Nebraska Population 2018


Although it has an almost central location within the United States, Nebraska is located on the Midwest plains and has many landmarks that claim to be the gateway to the west. Like many states in the region, Nebraska enjoyed a population explosion in the second half of the 19th century due to the great California Gold Rush. In 2018, it was estimated that the state's population was 1.93 million.

It's estimated that the population of Nebraska in 2018 is now 1.93 million, up slightly from 1.82 million at the 2010 Census. Nebraska's growth rate is now 0.80%, which ranks 25th in the country.

The last nationwide census within the United States of America took place in 2010, and it was confirmed that 1,826,341 citizens were living in the Cornhusker State. Those figures represented a rise of 6.7% on the findings from the 2000 Census, which declared final numbers of 1,711,263. It is now estimated that these figures have climbed even further to a total population of 1,896,190, an increase of 3.8% since the last Census.

With over 530 villages and cities in the state, only one has a population of more than 300,000. Omaha has a population estimated at 443,885, while Lincoln, the capital city, has 277,348 residents. These are the only two cities with a population over 60,000.

Nebraska Population Density

Nebraska’s surface area covers approximately 77,354 square miles (200,520 square kilometers) and that makes this the 16th largest state in the US in terms of size. Based on 2011 population estimates, for every square mile of Nebraskan territory, there is an average of 23.8 people. Overall, Nebraska is only the 43rd ranked state in terms of population density.

Approximately one in three Nebraskans live in its two major cities, Omaha and Lincoln. 89% of Nebraska's cities have less than 3,000 people, which is on par with 5 other Midwestern states, but hundreds of towns in Nebraska have less than 1,000 residents. Many rural schools in the state have been forced to consolidate.

53% of the 93 counties in Nebraska reported declining numbers between 1990 and 2000, and this trend has continued as more urban areas have experienced great growth. Between 2000 and 2010, Lincoln saw a 14.5% increase, while Omaha's population grew 6.3% in just 5 years.

Nebraska Population History

Nebraska was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and became part of Louisiana (later Missouri) Territory. It was established as a territory in 1854, including extensive areas northwest and west of the present State; it underwent various reductions in area in 1861 and 1863. Nebraska was admitted as a State on March 1, 1867, with nearly its present boundaries. Its last significant boundary change was the transfer of an area from Dakota Territory in 1882.

Census coverage of Nebraska began in 1860 in the eastern part of the present State. The 1860 census of Nebraska Territory also included scattered forts and settlements in present-day Wyoming and the Dakotas west of the Missouri River. Other such settlements in the portion of the Territory included in present-day Montana were reported with Dakota Territory, and those in present-day Colorado were reported with Colorado Territory, although these two territories were not established until 1861. By 1890, census coverage included the entire State. For a discussion of possible errors in the 1890 counts for Nebraska, see Edgar Z. Palmer, The Correctness of the 1890 Census of Population for Nebraska Cities (Nebraska History, Vol. XXXII, no. 4, December 1951, pages 259-267).

Nebraska Population Chart

Nebraska Population History

Figures dating from 1860 show that the population of Nebraska at the time was just 28,841 but the Gold Rush was soon to have its effect. Just ten years later, those numbers had grown by over 325% to 122,993, and similar increases throughout the 1800s meant that the Nebraska population had reached one million by the start of the 20th century.

As the 1900s progressed, increases in percentage terms tended to stay within single figures on a census by census basis. There was an anomaly in 1940 when it was shown that numbers had actually dropped from those ten years earlier, but the overall picture was one of growth.

That steady, if unspectacular, growth has meant that the Nebraska population of 2016 is edging very slowly toward the two million landmark, although it's not quite there yet.

Nebraska Population Growth

The population of Nebraska is rising, even if that growth isn’t at the same rate as seen in other states across the country. At the next census in 2020, it will be interesting to see just how close the state’s numbers can stretch toward their next milestone of two million, although it's projected that the population in Nebraska will only reach .93 million by 2025.

