Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska


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graphic used with permission of the designer, Richard Hawkins, Design & Illustration



Community leadership and involvement are important parts of community development. Rural communities rely on volunteers for many community development activities as well as local leadership positions. In smaller communities in particular, community members often take on multiple roles. Given these challenges, how involved are rural Nebraskans in community and political activities? How do they feel about the leadership in their community? How often do they have social interactions with others during a typical month? This paper provides a detailed analysis of these questions. This report details 1,776 responses to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll, the 24th annual effort to understand rural Nebraskans’ perceptions. Respondents were asked a series of questions about their community involvement and community leadership. Trends for some of the questions are examined by comparing data from the 2015 Rural Poll. In addition, comparisons are made among different respondent subgroups, that is, comparisons by age, occupation, region, etc. Based on these analyses, some key findings emerged: