Published On: Wed, Mar 29th, 2017

On the Grow

HARTINGTON — The latest U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates show Cedar County is finally on the grow again.
The statistics show that more Nebraska counties are gaining population than a decade ago,
The report, issued last week from the Census Bureau’s Denver office, shows that from 2015 to 2016 Cedar County gained 103 residents, a 12 percent increase. The Bureau estimates Cedar County’s population to be 8,671.
While the increase is good news, the county still has not regained the population loss it suffered from 2010-15. The Census Bureau put Cedar County’s official 2010 population at 8,852.
Area experts are pleased with the increase, but say a lot of work needs to be done to erase the rural population decline.
“This is positive news for Cedar County. We have to keep working to attract new business and improve our housing if we want to keep attracting people here,” said Hartington Economic Development Corp. President Chris Miller.
Randolph Economic Development Coordinator Gary Van Meter said this report is something are communities need to build upon.
“We’re behind in Northeast Nebraska and need to catch up to attract young families,” Gay Van Meter said.
Van Meter said area residents need to, “build magnetic communities for schools, early childhood development centers, housing and quality of life for families,” in order to retain and attract people.
“Small towns can do this better than cities,” Van Meter said.
David Drozd, research coordinator for the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha told the Lincoln Journal Star that it’s difficult to determine what factors play into the slowing of rural population loss. One possible theory, he said, is that many young people move away after high school, so there may be fewer people of that age in rural areas to move away.