What did the 2020 Census reveal about Nebraska? Experts from UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) recently helped area media understand what the Census numbers meant for communities locally and statewide.
The U.S. Census Bureau released its results on Monday, April 26, 2021. Hours after the results went public, David Drozd, research coordinator for CPAR, spoke with journalists to help put the numbers in perspective.
Reporters from a number of local and regional news outlets attended a media availability held via Zoom resulting in nearly a dozen media mentions. Expertise shared by David Drozd was featured in a report by the Associated Press which was republished widely locally and regionally. Outlets like WOWT, KETV, and News Channel Nebraska ran stories on-air and online. Others like the Omaha World-Herald, NET Nebraska, and Lincoln Journal Star also provided coverage. The story could be seen even as far away as Kearney via NTV and Sioux City, Iowa via KTIV.
The key takeaway: For the first time in over a century, Nebraska’s population grew at the same rate as the rest of the country.
The Census data showed that Nebraska had a population of 1,961,504 as of 2020, making the state the 37th largest in the nation. According to Drozd, Nebraska’s population grew by 7.4% since 2010 which matches the national growth rate for the first time since at least 1900. He pointed to population gains in big and mid-sized cities as key factors in the growth.
Drozd mentioned to reporters that he had not expected the state’s growth to match the nation’s growth, but he believes it positions Nebraska well to maintain its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The media availability was made possible by close collaboration between CPAR and UNO’s Office of University Communications. CPAR provided an early heads up that Census data was expected to be released soon, enabling both teams to proactively coordinate and prepare for media interviews once the data was released.
CPAR collaboratively produces and disseminates high-quality public scholarship about topics that impact the lives of Nebraskans. Ongoing projects from CPAR include policy analyses for the Planning Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature, the Nebraska Rural Transit Project, governing.unomaha.edu, and designation by the U.S. Census Bureau as a statewide liaison for disseminating a range of data products. Visit cpar.unomaha.edu to access CPAR’s extensive data resources on state and local issues in Nebraska.
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