Population Data via US Census

Nebraska Growth Rate

Nebraska Population Rank

Year Pop % Change

Nebraska Facts

Nebraska Population in 2018Source: Hanyou23

  • Bellevue, which was established in 1823, was Nebraska's first permanent white settlement.
  • Nebraska is one of the leading farming areas in the world.
  • Travelers on the Oregon Trail frequently wrote about Nebraska's landmark Chimney Rock.
  • Nebraska is the only state to have a unicameral legislature.
  • Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. On the first Arbord Day, approximately one million trees were planted in the state.
  • The 911 emergency system used in the US was developed and used in Lincoln.
  • The largest hand-planted forest in the US in the Nebraska National Forest, which covers over 140,000 acres.

Nebraska Population Density by County

Douglas County

  • Population555,894
  • Density1692.30 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20107.19%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State29.14%

Nebraska Population Growth Rate by County

When comparing data from the last Census in 2010 to estimates taken in 2015,this information shows that the counties in Nebraska have experienced population changes in both directions. As far as population growth during the 5-year period, only two counties showed significant growth. Banner County along the western border grew by 13.06%, while Sarpy County on the eastern border trailed behind with a still-respectable population growth of 9.98%. A handful of other counties showed a smaller rate of growth during this period, including Cherry, Grant, and Blaine Counties.

More counties in the state showed declining populations based on the data from 2010 and 2015. McPherson County posted the highest decline in population, with a recorded number of 11.55%. This is followed by Dundy County at 10.41%. All but two counties along the southern border registered decreases in population, including Kimball, Furnas, and Red Willow.

Nebraska Population Pyramid 2018

0k5k10k15kNebraska Male Population0k5k10k15kNebraska Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

To compare Nebraska to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population
Black or African American89,879
Two or More Races45,386
Some Other Race38,348
American Indian and Alaska Native15,865
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander1,227

In 2004, data showed that about 4.8% of Nebraska's population was made up of foreign-born residents. The state has the largest Czech American and non-Mormon Danish American population in the entire nation. Thurston County has a significant American Indian majority population.

Between 2000 and 2010, Nebraska also saw an increase of over 77% in its Hispanic and Latino population. According to data from 2011, 31.0% of Nebraska's population under the age of 1 were classified as minorities. Some analysts believe that the Hispanic and Latino population of the state could triple by the year 2050.

The largest ancestry groups in the state are German (38.6%), Irish (12.4%), English (9.6%), Mexican (8.7%) and Czech (5.5%). This makes German-Americans by far the largest group in Nebraska.

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 1-Year Survey)

Languages Spoken in Nebraska

Language Population Percentage

This chart shows the top 10 languages that are spoken at home in Nebraska. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Nebraska Economy

High school graduate or higher 90.5%
Bachelor's degree or higher 29%
With a Disability 7.3%
Persons Without Health Insurance 11.2%
In Civilian Labor Force 70.2%
In Civilian Labor Force (Female) 65.6%
Food Services Sales $3,094,498
Health Care Revenue $12,869,418,000
Manufacturers Shipments $57,499,177,000
Merchant Wholesaler Sales $42,618,995,000
Total Retail Sales $30,470,717,000
Total Retail Sales per Capita $16,422
Mean Travel Time to Work 18.2 minutes
Median Household Income $52,400
Per Capita Income (past 12 months) $27,339
Persons in Poverty 12.4%

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Nebraska for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 3.3% and the labor force participation rate is 70.2%.

Nebraska Business

Total Nonemployer Establishments 129,519
All firms 164,089
Men-owned Firms 83,696
Women-owned Firms 51,936
Minority-owned Firms 14,571
Nonminority-owned Firms 144,122
Veternan-owned Firms 16,693
Nonveteran-owned Firms 137,254

Nebraska Housing

Housing Units 796,793
Owner Occupied Housing Rate 66.5%
Median Value Owner Occupied Housing Units $130,100
Median Monthly Owner Costs (w/Mortgage) $1,279
Median Monthly Owner Costs (no mortgage) $468
Median Gross Rent $721
Building Permits 8,096
Households 731,347
Persons per Household 2.47 persons
Living in Same House 1 Year Ago 83.5%
Language Other than English Spoken at Home 10.7%
Data Sources
  1. Nebraska State Data Center
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)