Date of this Version
Nebraska Rural Poll: A Research Report, no. 17. Also available at http://ruralpoll.unl.edu.
By many different measures, rural Nebraskans are positive about their community. Many rural Nebraskans rate their community favorably on its social dimensions: as friendly, trusting and supportive. Most rural Nebraskans say it would be difficult to leave their community and have a positive attachment to their community. And, most rural Nebraskans disagree that their community is powerless to control its future.
Across all years of this study, rural Nebraskans’ views about the change in their community have generally been positive. The proportion believing their community has changed for the better during the past year has usually been greater than the proportion believing it has changed for the worse, especially during the past six years when the gap between the two has widened. In addition, rural Nebraskans’ optimism about the expected change in their community ten years from now has increased during the past seven years.
Some differences in residents’ evaluations of their community exist by community size. Residents of larger communities are more likely than residents of smaller communities to say their community has changed for the better during the past year and will be a better place to live ten years from now. However, residents of smaller communities are more likely than residents of larger communities to say it would be difficult to leave their community and to have positive attachment to their community.
Except for some services that are largely unavailable in rural communities, rural Nebraskans are generally satisfied with basic community services and amenities. However, the proportion of rural Nebraskans satisfied with many social services and entertainment services has decreased across all 21 years of the study. Declines in satisfaction levels across all 21 years are seen with nursing home care, medical care services, senior centers, mental health services, entertainment, retail shopping and restaurants.
Few rural Nebraskans believe they have been treated less acceptingly in their community because of their race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or economic status. And, most rural Nebraskans view diversity positively.
Most rural Nebraskans rate themselves as having conservative political views on both economic and social issues. They also rate their community’s political views on both economic and social views as conservative. In fact, they view their community’s political views on social issues as more conservative than their own.
Rural Nebraskans’ perceptions of their current situation and their outlook on the future continues to be optimistic. In addition, most rural Nebraskans disagree that people are powerless to control their own lives.
Certain groups are more likely to be optimistic about their current situation and expected future: younger persons, persons with higher household incomes and persons with higher education levels.
Following trends in previous years, rural Nebraskans are most satisfied with their marriage, family, friends, the outdoors, their safety and their general quality of life. They continue to be less satisfied with job opportunities, current income level, their ability to build assets/wealth and financial security during retirement.