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Those interested and concerned about rural Nebraska often focus on population data. In recent months, the media have been very active in focusing on this issue, largely because of the release of the 2000 U. S. Census numbers. For the most part, media reports and analysis have painted a fairly bleak picture of what happened in rural Nebraska during the decade of the 1990s. In this short article we summarize how the recent Census data can be used to paint such a bleak picture and refer to this as “the glass is half empty” story. We then provide an alternative perspective that has received little attention, referring to it as “the glass is half full” story.