Beginning in 2020 the Nebraska Community Foundation and Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha have annually surveyed students in rural Nebraska to explore students’ perceptions of their hometowns and whether they would someday like to reside and make a home in rural Nebraska. This year over 700 middle and high school students in communities of varying sizes responded to an online survey. Some findings from the survey include:
- 71 percent of students say there is no stigma associated with returning to their hometown.
- 4 percent said they would like to live in a community larger than those that exist in Nebraska.
- 75 percent said their community is the “ideal size”.
- Healthcare (22 percent), agriculture (14 percent), and education (8 percent) were the top three industries students said they would like to work in in the future.
The results suggest many students would like to make their futures in rural Nebraska. Another positive is students identified agriculture as an industry in which they would like to work. Jobs are plentiful in agriculture right now and the future points for job opportunities to continue to grow. The trick is to connect the interested students with the jobs.