The U.S. Census estimates released this week shows Nebraska’s population topped 1.9 million residents for the first time in history. David Drozd is the research coordinator at the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska – Omaha and says the state’s population growth rate was substantial for 2016. Statistics show that Nebraska’s growth was the 18th highest rate in the nation. So far this decade Nebraska has been in the mid-20’s and in the 2000’s we were in the low 30’s so the state continues to improve its standing when it comes to other states and population growth.
Due to the earlier decline Nebraska was at risk of losing one of our three Congressional districts. Now that some years have passed and our population has increased at a rate that is similar to the U.S. average that risk has diminished.
Drozd says, “Now based on several scenarios I’m running out we are not seeing many scenarios where Nebraska would lose a seat. There is still a possibility especially if some of the migration might lower with some of the major employer announcements but overall we are in pretty good shape to keep all three seats in 2020.”
So why has there been such a population boom in Nebraska? Drozd says, “Nebraska is in the top five states when you look at birth rates or fertility rates. In the most recent numbers they gave the components of birth verses death in 2016 verses five years ago in 2011. Nebraska was one of only four states that saw an improvement in that natural increase. Deaths are kicking up across the country as Baby Boomers age but Nebraska’s strong birth keeps that as a positive factor for us.”