county by area in the state and the third-largest county in the contiguous United States (thus excluding the boroughs of Alaska).

Nye County comprises the Pahrump, NV Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Nye County Name

Named for the Territorial Gov. and United States Senator, (Nevada), James Warren Nye (June 10, 1815 - December 25, 1876) was a United States Senator from Nevada. Born in DeRuyter, New York, he attended the common schools and Homer Academy in Homer, New York; he studied law in Troy, New York, was admitted to the bar, and practiced in Madison County.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Nye County History

February 16, 1864 - Named for the Territorial Gov. and United States Senator, (Nevada), James W. Nye. Nye County is the second largest county in the US (San Bernadino County in California being first. Thank you Herb) covering 18,294 square miles. The first county seat was Ione in 1864, followed by Belmont in 1867, and finally by Tonopah in 1905, from the Indian language "Tono" meaning thorny and "pah" which means water. It is said that a local Indian gave it the name meaning a thorny bush hiding a spring.

From 1987 to 1989, Bullfrog County, Nevada, was split off from Nye County territory to form a separate political region. The population of Bullfrog County was 0; the county's creation was strictly a political maneuver.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 18,159 square miles (47,031 km2). 18,147 square miles (47,000 km2) of it is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) of it (0.07%) is water.

Nye County is located in south central Nevada, and, given its nuclear history, some find it interesting that its shape can be seen as a skewed mushroom cloud. Nye is the largest county in Nevada and is the third largest county in the continental United States, after San Bernardino County in California and Coconino County in Arizona. With a land area of 11,560,960 acres (46,786 km2), Nye County is larger than the combined total area of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Delaware. Of this vast land area, only 822,711 acres (3,329 km2), or just over seven percent of the total, is private land; the majority of the county's land is owned by the federal government. According to the United States Census Bureau the county's Census Tract 9805, with a land area of 4,225.415 square miles (10,943.7745 km2), comprising the Nevada Test Site and Nye County's portion of the Nevada Test and Training Range, is the largest census tract in the United States that has absolutely no resident population (as of the 2000 census).

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Churchill County, Nevada - northwest
  • Lander County, Nevada - north
  • Eureka County, Nevada - north
  • White Pine County, Nevada - northeast
  • Lincoln County, Nevada - east
  • Clark County, Nevada - east
  • Esmeralda County, Nevada - west
  • Mineral County, Nevada - west
  • Inyo County, California - south


The Nye County School District serves all of Nye County and Esmeralda County. The Districts Headquarters is located in the county seat of Tonopah. The current superintendent of the NCSD is Dale Norton.

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