Home Resources Nevada Businesses Within Three Megaregions Gain Reach from California Coast to Denver

Nevada Businesses Within Three Megaregions Gain Reach from California Coast to Denver

by RM&D

Nevada is becoming more connected with its neighboring states via a myriad of economic functions. Tech transfers from the Bay Area to metro Reno have transformed Northern Nevada. Las Vegas shares a wide array of trade, patents, highway, air links, and now direct labor markets with California and Arizona. Gold mined in central Nevada is processed in Utah and often managed from Colorado. [*1]

Companies based in the Greater Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks metropolitan areas plus Elko are gaining from their geographic locations within a trio of intersecting megapolitan regions that create a combined trade market of over 50 million residents, according to a report from The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) released in December 2020. [*2]

Here’s our simple definition of a megapolitan: a megapolitan is created when economic activities within two or more large cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas organically grow to connect. Residents of large and small cities within a megapolitan are linked by a major transportation system consisting of roads, rail and air networks — important because efficient transportation is vital for moving people, capital and goods required for economic viability. [*3] When megapolitans experience the same growth and merge, they create megaregions, which have no universal standard definition.

Megapolitan “Megaregion” Clusters: Where the Action Is

Nevada cities in Nevada megapolitans are included in three major U.S. megaregions formed by increased organic economic activities conducted across multiple western states. The Reno area is part of the Northern California megaregion; and the Las Vegas area is part of the Southern California megaregion. The town of Elko is part of the Wasatch Front megapolitan within the Front Range megaregion in Denver.

“It’s not nation states or even cities, but megaregions — combinations of multiple metro areas — that are the real forces powering the global economy.” [*4]

At their essence, today’s megaregions are hyper-focused on creating efficient, safe and environmentally responsible transportation networks that allow people, capital and goods to move.

The internet, digital networks and e-commerce further changed how and where people live, work and shop. Likewise, the global marketplace, climate change and environmental issues, socioeconomics, politics and governance, immigration and migration, and demographic changes all affect the movement of people, goods and capital within megaregions.

Nevada’s Growing Presence in Three Megaregions

Nevada has long held good relations with its neighboring states, especially Arizona, Utah and, yes, California. Aligning with our prosperous neighbors in the three megaregions via economic interdependence that links us is smart for all — people, businesses, communities, and the megaregions, which are gaining political and economic clout.

The 50+ million people in trade areas created beneath three megaregions include: 3.27 million Utahns, 7.1 million Arizonans, 3.1 million Nevadans, and 39.5 million Californians. [*5]

Nevada is privileged in that its logistics, tourism, technology, and resources industries are embedded in the western United States — a geographically broad but extensively urbanized and fast-growing region that maintains some of the most innovative and export-driven regional economies in the developed world. [*6]

The map below shows what Brookings Mountain West at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas calls “The Three Nevadas.” [*7]

Nevada’s obvious advantage — which is also a powerful benefit to the megaregions — is that it can attract investors, skilled workers and new businesses to Nevada by offering what none of the other states in these megaregions can offer: Nevada’s lower costs of working, living and enjoying life in a business-friendly state with fewer business regulations and reduced tax burdens for Nevada-based investors, corporations, and regular or remote workers.

Sierra Pacific Megapolitan Cluster AKA the NorCal Megaregion

The Greater Reno-Sparks area, Tahoe Regional Industrial Center (TRIC) and Lake Tahoe in the western part of Northern Nevada are at the far northeastern edge of the Sierra Pacific Megapolitan Cluster, identified as The Northern California Megaregion or Megalopolis. There are about 13 million residents in this megaregion. [*8]

Reno has much to offer businesses seeking a Nevada base with easy access to the Bay Area via quick flight or interstate drive. The Reno area is home for innovative tech companies such as: Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Panasonic and Tesla.

One of NorCal’s biggest challenges is a lack of affordable housing and a lack of space upon which to build in the Bay Area and through the region. Existing homeowners are choosing to build small studio “granny flats” at their present location; however, an increase in construction permit filings have significantly jumped since regulations were eased, causing extended waiting periods.

The Reno-Sparks-Tahoe area has advanced manufacturing companies that could cut those wait times. Another option is hiring younger skilled nomadic advanced manufacturing workers based out of Northern Nevada who enjoy traveling and living temporarily in a place with a fast internet connection. They can be tapped to work in California or any of the megaregions until they get the urge to roam or return home.

The Silicon Valley plus Northern and Southern Nevada have exchange skilled IT workers for years. As Salt Lake City’s IT corridor continues to expand, they need not look farther than the megaregions to find skilled professionals who are at least familiar with the area and likely to stay long-term or until a project is completed.

