CARI: Center for Applied Rural Innovation


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published by the Center for Applied Rural Innovation, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Copyright © 1997 by R. Filkins, J. Allen, S. Cordes, A. Smith, and E. Jarecki.


This working paper presents findings from the second annual Nebraska Rural Poll. The study is based on 3,264 responses from households in the 87 non-metropolitan counties in the state. The objectives of this paper are to answer the following questions:

1. What percent of rural Nebraskans have employment, and what is the nature of that employment: full-time? part-time? self-employed?
2. What benefits do rural Nebraskans have at their place of employment? Health insurance? Paid vacation? Other?
3. What is the extent and nature of self-employment in rural Nebraska?
4. What is the extent of telecommuting and the use of various telecommunications technologies in rural Nebraska?

Key findings include the following:

•&#;Seventy-six percent of the respondents reported having some form of employment in 1996. Of these, sixty-one percent were employed by someone else; twenty percent were self-employed; and nineteen percent were both employed by someone else and were also self-employed.

•&#;Of the sixty-one percent employed by someone else (and without any self-employment), approximately eighty-six percent were employed in at least one fulltime job, including about twenty percent who were supplementing their full-time job(s) with part-time work.

•&#;Respondents who had nothing but part-time jobs were more likely to be age 65 and over, females, those with less than a high school diploma and those who were widowed or never married.

•&#;Most employed respondents received paid vacation, health insurance, an employer-sponsored retirement program and paid sick leave from their employer.

•&#;The proportion of self-employed tended to increase with age and decrease with community size.

•&#;Rural Nebraskans with the highest incomes had disproportionately large representation among the self-employed category, including those who were self-employed in conjunction with another job.

•&#;Just over one-third of the self-employed had a non-agricultural home-based business.

•&#;The vast majority of rural Nebraskans do not have any telecommuters in their household. Certain groups that were more likely to have a telecommuter were: respondents with higher household incomes, those between the ages of 40 and 49 and the respondents with higher educational levels.

•&#;The telecommunications technologies used more often by rural Nebraskans include: a telephone answering machine, a personal computer, a cellular phone and satellite TV. On the other hand, few respondents reported using interactive TV, electronic medical monitoring and an electronic bulletin board.

•&#;Certain groups were more likely to use most of those technologies: those with higher household incomes, those with higher educational levels, respondents living in the larger communities, and those less than 50 years of age.