EtymologyNebraska's name is the result of Anglicisation, anglicization of the archaic Chiwere language, Otoe words ''Ñí Brásge'', pronounced (contemporary Otoe ''Ñí Bráhge''), or the Omaha-Ponca language, Omaha ''Ní Btháska'', pronounced , meaning "flat water", after the Platte River which flows through the state.
HistoryIndigenous peoples lived in the region of present-day Nebraska for thousands of years before European colonization. The historic tribes in the state included the , Missouria, Ponca, Pawnee, Otoe, and various branches of the Lakota ( Sioux), some of which migrated from eastern areas into this region. When European exploration, trade, and settlement began, both Spain and France sought to control the region. In the 1690s, Spain established trade connections with the Apache people, Apaches, whose territory then included western Nebraska. By 1703, France had developed a regular trade with the native peoples along the Missouri River in Nebraska, and by 1719 had signed treaties with several of these peoples. After war broke out between the two countries, Spain dispatched an armed expedition to Nebraska under Villasur expedition, Lieutenant General Pedro de Villasur in 1720. The party was attacked and destroyed near present-day Columbus, Nebraska, Columbus by a large force of Pawnees and Otoes, both allied with the French. The massacre ended Spanish exploration of the area for the remainder of the 18th century.Hanson, James A
GeographyThe state is bordered by to the north; to the east and to the southeast, across the Missouri River; to the south; to the southwest; and to the west. The state has List of counties in Nebraska, 93 counties and is split between two time zones, with the state's eastern half observing Central Time Zone, Central Time and the western half observing Mountain Time Zone, Mountain Time. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Platte River, formed by the confluence of the North Platte River, North Platte and the South Platte River, South Platte, runs through the state's central portion, the Niobrara River flows through the northern part, and the Republican River runs across the southern part. The first Constitution of Nebraska in 1866 described Nebraska's boundaries as follows (Note that the description of the Northern border is no longer accurate, since the Keya Paha River and the Niobrara River no longer form the boundary of the state of Nebraska. Instead, Nebraska's Northern border now extends east along the forty-third degree of north latitude until it meets the Missouri River directly.): Nebraska is composed of two major land regions: the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The easternmost portion of the state was scoured by Ice Age glaciers; the Dissected Till Plains were left after the glaciers retreated. The Dissected Till Plains is a region of gently rolling hills; Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln are in this region. The Great Plains occupy most of western Nebraska, with the region consisting of several smaller, diverse land regions, including the Sandhills (Nebraska), Sandhills, the Pine Ridge (region), Pine Ridge, the Rainwater Basin, the High Plains (United States), High Plains and the Wildcat Hills. Panorama Point, at , is Nebraska's highest point; though despite its name and elevation, it is a relatively low rise near the and borders. A past tourism slogan for the state of Nebraska was "Where the West Begins" (it has since been changed to "Honestly, it's not for everyone"). Locations given for the beginning of the "West" in Nebraska include the Missouri River, the intersection of 13th and O Streets in Lincoln (where it is marked by a red brick star), the 100th meridian west, 100th meridian, and Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Chimney Rock.
Federal land managementAreas under the management of the National Park Service include: * Agate Fossil Beds National Monument near Harrison, Nebraska, Harrison * California Trail, California National Historic Trail * Chimney Rock National Historic Site near Bayard, Nebraska, Bayard * Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska, Beatrice * Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail * Missouri National Recreational River near Ponca, Nebraska, Ponca * Mormon Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail * Niobrara National Scenic River near Valentine, Nebraska, Valentine * Oregon Trail, Oregon National Historic Trail * Pony Express, Pony Express National Historic Trail * Scotts Bluff National Monument at Gering, Nebraska, Gering Areas under the management of the National Forest Service include: * Nebraska National Forest * Oglala National Grassland * Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
ClimateTwo major climatic zones are represented in Nebraska. The eastern two-thirds of the state has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen ''Dfa''), although the southwest of this region may be classed as a humid subtropical climate (''Cfa'') using the boundary. Nebraska Panhandle, The Panhandle and adjacent areas bordering Colorado have a semi-arid climate (Köppen ''BSk''). The entire state experiences wide seasonal variations in both temperature and precipitation. Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska, with hot summers and generally cold winters. However, chinook winds from the Rocky Mountains provide a temporary moderating effect on temperatures in the state's western portion during the winter. Thus, average January maximum temperatures are highest at around in southwestern Dundy County, Nebraska, Dundy County, and lowest at about around South Sioux City, Nebraska, South Sioux City in the northeast. Average annual precipitation decreases east to west from about in the southeast corner of the state to about in the Panhandle. Humidity also decreases significantly from east to west. Snowfall across the state is fairly even, with most of Nebraska receiving between of snow each year. Nebraska's highest-recorded temperature was in Minden, Nebraska, Minden on July 24, 1936. The state's lowest-recorded temperature was in Camp Clarke Bridge Site, Camp Clarke on February 12, 1899. Nebraska is located in Tornado Alley. Thunderstorms are common during both the spring and the summer. Violent thunderstorms and tornadoes happen primarily during those two seasons, although they also can occur occasionally during the autumn.
