CARI: Center for Applied Rural Innovation


Date of this Version

August 1997


Published by the Center for Applied Rural Innovation, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Copyright © 1997 by J. Allen, S. Cordes, A. Smith, M. Spilker, and A. Hamilton.


This working paper presents findings from the first Annual Nebraska Rural Poll. The study is based on 2,754 responses from households in the 87 non-metropolitan counties in the state. The objectives of this paper are to answer the following questions:

1. All things considered, do rural Nebraskans believe they are better off today than five years ago, and do they believe they are better off than their parents were at their age?
2. Do rural Nebraskans believe they will be better or worse off ten years in the future?
3. What is the current level of psychological well-being among rural Nebraskans?
4. What services and amenities are least likely to be available to rural Nebraskans?
5. With what services and amenities are residents most dissatisfied, and how does this dissatisfaction vary by region, community size, and income?

Key findings include the following:

•&#;Nebraska’s rural residents, on average, believe they are better off today than five years ago, and are also better off than their parents were.

•&#;Many, but not most, rural Nebraskans believe they will be better off in the future than they are today.

•&#;Overall, only about 15 percent of the rural population are likely to feel that people do not care what happens to them.

•&#;Rural Nebraskans rank their family, the health of their family, and their own health as most important to their overall well-being.

•&#;Public transportation, mental health services, Head Start programs, nursing home care, and day care services were reported as the least available services to rural Nebraskans.

•&#;With respect to services and amenities, rural Nebraskans reported that they are most dissatisfied with entertainment, retail shopping, public transportation, and local government C both city/village and county government.

•&#;Regional differences in dissatisfaction with services and amenities do exist, but no overall regional pattern exists. For example, rural residents in the North Central region are most likely to be dissatisfied with public transportation and law enforcement, but residents in the Panhandle region are more likely to be dissatisfied with their local governments.