Mapping and Chronicling Population Growth in Rural Nebraska

Authors: Andrew Husa*,
Topics: Rural Geography, Population Geography
Keywords: Rural, Great Plains, Nebraska, Population, Small Towns
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper follows the towns of under 2500 people in Nebraska that grew in population between the decennial censuses of 1950 and 2010. While the large number of small towns in rural Nebraska that have declined in population throughout the 20th century are well documented, my goal is to map and chronicle the small towns that have been successful in not only sustaining their population, but adding to it. My research begins with a focus on the differences in population distribution from the 1950 decennial census, the last in which Nebraska’s population was predominantly rural, and the 2010 decennial census, which saw the state’s rural population decline to below thirty percent. After mapping the towns which have grown between these two censuses and interpreting reasons why based on their geographical patterns, I look at six small towns – Axtell, Blue Hill, Imperial, Morrill, Wakefield, and Wilber - that have grown substantially more than the others, and explored preliminary reasons why through a series of interviews with residents on the demographic, economic, historical, and social characteristics of their hometowns.

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