PopulationThe United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Nebraska was 1,934,408 on July 1, 2019, a 5.92% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The center of population of Nebraska is in Polk County, Nebraska, Polk County, in the city of Shelby, Nebraska, Shelby. The table below shows the racial composition of Nebraska's population as of 2016. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 10.2% of Nebraska's population were of Hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican American, Mexican (7.8%), Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rican (0.2%), Cuban American, Cuban (0.2%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (2.0%). The five largest ancestry groups were: German American, German (36.1%), Irish American, Irish (13.1%), English American, English (7.8%), Czech American, Czech (4.7%), and American ancestry, American (4.0%). Nebraska has the largest Czech Americans, Czech American and non-Mormon Danish Americans, Danish American population (as a percentage of the total population) in the nation. German Americans are the largest ancestry group in most of the state, particularly in the eastern counties. Thurston County, Nebraska, Thurston County (made up entirely of the Omaha (tribe), Omaha and Winnebago (tribe), Winnebago reservations) has an American Indians in the United States, American Indian majority, and Butler County, Nebraska, Butler County is one of only two counties in the nation with a Czech-American plurality. In recent years, Nebraska has become home to many refugee communities. In 2016, it welcomed more refugees per capita than any other state. Nebraska, and in particular Lincoln, is the largest home of Yazidis refugees and Yazidi Americans in the United States.
Birth dataAs of 2011, 31.0% of Nebraska's population younger than age1 were minorities. ''Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.'' * Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic and Latino Americans, White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one ''Hispanic'' group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
ReligionThe religious affiliations of the people of Nebraska are: The largest single denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church (372,838), the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (112,585), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (110,110) and the United Methodist Church (109,283).
SettlementEighty-nine percent of the cities in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people. Nebraska shares this characteristic with five other Midwestern states: , Oklahoma, North Dakota and , and . Hundreds of towns have a population of fewer than 1,000. Regional population declines have forced many rural schools to consolidate. Fifty-three of Nebraska's 93 counties reported declining populations between 1990 and 2000, ranging from a 0.06% loss (Frontier County, Nebraska, Frontier County) to a 17.04% loss (Hitchcock County, Nebraska, Hitchcock County). More urbanized areas of the state have experienced substantial growth. In 2000, the city of Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha had a population of 390,007; in 2005, the city's estimated population was 414,521 (427,872 including the recently annexed city of Elkhorn, Nebraska, Elkhorn), a 6.3% increase over five years. The 2010 census showed that Omaha has a population of 408,958. The city of Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln had a 2000 population of 225,581 and a 2010 population of 258,379, a 14.5% increase. As of the 2010 Census, there were 530 cities and villages in the state of Nebraska. There are five classifications of cities and villages in Nebraska, which are based upon population. All population figures are 2017 United States Census Bureau, Census Bureau estimates unless flagged by a reference number. Metropolitan Class City (300,000 or more) * Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha 466,893 Primary Class City (100,000–299,999) * Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln 284,736 First Class City (5,000–99,999) * Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue 53,424 * Grand Island, Nebraska, Grand Island 51,390 * Kearney, Nebraska, Kearney 33,835 * Fremont, Nebraska, Fremont 26,457 * Hastings, Nebraska, Hastings 24,989 * Norfolk, Nebraska, Norfolk 24,434 * North Platte, Nebraska, North Platte 23,888 * Columbus, Nebraska, Columbus 23,128 * Papillion, Nebraska, Papillion 19,539 * La Vista, Nebraska, La Vista 17,116 * Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Scottsbluff 14,874 * South Sioux City, Nebraska, South Sioux City 12,911 * Beatrice, Nebraska, Beatrice 12,295 * Lexington, Nebraska, Lexington 10,024 * Gering, Nebraska, Gering 8,319 * Alliance, Nebraska, Alliance 8,164 * Blair, Nebraska, Blair 8,091 * York, Nebraska, York 7,862 * McCook, Nebraska, McCook 7,540 * Ralston, Nebraska, Ralston 7,333 * Nebraska City, Nebraska, Nebraska City 