2018 Nebraska Rural Poll Reports

Individual and Community Quality of Life in Nonmetropolitan Nebraska

released September 27, 2018

Recent Census estimates reveal more Nebraska counties saw population growth (and a decline in loss) during the current decade compared to the previous decade. However, many rural counties continue to experience population loss. And, while certain indicators have improved, low agricultural commodity prices have continued to depress farm income which could hinder economic growth in the state. Given these challenges, how do rural Nebraskans feel about their community? Are they satisfied with the services provided by their community? How do rural Nebraskans believe they are doing and how do they view their future? How satisfied are they with various items that influence their well-being? Have these views changed over the past 23 years? This paper provides a detailed analysis of these questions.

Social Issues in Nonmetropolitan Nebraska: Perceptions of Social Stigma and Drug and Alcohol Abuse

released August 14, 2018

Some common activities may be perceived as having levels of stigma (bringing shame to a person) associated with them. These activities can range from applying for income assistance to seeking mental health care to filing for personal bankruptcy. Residents of rural communities can face unique challenges when doing these activities since people tend to know more of their fellow residents. They may refuse to do these activities to avoid potential shame or embarrassment. Rural communities have also struggled with drug abuse. Now, abuse of prescription painkillers and other opioids are getting increased attention. Given all this, do rural Nebraskans feel it brings shame on a person to do various activities? Do they believe people in their community believe it brings shame to a person to do those same activities? How much of a problem is the abuse of various drugs in their community? Has the problem of prescription painkiller abuse gotten worse over the past five years? This paper provides a detailed analysis of these questions.


Economic Development in Nonmetropolitan Nebraska: Internet Use, Nature-Based Tourism, Federal Tax Policy and Workforce Development

released July 24, 2018

Many items impact economies of rural communities. High-speed Internet services provide many opportunities for community residents. Nature-based tourist activities can also provide a source of income for rural communities and residents. Federal tax policy and workforce development are two additional items that affect residents and communities.  Given this, what is the economic impact of the Internet to rural Nebraskans? What nature-based tourist activities are available in their communities? How do they think the federal tax policy will impact their incomes and other items? Have rural Nebraskans changed jobs or careers in the past ten years? Who do they believe is responsible for workforce development training? This paper provides a detailed analysis of these questions.