U.S. Census: Nebraska's Population Grew by 7.4% Last Decade

April 26, 2021, 3:22 p.m. ·

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at Monday's U.S. Census annoucement. (Photo from press conference)

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Nebraska’s population grew by 7.4% last decade according to the latest data from the U.S. Census.

A total of 1,961,504 people live in the Cornhusker State, up from 1,826,341 in 2010. Nebraska is now the nation’s 37th largest state, jumping West Virginia in the latest census and adding more than 135,000 people over the last decade.

“The growth rate ranking of this 7.4% would be 21st highest among the states,” David Drozd, research coordinator with the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Center for Public Affairs Research said. “That is an improvement from where we were either last decade in the 2000’s when we ranked 30th or in the 1990’s when we were in about the bottom quarter of states, ranking 37th.”

There were nearly 100,000 more births than deaths in Nebraska over the past decade and the state saw 37,000 more people move here than leave, what is known as in-migration. Drozd said the exact population increase exceeded expectations.

“This is a little bit higher than what we projected or what our last estimates from the Census Bureau themselves would have stated,” Drozd said. “As we talking last fall, we thought we’d be in the 1,940,000 to 1,950,000 range, so it is coming out about 10,000 higher than our high estimate.”

The U.S. as a whole grew by nearly 23,000,000 people between 2010 and 2020, a more than 7% increase to just over 331,000,000 people. The population numbers mean Nebraska’s congressional apportionment of three members in the U.S House of Representatives remains unchanged. Population growth in the Midwest was the lowest of all major regions, at 3.1%. Population growth in Iowa was 4.7% and 3% in Kansas. With the exception of the 1990’s, Nebraska’s growth rate last decade was the highest in more than 100 years.

Midwest Newsroom Data Reporter Daniel Wheaton contributed to this report.