Editorial Roundup: Nebraska

Lincoln Journal Star. May 30, 2024.

Editorial: Census numbers give insight to the future

Nebraska grew by just 10,000 from July 2022 to July 2023. But the vast majority of that growth, more than 9,000 people, came in Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster counties.

That finding by the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual estimate is far from news. The three-county “urban corridor” has been Nebraska’s primary area of growth for decades.

But the increase is another indicator that things will be changing politically in the next few years. After the next census in 2030, Nebraska could see dramatic changes in legislative districts toward more urban representation — something that has been strongly and effectively resisted by rural representatives.

It’s also notable that the estimate found that Lincoln grew by 2,400 people to an estimated 294,737. Given a similar increase this year — the city was growing by about 3,000 people a year until the pandemic — Lincoln is, for all intents and purposes, a city of 300,000 people.

The fastest-growing community in Lancaster County, however, is Hickman, which added 144 people in the past year. The second-fastest growing community in the state from 2010-2020, Hickman has added more than 500 people since the 2020 census to an estimated 3,161 last year.

The rest of Lancaster County’s communities, however, appeared to plateau. That included Waverly, which lost a marginal three people, and Firth and Malcolm.

Other suburbs also saw declines. Most notably, Gretna, long one of the state’s fastest-growing communities, saw its population drop for the second straight year.

That led Josie Schafer, director of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to speculate that rising housing costs could be driving people away from traditional suburbs to places like Wahoo and Ashland, each of which saw growth and may be becoming new suburbs.

Whether that is in fact the case will be seen over the next two or three years as the census does its estimates of the state and county populations. It would appear to be a good possibility that those communities, along with Hickman, will continue to grow and the metropolitan areas continue to expand.

If the 10,000-person-per-year growth continues, Nebraska would surpass the 2 million mark in two or three years. That may or may not be enough growth to allow the state to retain three seats in the House of Representatives.

That can’t be determined until after the 2030 Census. But last year’s growth, at the very least, provides some hope that in the future Nebraska will continue to have three representatives, retaining the political influence brought every four years by its district-by-district electoral vote apportionment.


McCook Gazette. May 30, 2024.

Editorial: Blending elder, child care makes sense for both

Intergenerational care, a concept blending the care of children and older adults under one roof, is not just a compassionate approach but also a pragmatic solution to multiple societal challenges.

Nebraska’s initiative to expand such programs through incentive grants represents a forward-thinking approach that deserves commendation and wider adoption.

First and foremost, intergenerational care addresses pressing needs in both child care and long-term care sectors. As a recent Nebraska Examiner article (https://tinyurl.com/23pn8z38) notes, both industries are grappling with shortages and closures, exacerbating the challenges faced by families seeking care for their loved ones and young children. By combining these services, the initiative tackles two birds with one stone, offering a sustainable solution to address workforce shortages while providing comprehensive care to vulnerable populations.

Furthermore, intergenerational care fosters invaluable connections between generations. Children benefit from the wisdom and nurturing presence of older adults, while seniors find renewed purpose and joy in interacting with the younger generation. These meaningful interactions not only enhance emotional well-being but also contribute to cognitive stimulation and social engagement, factors crucial for healthy aging and child development.

The program’s emphasis on rural communities is particularly commendable. Rural areas often face unique challenges in accessing quality care services, compounded by geographical isolation and limited resources. By prioritizing rural communities, the initiative ensures that no Nebraskan is left behind, promoting equity and inclusivity in care provision.

Moreover, intergenerational care promotes a culture of inclusivity and combats ageism by recognizing the value and contributions of individuals across the lifespan. By breaking down generational barriers, these programs cultivate empathy, respect, and understanding among participants, fostering a more cohesive and compassionate society.

As we navigate the complexities of an aging population and evolving childcare needs, innovative approaches like intergenerational care offer a ray of hope. By investing in programs that bridge generations and address systemic challenges, Nebraska sets an example for other states to follow. It’s time to embrace intergenerational care as not just a trend but a transformative model for building stronger, more resilient communities.