University of Nebraska researchers have developed an index to measure growth and economic performance for rural regions in Nebraska. Dubbed the “Nebraska Thriving Index”, the measure tracks 47 measures which reflect economic growth and indicators of prosperity. The researchers divided Nebraska into eight regions and compared them to peer regions located in the northern plains.
Ted Carter, University of Nebraska president, and Michael Boehm, vice president and harlan vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, say the report shows, “Nebraska regions all across the state generally lead their peers in measures of qualify-of-life such as commute times, crime rates, and healthcare access. However, Nebraska regions tend to lag behind in education and skill, as well as in key aspects of economic competitiveness such as infrastructure and cost of doing business.”
The University hopes the index can be a tool for residents, economic developers, and policymakers to track the progress of rural Nebraska and assist in making informed decisions regarding rural communities’ futures. The report’s findings suggest education and economic competitiveness are areas where rural communities in Nebraska can focus. This year marks the report’s second year and the University intends to update the report annually. More information can be found at https://www.RuralProsperity.unl.edu.