Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



Business in Nebraska vol. 58, no. 671


Copyright 2002 by Bureau of Business Research, University of Nebraska.


The Tri-Cities-Grand Island, Hastings, and Kearneyhave defied what the first American explorer of the area predicted. In 1806 Zebulon Pike believed it would " ... become in time equally celebrated as the sandy desarts (sic) of Africa." In fact, the opposite is true. The TriCities area is one of the fastest growing in Nebraska.

How has this area become so prosperous? A review of growth in· the Tri-Cities and the surrounding area over the past half century reveals some key facts that tell the success story. This review considers the Tri-Cities' past, present, and future population growth.

This study examines the Tri-Cities and their corresponding counties, Adams, Buffalo, and Hall, along with the communities within a 35-mile radius of the Tri-Cities. Clay, Hamilton, Howard, Kearney, Merrick, Phelps, and Webster Counties were studied, as well as portions of Dawson, Franklin, Harlan, Nuckolls, Polk, Sherman, and York.

Demographic Characteristics


Hispanic Population


Proximity to the Tri-Cities

Transition from Nonmetro to Metro

Other Aspects of Growth