Nevada is a state located in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of 110,561 square miles (286,350 km2) and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its three largest incorporated cities. Nevada's capital is Carson City. Nevada is largely desert and semiarid, with much of it located within the Great Basin. Areas south of the Great Basin are located within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains lie on the western edge. Approximately 86% of the state's land is owned by the US government under various jurisdictions, both civilian and military.
The establishment of legalized gambling and lenient marriage and divorce proceedings in the 20th century transformed Nevada into a major tourist destination. Nevada is the only state in the U.S. where prostitution is legal. The tourism industry remains Nevada's largest employer, with mining continuing to be a substantial sector of the economy as Nevada is the fourth largest producer of gold in the World.