It appears rural Nebraska residents remain optimistic about the future of their communities.
Rural Nebraskans seem to be a pretty optimistic bunch.
The 2016 Nebraska Rural Poll shows rural residents consider their towns friendly, trusting, and supportive. Most believe they control their own fate.
“When residents are more optimistic about the future then they’re more likely to continue to get involved to make sure that that future does happen,” Survey Research Manager Becky Vogt with the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Many more rural Nebraskans say their communities have changed for the better during the past year. Consistently, over the past six years, rural Nebraska residents tell pollsters they believe their communities will be better places to live a decade from now. In fact, that optimism has increased in the annual poll.
A vast majority of Nebraskans rate their town as friendly, trusting, and supportive. Fifty-two percent say it would tough to leave with only 32% saying it would be easy. A full 60% disagree with the suggestion that their community is powerless to control its future.
Vogt says the survey doesn’t shy from the challenges rural residents face.
“Just helps us to see how people are viewing their communities overall and maybe what room for improvements there might be and how can we bring that about,” Vogt says.
Pollsters asked rural resident to rate items which would attract people to move there. Most mentioned safety, a family environment, the outdoor experience, church communities, and friendliness.
City size makes a difference. In communities of around 10,000, residents display more optimism about the community’s future. Residents in smaller communities, those of 500 or fewer residents, are less likely to leave their town.
Most rural Nebraska residents tell pollsters they are conservative, both politically and socially.
The Rural Poll is the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans’ perceptions on quality of life and policy issues, according to the University of Nebraska. This year’s response rate was 29% with a margin of error of plus or minus 2%. To get complete poll results, click here.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll in cooperation with the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute, with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Agricultural Research Division in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:46]