Consulting mineral mining and geologists with family ties in the megaregions can find work closer to home instead of flying internationally—believe it or not, even business or first class travel that lasts for days can be a “grind” (pun intended).

Southwest Triangle Megapolitan Cluster AKA SoCal Megaregion

Greater Las Vegas, which includes Henderson and North Las Vegas, serves as the geographical hub that links Southern California to Arizona’s Sun Corridor, a smaller megapolitan area that includes Phoenix and Tucson, as well as Nogales, Mexico. These combined regions contain over 34 million people and form the second most populous megapolitan cluster in the U.S. [*9]

SoCal, as Californians refer to this megaregion, is where you’ll find Los Angeles, the second-largest U.S. city and California’s most populous city; neighboring San Diego adds nearly 1.5 million residents to reach 14 million people in this megaregion, which includes Tijuana, Mexico. [*10]

All four states in these megaregions have robust aviation, aerospace, avionics and defense industries. The Arizona Sun Corridor megapolitan has an interesting arrangement: the military owns more land in the Arizona than does the private sector; and the state’s economy gains over $11 billion annually from U.S. military bases on that land. During World War II, the military purchased Arizona land and over time built military bases for flight training. Military aerospace and defense manufacturers and contractors followed, settling in and around Phoenix and Tucson. Arizona remains home to over 1,300 aerospace and defense-related businesses and suppliers, including: Raytheon Technologies, Honeywell Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics. [*11]

Eastern Nevada Mountain Megapolitan Cluster

Elko is a micropolitan community with a population of 55,000 (2018) engaged in extensive economic and trade relations with megapolitan areas in the larger Mountain West in Utah and the Front Range megaregion based in Denver. By 2020, the megaregions combined contained over seven million residents. [*12]

Elko is considered the capital of Nevada’s goldbelt. The state of Nevada produces more gold than all but four countries; and most of the gold from Nevada is mined near Elko. Historically, Elko has been a “boom or bust” community with an economy that swings with rising and falling gold prices; ranching, tourism and the gaming industry providing additional jobs. [*13]

RM&D can help you open your Nevada-based business with easy air, rail and in-terstate access to the hot US Western megaregion states.

Beat the high costs of being based anywhere but Nevada, which offers tax ad-vantages for resident investors and business owners, an affordable quality of life plus a skilled workforce that’s ready to work. Call RM&D today and we’ll share the Nevada Advantages of doing business in the Silver State.

RM&D is a one-stop, full-service boutique company with the expertise and net-work that’s in position and ready to make things happen when you’re ready to invest in creating or expanding your Northern Nevada business presence.

Carole Brill, CCIM, Managing Director, RM&D
775.338.3844 cell or 775.352.7900 office
Email: Carole@RMDNevada.com


1.  Roland Stephen and J.R. Sullivan of the Center for Innovation Strategy and Policy, SRI International in collaboration with RCG Economics and Brookings Mountain West, “The Future Beyond the Pandemic: Nevada’s Plan for Recovery & Resilience,” Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, December 2020, https://tinyurl.com/8956umf4

2.  ibid

3. Robert E. Lang and Dawn Dhavale, “Beyond Megalopolis: Exploring America’s New ‘Megapolitan’ Geography,” Metropolitan Institute Census Report Series, July 2005, pp5-6, https://tinyurl.com/txmrvaea

4.  Richard Florida, “The Real Powerhouses That Drive the World’s Economy,” Bloomberg magazine, Feb. 28, 2019, https://tinyurl.com/2wx4rtnp

5. “Quick Facts: Nevada,” U.S. Census, https://tinyurl.com/4jewvkpd

6. “The Future Beyond the Pandemic: Nevada’s Plan for Recovery & Resilience,” Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, https://tinyurl.com/8956umf4

7. ibid

8. “Northern California Megaregion,” Wikipedia, https://tinyurl.com/258mtrxs

9. “The Future Beyond the Pandemic: Nevada’s Plan for Recovery & Resilience,” Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, https://tinyurl.com/8956umf4

10. ”Megaregions of the United States,” Wikipedia, https://tinyurl.com/223cak84

11. Steven G. Zylstra, “Here’s how Arizona leads the way in aerospace and defense,” BUSINESS NEWS, March 16, 2021, https://tinyurl.com/3c9yb7h7

12. The Future Beyond the Pandemic: Nevada’s Plan for Recovery & Resilience,” Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, https://tinyurl.com/8956umf4

13. “Elko, Nevada,” Wikipedia, https://tinyurl.com/34f3rukn

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