Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Published in Great Plains Research 11:2 (Fall 2001). Copyright © 2001 Center for Great Plains Studies.


Recent employment growth in the northern Great Plains may be stimulating increased in-migration. This study, expanding on our initial report (Leistritz et al. 2000), seeks to identify the salient characteristics of recent in-migrants to Nebraska and North Dakota, using data from mailed surveys conducted in Nebraska in 1996 and North Dakota in 1997. The survey respondents were generally younger than the populations of Nebraska and North Dakota overall; about 60% were between 21 and 40 years old. The educational level of the migrants was also higher than that of the states' populations overall-45% of the new residents were college graduates and another 35% reported some college or postsecondary vocational/technical school attendance. The migrants' motivations appeared more linked to quality of life values than economic incentives; reasons for moving most often cited were desire for a safer place to live (58%), desire to be closer to relatives (54%), lower cost of living (48%), and quality of the natural environment (47%). These new residents represent a very productive cohort of people who were needed to augment population strata that were severely depleted by the outmigration of the 1980s.