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2006.07.31 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Center for Public Affairs Research Releases State Population Report

Omaha - A just released report from The Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) that focuses on the population of Nebraska points to a continuing and expanding divide between urban and rural counties.  In addition to increased urbanization, data from the 2005 Nebraska Population Report also shows that half of the state's counties are now recording more deaths than births each year.

"This report highlights trends that we have seen and documented over the past few years," said Jerry Deichert, CPAR director.  "While there may not be any surprises here, we do see even more dramatically how people are moving away from smaller towns and cities to places like Omaha and Lincoln."

Sarpy County, just south of Omaha, had the largest growth rate from 2000 through 2005 at 13.7 percent.  During the same period, Blaine County experienced the most pronounced decline at 17 percent.  Twenty-three of the state's 93 counties grew between 2000 and 2005, with most of those counties tending to be located in the eastern one-third of Nebraska or along Interstate 80.

"It's been called a ‘fishhook,' Deichert said.  "When you see a state map with population increases highlighted, the counties that have gained population have that sort of shape."

The population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and compiled by CPAR also show that 18 counties that experienced growth during the 1990s have seen population declines during this decade.

         Other highlights:

·      The current rate of growth within Nebraska is about half of the overall U.S. growth rate.  Since 2000, the state has averaged about .5 percent annual growth.

·      Statewide, Nebraska continues to gain population through natural increase – the annual number of births being larger than the number of deaths.

·      Only half of Nebraska's counties experienced more births than deaths between 2000 and 2005.  Again, increases tended to occur in the eastern one-third of the state and along counties located near Interstate 80, as well as some counties in the northwestern part of the state.

·      Sex and age pyramids show that the White non-Hispanic population is older than the state's minority population.

·      Sixteen counties experienced increases via net migration between 2000 and 2005.  Those counties tended to be located near Lincoln and Omaha.

·      The percentage of county residents ages 65 and over increases as the county type becomes increasingly rural.  Those 65 and older comprise 10.4 percent of the population in metropolitan counties; 14.9 percent in non-metropolitan counties; 17.8 percent in counties having a city with at least 2,500 residents; and 21.4 percent in counties without a city of 2,500 residents.

·      Forty percent of Nebraska's cities and towns had fewer than 250 residents in 2005.  The median size city in the state, Brule, had 334 citizens.

"People and communities can use this population report to help understand where their counties and communities stand and can look at how these trends have developed over time," Deichert said.  "There's a wealth of information to draw from, and this should help communities and businesses with their planning."

The report is available online at www.unomaha.edu/cpar. A variety of state historical figures and population breakdowns by age, race and ethnicity are included.  For more information, call Deichert at (402) 554-2134 or David Drozd at (402) 554-2132. 

"Hamid Karzai is a natural statesman.  He understands the challenges that face him, his government and its friends in uniting his countrymen for the purpose of reconstructing their war-torn nation," Gouttierre said.  "His father schooled him in the essential role of human rights and the participation that all Afghans, regardless of ethnicity or gender, play in this effort.  He speaks often of the integral role that education and agricultural development play in that reconstruction." 

Karzai, born in 1957, attended college in India and speaks fluent English.  He has been embraced by a broad spectrum of factions in Afghanistan, where ethnic, regional, religious, linguistic and tribal identities dominate politics.

CAS has been awarded nearly $60 million in grants and contracts by the U.S. Department of State relating to Afghanistan.  The projects these awards funded have provided backup for a variety of programs of technical assistance, training, and educational exchanges, including the Education Sector Support Project (ESSP), Afghan Scholarship Program (ASP), Weber Scholarship Program (WSP), Instructional Material Development Center (IMDC), ARRENA Project, the Afghanistan Teacher Education Project (ATEP), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Afghanistan Community Development Study.  In 2003, CAS received a federal grant to help re-establish the Fulbright program in Afghanistan.  The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ended the program, which had previously played a vital role in educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Afghanistan.

Jack Shroder, UNO professor of geology and the CAS research coordinator, and his departmental colleagues have received additional grants for research activities relating to the UNO Atlas of Afghanistan Project.  The sArthur and Daisy Paul Afghanistan Collection continues to grow and sets the pace for American university collections related specifically to one country.

The CAS maintains a field office in Kabul, Afghanistan, and continues its cooperation with the Afghan government and its ministry of education.

Karzai's known travel plans for his May 2005 trip also include stops at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and a NATO conference in Brussels, Belgium.

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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