Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



NEBRASKA POLICY CHOICES 1987, ed. Russell L. Smith (Omaha: Center for Applied Urban Research, 1987).


Copyright © 1987 University of Nebraska Board of Regents.


This chapter looks at historical and contemporary trends in Nebraska's system of incorporated places. Particular attention is given to changes in the number and proportion of places in different population size categories, the movement of places between different size categories, and what Nebraska's settlement system is likely to look like in the future. A review of past and recent trends, together with forecasts about the future, indicates a likely increase in the number of very small places, major shifts for middle-sized places, and continued growth in the number of places over 5,000 population. Based upon these trends, three separate needs tied to each community type are identified. These include managing decline, strategic economic planning assistance, and growth center promotion. The chapter concludes with a discussion of criteria that might guide choices about which categories of places in Nebraska to assist and how to provide help to those places identified for assistance.