Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska and sits on the Missouri River, around 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River. Omaha also anchors the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area.
The Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, NE-IA Combined Statistical Area (CSA) has a population of about 935,000, and there are approximately 1.3 million people in the Greater Omaha area with a 50-mile radius around the city center.
Omaha today is a very diverse city, both in terms of population and economy. Forbes ranked Omaha as the Best Bang-For-The-Buck City in 2009 and the number one Fastest-Recovering City in America.
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area, with the city of Omaha established by European Americans from Council Bluffs. Over the next century, many ethnic groups made their way to Omaha. In 1910, the population was 3.9% black. Irish immigrants also moved to the area in high numbers, settling in present-day North Omaha, or Gophertown. Irish immigrants were followed by people from Poland who settled in Sheelytown. In the beginning, immigrants to the city worked in the stockyards and meatpacking industries, although later German immigrants founded the beer industry.
Jewish immigrants moved to Omaha in the early 20th century and began setting up businesses in the commercial area, which is now the heart of the African American community. Omaha also has a Little Italy neighborhood south of downtown.
There is a sizable population of Czechs in the city, and many institutions in South Omaha and Downtown show the history of European immigrants in Omaha. The majority of Omaha's Hispanic population are Mexican, who originally came to the city to work in rail yards. Other early ethnic groups include Danes, Swedes, and Poles.
In the last two decades, some African immigrants have settled in Omaha. There are around 8,500 Sudanese in the city, which is the largest population of Sudanese refugees in the U.S. There are ten tribes from Sudan in Omaha, along with immigrants from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, and Togo.
Omaha Population Growth
Since 2000, Omaha has grown more than 13% and the state has a whole has increased steadily, although it has lagged behind the national average for more than twenty years. Omaha and its suburbs are expected to continue moderate population growth in the coming decade.