7,313 * Seward, Nebraska, Seward 7,181 * Crete, Nebraska, Crete 7,160 * Sidney, Nebraska, Sidney 6,620 * Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Plattsmouth 6,451 * Schuyler, Nebraska, Schuyler 6,212 * Chadron, Nebraska, Chadron 5,648 * Wayne, Nebraska, Wayne 5,439 * Holdrege, Nebraska, Holdrege 5,494 * Gretna, Nebraska, Gretna 5,062 Second Class Cities (800–4,999) and Villages (100–800) make up the rest of the communities in Nebraska. There are 116 second-class cities and 382 villages in the state. Metropolitan areas 2017 estimate data * Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, Omaha-Council Bluffs 763,326 (Nebraska portion); 933,316 (total for Nebraska and Iowa) * Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln 331,519 * Sioux City, Iowa 26,836 (Nebraska portion); 168,618 (total for Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota) * Grand Island, Nebraska, Grand Island 85,045 Micropolitan areas 2012 estimate data Other areas * Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney comprise the "Tri-Cities, Nebraska, Tri-Cities" area, with a combined population of 168,748 * The northeast corner of Nebraska is part of the Siouxland region.
TaxationNebraska has a progressive tax, progressive income tax. The portion of income from $0 to $2,400 is taxed at 2.56%; from $2,400 to $17,500, at 3.57%; from $17,500 to $27,000, at 5.12%; and income over $27,000, at 6.84%. The standard deduction for a single taxpayer is $5,700; the personal exemption is $118. Nebraska has a state sales and use tax of 5.5%. In addition to the state tax, some Nebraska cities assess a city sales and use tax, in 0.5% increments, up to a maximum of 1.5%. Dakota County, Nebraska, Dakota County levies an additional 0.5% county sales tax. Food and ingredients that are generally for home preparation and consumption are not taxable. All real property within the state of Nebraska is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. Since 1992, only depreciable personal property is subject to tax and all other personal property is exempt from tax. Inheritance tax is collected at the county level.
Economy* Total employment (2016): 884,450 * Total employer establishments: 54,265 The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates of Nebraska's gross state product in 2010 was $89.8 billion. Per capita personal income in the United States, Per capita personal income in 2004 was $31,339, 25th in the nation. Nebraska has a large agriculture sector, and is a major producer of beef, pork, maize, corn (maize), soybeans, and Sorghum bicolor, sorghum. Other important economic sectors include freight transport (by rail and truck), manufacturing, telecommunications, information technology, and insurance. As of November 2018, the state's unemployment rate was 2.8%, the fifth lowest in the nation.
IndustryKool-Aid was created in 1927 by Edwin Perkins (inventor), Edwin Perkins in the city of Hastings, Nebraska, Hastings, which celebrates the event the second weekend of every August with Kool-Aid Days, and Kool-Aid is the official soft drink of Nebraska. ''CliffsNotes'' were developed by Clifton Hillegass of Rising City, Nebraska, Rising City. He adapted his pamphlets from the Canadian publications, ''Coles (bookstore), Coles Notes''. Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha is home to Berkshire Hathaway, whose chief executive officer (CEO), Warren Buffett, was ranked in March 2009 by ''Forbes'' magazine as the The World's Billionaires, second-richest person in the world. The city is also home to Mutual of Omaha, InfoUSA, TD Ameritrade, West Corporation, Valmont Industries, Woodmen of the World, Kiewit Corporation, Union Pacific Railroad, and Gallup (company), Gallup. Ameritas Life Insurance Company, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., Nelnet, Sandhills Publishing Company, Duncan Aviation, and Hudl are based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln. Buckle (store), The Buckle is based in Kearney, Nebraska, Kearney. Sidney, Nebraska, Sidney is the national headquarters for Cabela's, a specialty retailer of outdoor goods now owned by Bass Pro Shops. Grand Island, Nebraska, Grand Island is the headquarters of Hornady, a manufacturer of ammunition. The world's largest Rail yard, train yard, Union Pacific Railroad, Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, is in North Platte, Nebraska, North Platte. The Locking pliers, Vise-Grip was invented by William Petersen in 1924, and was manufactured in De Witt, Nebraska, De Witt until the plant was closed and moved to China in late 2008. Lincoln's Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing is the only Kawasaki plant in the world to produce the Jet Ski, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), and Mule product lines. The facility employs more than 1,200 people. The Spade Ranch (Nebraska), Spade Ranch, in the Sandhills (Nebraska), Sandhills, is one of Nebraska's oldest and largest beef cattle operations.
