Becky Vogt, with the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says some trends seen in the Rural Poll have continued for years.
“We asked about how they believe their community has changed for the better or the worse during the past year,” Vogt says. “We’ve asked that over time and consistently, more people believe their community has changed for the better compared to those who believe it has changed for the worse, and in addition, we also ask about their expected change in their community ten years from now and that also has increased during the past five years.”
Vogt says community services play a key role in rural Nebraskans’ community outlook.
“We typically see people living in those larger communities are more satisfied with different services, including education, health care, a wide range of services,” Vogt says. “I think some of that plays into it, because they typically have more of those types of services and resources available so they’re more likely to see their community has more room to grow and improve.”
Vogt says a strong support system from friends and families also contributes to that feeling of satisfaction.
“We do see that residents living in the smaller communities, they have been more likely to be satisfied with the social aspects of the community,” Vogt says. “They’re the ones that are more likely to say over time that their communities are more friendly, trusting and supportive.”
The UNL Rural Poll is the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans’ perceptions on quality of life and policy issues.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton