Social Policy


Nevada is a dynamic place, thanks to demographic trends and consumer preferences, among other factors. This focus area describes and analyzes the changing demographics in Nevada and assesses the potential impacts, particularly as they relate to long term impacts on the state budget, fiscal policies, and programs.

A Changing Nevada Data and Resources




Areas of research:

  • Social policy
  • Age (seniors and youth)
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Public attitudes
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Policy barriers and impacts
  • Transportation


  • Data collection and analysis
  • Grant writing
  • Program design and evaluation
  • Focus groups and facilitation 

Policy Reports and Research

Southern Nevada Human Sex Trafficking Gap Analysis Policy Brief

This policy brief serves as a companion piece to Southern Nevada Human Sex Trafficking Gap Analysis 2023, an extensive study recently released by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). It is intended to synthesize the findings of the report by highlighting five gaps that recurred as emerging themes across the spectrum of stakeholders. These are accompanied by policy recommendations that policymakers, administrative officials, and other interested parties may wish to take under advisement.

COVID-19 and Eviction Risk in Nevada

In response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, Governor Sisolak issued an evictions moratorium, which is scheduled to expire August 31, 2020. The Guinn Center partnered with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP) to project the potential increase in evictions following the expiration of the current state moratorium.

COVID-19 and the Impact of Recession on the Economy and Housing in Nevada

This policy brief examines the impact of recessions on the economy, broadly speaking, and on housing more specifically. By looking at metrics for Nevada following 9/11 and the 2007-2009 recession, or the Great Recession, we hope to provide insight into the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. 

What the CARES Act Means for Nevada’s Families and Businesses

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted into law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At $2 trillion, it is one of the largest relief packages in U.S. history. It aims to shore up the economy and provide relief to families facing economic hardship due to the downturn caused by the pandemic. Included in the act is an estimated $560 billion for individuals, $500 billion for large corporations, $377 billion for small businesses, $340 billion in support for State and Local Governments, and $154 billion for Public Health. In this policy brief, we provide a summary of the key provisions of the CARES Act for individuals, families, and businesses. 

See here for document in Spanish. Guinn Center CARES ACT Summary April 2020 (Spanish)

Mental Health Spending in Nevada

This policy brief examines mental health spending in Nevada over time. 

Capacity and Financing for Public Health Emergencies in Nevada

The scale of the novel coronavirus, and its associated disease, COVID-19, is yet unknown in Nevada as cases continue to arise. At the time of this writing, 55 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19. School and office closures, cancellations of major events, and temporary disruptions to the supply chain have heightened the sense of anxiety around the Silver State. The unease has been compounded by the State’s limited health care capacity, about which we have written beforeIn this policy brief, we present a snapshot of the current health care system capacity and then more closely examine budgetary resources available to Nevada for public health emergencies. 

A Step Up: Economic and Financial Security for Nevada’s Families

The Great Recession of 2008 hit communities across the United States, but nowhere were the effects more acute than in Nevada. While Nevada’s economy still has not recovered to 2006 pre-recession levels, it is trending upward. Nevada is among the highest-ranked states in job and personal income growth, coupled with steadily increasing output. However, while economic expansion has yielded significant returns in the aggregate, those economic gains have not been distributed evenly across different segments of the population. As the population has grown, political leaders and agency officials have grappled with questions surrounding unmet needs and constrained resources. This policy brief examines recent data and identifies several economic trends facing Nevada’s families. (2019)

Paid Sick Leave in Nevada

In 2019, Nevada enacted Senate Bill (SB) 312, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The legislation requires private employers with 50 or more employees to provide paid leave to all scheduled employees at a rate of at least 0.01923 hours of paid leave per hour of work performed. For a full-time worker, that amounts to approximately 40 hours per year or five 8-hour workdays. Temporary, seasonal, or on-call employees are exempt from the provisions of SB 312, as are those who receive paid leave under a contract, policy, collective bargaining agreement or other agreement. This policy brief examines the impact of paid sick leave legislation in Nevada. 

Nevada's Medicaid Population

Medicaid is a health coverage program for eligible low-income individuals that is administered by the states under federal requirements and jointly funded by the federal government and states. Nevada’s Medicaid Program provides medical assistance to more than half a million low-income adults and children in the state. This policy brief presents some selected characteristics of Nevada’s Medicaid beneficiaries.

Nevada's Uninsured Population

This report examines Nevada’s uninsured population. Its objective is to furnish a composite of Nevada’s uninsured population so that stakeholders have the requisite data to develop a set of policy prescriptions and enhance administrative capacity in service of health insurance coverage expansion, given the consequences of uninsurance. These consequences include: limited access to health care, adverse health outcomes, medical debt, economic losses, and burdens on governmental financial resources. 

The link above will direct the viewer to a zipped file. For an abridged version that does not include the appendix, please see here: 

Guinn Center NV Uninsured Population abridged

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits in Nevada

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal program, provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income families and individuals. The Federal government funds the program but shares the costs of operating the program with each state. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed to change existing federal rules to tighten eligibility requirements for receipt of SNAP benefits, thereby either delaying or discontinuing the ability of low-income Nevadans to receive these benefits. Here we provide a brief summary of Nevadans who depend on SNAP benefits.

Mental Health Governance: A Review of State Models and Guide for Nevada Decision Makers

Nevada is considering moving from a centrally controlled mental health system to one that is more responsive to local community needs. This report provides guiding principles for a quality governance system, presents a comparative analysis of models in seven states, and outlines decision points that will need to be considered by the Nevada Behavioral Health and Wellness Council and State Legislature. (December 2014)

Executive Summary                   Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 289: Interim Study of Mental Health Governance-Assembly Legislative Operations

Nevada's Mental Health Workforce: Shortages and Opportunities

Increasing Nevada’s mental health workforce is critical to improving behavioral health outcomes. This policy brief focuses on what Nevada can do to remove licensing barriers for mental health professionals who want to move to the Silver State. It also examines competitiveness of State mental health employee salaries compared to other states. It concludes by exploring long-term solutions for creating a sustainable mental health workforce. (October 2014)

Executive Summary                 Full Report

State of Latinos in the Intermountain West

Latinos are the fastest growing population in the Intermountain West but were hit harder by the Great Recession than non-Latinos. In addition, Nevada’s Latinos often fare worse than Latinos in other states in the region. States need to build an infrastructure of opportunity to improve economic resiliency, which includes access to quality education, effective training and job development, health care, and capital. (June 2014)

Executive Sumary

Full Report

Part I: The Demographic Landscape

Part II: The Infrastructure of Opportunity: An Assessment

Part III: Strategies for Building the Infrastructure of Opportunities for Latinos in the Intermountain West