EnergyNebraska has been the nation's second-largest producer of ethanol biofuels. It has few fossil-fuel resources except for crude oil from the Niobrara Formation which underlays a portion of the state's western region. It hosts one uranium leach mining operation near its northwest border with Wyoming. It has an abundance of renewable generation resources, including untapped biomass generation potential from its productive agriculture industry. It has been a top-ten state for per-capita energy consumption due in large part to its energy-intensive agriculture, meat packing, and food processing industries. Nebraska is the only state in the US where all Electric utility, electric utilities are State-owned enterprise, publicly owned. Half of its electricity is generated from coal and the fastest-growing source in recent years has been wind. Nebraska has no renewable portfolio standard while supporting net metering.
RailroadsThe Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, was incorporated on July 1, 1862, in the wake of the Pacific Railway Acts, Pacific Railway Act of 1862. Bailey Yard, in North Platte, is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. The route of the First Transcontinental Railroad, original transcontinental railroad runs through the state. Other major railroads with operations in the state are: Amtrak; BNSF, BNSF Railway; Canadian National Railway; and Iowa Interstate Railroad.
Roads and highways
Law and governmentNebraska's government operates under the framework of the Constitution of Nebraska, Nebraska Constitution, adopted in 1875,
Executive branchThe head of the executive branch is Governor of Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts (Republican Party (United States), Republican). Other elected officials in the executive branch are Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley (Nebraska politician), Mike Foley, Nebraska Attorney General, Attorney General Doug Peterson (Nebraska politician), Doug Peterson, Secretary of State of Nebraska, Secretary of State Bob Evnen, State Treasurer John Murante, and State Auditor Charlie Janssen. All elected officials in the executive branch serve four-year terms.
Legislative branchNebraska is the only state in the United States with a Unicameralism, unicameral legislature. Although this house is officially known simply as the "Nebraska Legislature, Legislature", and more commonly called the "Unicameral", its members call themselves "senators". Nebraska's Legislature is also the only State legislature (United States), state legislature in the United States that is officially Non-partisan democracy, nonpartisan. The senators are elected with no party affiliation next to their names on the ballot, and members of any party can be elected to the positions of speaker and committee chairs. The Nebraska Legislature can also override the governor's veto with a three-fifths majority, in contrast to the two-thirds majority required in some other states. When Nebraska became a state in 1867, its legislature consisted of two houses: a House of Representatives and a Senate. For years, U.S. Senator George W. Norris, George Norris (Senator 1913–1943) and other Nebraskans encouraged the idea of a unicameral legislature and demanded the issue be decided in a referendum. Norris argued: Unicameral supporters also argued that a bicameralism, bicameral legislature had a significant undemocratic feature in the committees that reconciled House and Senate legislation. Votes in these committees were secretive, and would sometimes add provisions to bills that neither house had approved. Nebraska's unicameral legislature today has rules that bills can contain only one subject, and must be given at least five days of consideration. In 1934, due in part to the budgetary pressure of the Great Depression, Nebraska citizens ran a state initiative to vote on a constitutional amendment creating a unicameral legislature, which was approved, which, in effect, abolished the House of Representatives (the lower house). The Legislature meets in the third Nebraska State Capitol building, built between 1922 and 1932. It was designed by Bertram Goodhue, Bertram G. Goodhue. Built from Indiana limestone, the capitol's base is a cross within a square. A 400-foot domed tower rises from this base. The Sower, a 19-foot bronze statue representing agriculture, crowns the building.
Judicial branchThe judicial system in Nebraska is unified, with the Nebraska Supreme Court having administrative authority over all the courts within the state. Nebraska uses the Missouri Plan for the selection of judges at all levels, including County court#United States, county courts (as the lowest-level courts) and twelve District court#United States, district courts, which contain one or more counties. The Nebraska State Court of Appeals hears appeals from the district courts, juvenile courts, and workers' compensation courts, and is the final court of appeal.
