Nebraska, Neighboring States are Becoming More Diverse

Aug. 16, 2021, 5 a.m. ·

Most counties lost population over the previous decade. (Courtesy photo)

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Nearly a quarter of Nebraskans are people of color, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census.

In 2010, 82% of Nebraskans identified as White, and in 2020 that number dropped to 76%. Much of the growth comes from the Hispanic population, as well as people who say they belong to more than one racial group.

The changes are due to a number of factors including an aging white population, immigration trends over the past decade as well as cultural changes to how people define their own race.

Kansas and Iowa saw similar trends with growth among the Hispanic and Black categories. On the whole, Nebraska’s racial makeup is fairly similar to Kansas.

Across the Great Plains and the Midwest, people are leaving -- or possibly dying -- in rural areas; as most of the population growth is found in urban centers.

Nebraska now has a new least populous county -- it’s McPherson with just 399 people. In 2010 Arthur County had that distinction with just 434 people. Missouri also had two counties that lost more than 20% of their population in this census -- Oregon and Ripley in the Ozarks along the Arkansas border.

The only counties in our region with double-digit growth are urban ones. Dallas County, Iowa -- part of the Des Moines metro area -- grew by more than 50% ; outclassing Sarpy County’s growth of just 20%.