Poll: Rural Nebraskans Are Most Optimistic in 24 Years

56% of respondents to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll believe they are better off than they were five years ago, up from 52% last year. (Photo courtesy Craig Chandler, University of Nebraska Communication)
September 11, 2019 - 2:37pm

A new poll shows rural Nebraskans have the highest level of optimism in over two decades.


The annual Nebraska Rural Poll, conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Agriculture Economics Department, indicates 56% of respondents said they’re better off than they were five years ago. 2019’s results are the highest mark in the poll’s 24-year history.

Becky Vogt, survey research manager in the Agriculture Economics Department, said even with the spring flooding and current farm economy, rural Nebraskans are optimistic.

“It was a little bit surprising to us, but it does match the trends we’ve been seeing over the past few years,” Vogt said.

2018's poll results indicate 52% of respondents they'll be better off in five years. The poll details respondents showed increased satisfaction in job opportunities, job security and financial security.

The survey also shows the Nebraska Panhandle isn’t as optimistic, as only four in 10 of the respondents said they’ll be better off in the future.

“We did feel like maybe Cabela’s closing again, even though some time has passed, it still may be having some effects there,” Vogt said.

Researchers will need to take a closer look to find out why the Panhandle is less optimistic, Vogt said. 1,776 responses were collected in 2019, a 28% response rate.

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