Federal representationNebraska's United States Senate, U.S. senators are Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, both Republicans; Fischer, elected in 2012, is the senior. Nebraska has three representatives in the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives: Jeff Fortenberry (R) of the Nebraska's 1st congressional district, 1st district; Don Bacon (politician), Don Bacon (R) of the Nebraska's 2nd congressional district, 2nd district; and Adrian Smith (politician), Adrian Smith (R) of the Nebraska's 3rd congressional district, 3rd district. Nebraska is one of two states (Maine is the other) that allow for a split in the state's allocation of Electoral College (United States), electoral votes in United States presidential election, presidential elections. Under a 1991 law, two of Nebraska's five votes are awarded to the winner of the statewide popular vote, while the other three go to the highest vote-getter in each of the state's three List of United States congressional districts, congressional districts.
PoliticsFor most of its history, Nebraska has been a solidly Republican Party (United States), Republican state. Republicans have carried the state in all but one presidential election since 1940 United States presidential election, 1940: the 1964 United States presidential election, 1964 landslide election of Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 2004 United States presidential election, 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won the state's five electoral votes by a margin of 33 percentage points (making Nebraska's the fourth-strongest Republican vote among states) with 65.9% of the overall vote; only Thurston County, Nebraska, Thurston County, which is majority-Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American, voted for his Democratic Party (United States), Democratic challenger John Kerry. In 2008 United States presidential election, 2008, the state split its electoral votes for the first time: Republican John McCain won the popular vote in Nebraska as a whole and two of its three congressional districts; the second district, which includes the city of Omaha, went for Democrat Barack Obama. Despite the current Republican domination of Nebraska politics, the state has a long tradition of electing Centrism, centrist members of both parties to state and federal office; examples include George W. Norris (who served a few years in the Senate as an independent), J. James Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Chuck Hagel. Voters have tilted to the right in recent years, a trend evidenced when Hagel retired from the Senate in 2008 and was succeeded by conservative Republican Mike Johanns to the U.S. Senate, as well as with the 2006 re-election of Ben Nelson, who was considered the most conservative Democrat in the Senate until his retirement in 2013. Johanns retired in 2015 and was succeeded by another conservative, Sasse. Nelson retired in 2013 and was replaced by conservative Republican Fischer. Former President Gerald Ford was born in Nebraska but moved away shortly after birth. Illinois native William Jennings Bryan represented Nebraska in Congress, served as United States Secretary of State, U.S. Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, and unsuccessfully ran for president three times.
Colleges and universitiesUniversity of Nebraska system * University of Nebraska–Lincoln * University of Nebraska at Kearney * University of Nebraska at Omaha * University of Nebraska Medical Center * Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Nebraska State College System * Chadron State College * Peru State College * Wayne State College Community Colleges * Central Community College (Nebraska), Central Community College * Little Priest Tribal College * Metropolitan Community College (Omaha), Metropolitan Community College * Mid-Plains Community College * Nebraska Indian Community College * Northeast Community College * Southeast Community College * Western Nebraska Community College Private colleges/universities * Bellevue University * Clarkson College * College of Saint Mary * Concordia University, Seward, Concordia University * Creighton University * Doane University * Grace University * Hastings College * Midland University * Nebraska Christian College * Nebraska Methodist College * Nebraska Wesleyan University * Summit Christian College * Union College of Lincoln, Union College * York College (Nebraska), York College
ArtsMuseums * Carhenge, near Alliance, NE, Alliance * International Quilt Study Center & Museum, in Lincoln * Joslyn Art Museum, in Omaha * University of Nebraska State Museum, in Lincoln Performing arts * Lied Center for Performing Arts, in Lincoln * Orpheum Theatre (Omaha), Orpheum Theatre, in Omaha * Omaha Symphony
College sportsNebraska is currently home to seven member schools of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, eight of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, NAIA, seven of the National Junior College Athletic Association, NJCAA, one of the National Christian College Athletic Association, NCCAA, and one independent school. The College World Series has been held in Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha since 1950. It was held at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, Rosenblatt Stadium from 1950 through 2010, and has been domiciled at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha since 2011.
See also* Index of Nebraska-related articles * Outline of Nebraska
Surveys* Andreas, Alfred T.
Scholarly special studies* Barnhart, John D. "Rainfall and the Populist Party in Nebraska". ''American Political Science Review'' 19 (1925): 527–40. in JSTOR * Beezley, William H. "Homesteading in Nebraska, 1862–1872", ''Nebraska History'' 53 (spring 1972): 59–75 * Bentley, Arthur F. "The Condition of the Western Farmer as Illustrated by the Economic History of a Nebraska Township". ''Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science'' 11 (1893): 285–370