The City of Sparks, NV – A Brief Overview

Blog Introduction: The city of Sparks, Nevada is located in the western part of the state, just east of Reno. It is the fifth-most populous city in Nevada, with a population of approximately 100,000 people. The median age in Sparks is 36 years old, and the median household income is $55,000. 

Sparks was founded in 1904 by John McLaughlin, a former Central Pacific Railroad employee. The city was named after the sparks created by the locomotives of the railway. Today, Sparks is home to a number of businesses and industries, including Tesla, Panasonic Corporation, Amazon.com, NV Energy, and Switch.

Geography and Climate 

The city of Sparks covers an area of 56 square miles and has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. The average high temperature in July is 96 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low temperature in January is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual precipitation is about 7 inches. 


As of 2019, the population of Sparks was estimated to be 100,339 people. The racial makeup of the city was 75% White, 9% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Asian, 3% African American, and 8% other races. The top five ancestries reported in Sparks were German (19%), Irish (16%), English (15%), Italian (6%), and Mexican (5%). 

As of 2019, the estimated population of Sparks was 99,368. The median age in Sparks is 34 years old, while the Reno median age is 36 years old. Of all households in Reno-Sparks MSA, 30% have children under the age o f18 living with them. 58% of households are married couples living together and 33% have a female householder with no husband present. Geographically speaking, about 31% of MSA residents live in Washoe County and 69% live in Storey County. 

The racial makeup of Sparks was 72.6% White alone (59.0% Non-Hispanic Whites), 2.6% African American alone, 5.4% Native American alone, 5.4% Asian alone, 0.3% Pacific Islander alone, 12.1% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races; Hispanic or Latino make up 32 .5 % of the city’s population . In terms of ancestries reported , 24 . 8 % were German , 12 . 2 % were Irish , 11 . 8 % were English , 9 . 0 % were Italian , 6 . 7 % were American , and 5 . 7 % were Norwegian . 

Out of all employed people over 16 years old in Reno-Sparks MSA as of 2018 , 35 % work in educational services & health care , 18 % work in professional & scientific services , 11 % work in accommodation & food services , 9 % work in retail trade , 7 % work transportation & warehousing 6 percent work public administration , 5 percent work arts entertainment & recreation 4 percent each work construction manufacturing & information technology support activities & real estate & professional management companies etcetera. 


The unemployment rate in Sparks as of 2019 was 4%, higher than the national average of 3.7%. The cost of living in Sparks is also higher than the national average; however, this is to be expected given that it is a suburb of Reno. The median household income in Sparks is $55,000 while the poverty rate is 12%. Additionally, 10% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher while 27% have a high school diploma or equivalent.


Sparks is a small city located in western Nevada near Reno with a population of approximately 100,000 people. Founded in 1904 by John McLaughlin as a stop for the Central Pacific Railroad due to its close proximity to Pyramid Lake’s fishing industry at the time, it has since evolved into an industrial hub with major employers such as Tesla , Panasonic Corporation , Amazon , NV Energy , and Switch . Although known for its casinos and hotels now , such as John Ascuaga’s Nugget , much of its economy still relies on its factories .


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