Lincoln is the capital and the second-most populous city in Nebraska behind Omaha. Lincoln was founded as Lancaster in 1856 amid the salt flats and marshes. Lincoln is located in southeastern Nebraska, south of the Platte River.
The larger urban area has a population of 285,000, which makes it the 145th largest in the country. The Lincoln metropolitan area includes all of Lancaster County and Seward County. There is very little development outside of the city limits and Lincoln has no contiguous suburbs, with the largest town considered a suburb being Waverly, with a population of 3,300.
Refugees in Lincoln
Lincoln was designated as a refugee-friendly city by the government in the 1970s because of its size, educational institutions, and stable economy. Many refugees have settled in the city, and it was recently named as one of the Top 10 Most Welcoming Cities in America by Welcoming America. The refugee population began increasing in the 1980s in the area, and by the turn of the century, Lincoln had settled nearly 5,500 refugees. Lancaster County is now the 18th largest resettlement area in the country for Asian immigrants and refugees. Nebraska also ranks fifth in refugee resettlement per capita compared to other states of similar population.
Refugees from over 40 countries have settled in the city, which has brought new cultures and religions into the area. Lincoln is now home for Bosnian, Vietnamese, Afghani, Mexican, Russian, Kurdish, Sudanese, Ukrainian, Tajikistan, Chinese and other refugee populations.
In 2011 alone, 738 refugees from 13 countries made their way to Nebraska, but this official figure only includes people who were officially resettled in the state, not those who have moved to the area after being placed somewhere else.
The fastest-growing group of refugees in Lincoln is the Karen, who come from Thailand or Burma to escape an ethnic and political war. Close to 1,000 people from Thailand and Burma have arrived in the state since 2000, and there are estimated to be thousands of Karen in the state, with up to 1,500 in Lincoln. You can learn more about refugees in Nebraska here.
Lincoln Population Growth
In 2011, census estimates showed that Nebraska's population grew at a faster rate than the U.S. average for the past two years. Nebraska has been increasing at a rate of around 1% since 2008, while the U.S. population posted its smallest growth since 1945 of just 0.84%. Nebraska and Lincoln, in particular, are growing as more people move to the area for jobs, as the state has consistently had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Most of Nebraska is seeing a declining population, as most growth is concentrated around Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, and Kearney.
- Lincoln was named the healthiest city in the U.S. in 2008 and 2013 by the CDC.
- Lincoln was renamed for recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.
- Nebraska was once known as the Great American Desert.
- The 911 emergency system, now used across the country, was first developed and used in Lincoln.
- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has the largest weight room in the United States that covers 3/4 of an acre.
- Elephant Hall, a Lincoln museum, has the world's most extensive collection of elephant skeletons.
- In 2014, the American Lung Association ranked the Lincoln-Beatrice area as being among the Cleanest U.S. Cities for Ozone Air Pollution.
- Arbor Day got its start in Nebraska in 1872 when J. Sterling Morton proposed a holiday to promote planting trees in the state. About 1 million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day, and 45 other states had adopted the holiday by 1920.