The 2014 legislative session has approximately one month remaining before our work will end as called for by the state constitution. Last week, we discussed adjustments to the biennium budget, tax relief legislation, education policy changes, transportation funding, and criminal justice system issues. Near the end of the week, the chairman of the Legislature’s Planning Committee distributed updated information on interesting demographic statistics that the committee has recently compiled.
In 2009, the Legislature passed LB 653, which created a new Special Committee of the Legislature. The Planning Committee was charged with establishing and maintaining a future focus on the priorities of the state of Nebraska. The committee’s data collection efforts are helpful to me as we debate issues that may have long term impacts on our resources and our citizens. The newest information also compares the forty-nine legislative districts on certain metrics.
Overall, Nebraska is in a fairly envious position nationally. Our unemployment rate is consistently the second or third lowest in the country. We are frequently recognized as a top place for establishing a business. Our poverty rate is much lower than the rest of the country. Our high school education completion rate is high. Our cost of living is affordable. Our crime rates are low and our public recreation area access is high. We have many things to be proud of.
Within the state of Nebraska, our forty-nine different legislative districts have interesting similarities and differences. Our district, Legislative District 15, is one of three that consists entirely of one county; in our case, Dodge County. The other single county districts are Scottsbluff and Lincoln counties (both in the western half of the state – Districts 48 and 42, respectively).
In order to “get to know” our District a little better, here are some interesting statistics (the following information is from the Planning Committee report using 2008-2012 American Community Survey information from the U. S. Census Bureau):
Total Population: 36,590 (NE: 1,827,306)
Population under 5 years: 2,447 (NE: 130,754)
Under 18 years: 8,727 (NE: 457,925)
18 to 64 years: 21,154 (NE: 1,121,838)
65 years or older: 6,709 (NE: 247,543)
85 years or older: 1,199 (NE 38,582)
Educational Attainment for the Population Aged 25 Years and Older (District 15)
Total 25 years and over: 24,926
High school graduate/GED: 21,135
Bachelor’s degree: 4,363
Advanced degree: 1,258
Associate’s degree only: 1,889
As a Percent of Population 25 years and older
High school graduate/GED: 84.8 (Statewide: 90.4)
Bachelor’s degree: 17.5 (Statewide: 28.1)
Advanced degree: 5.0 (Statewide: 9.1)
Associate’s degree only: 7.6 (Statewide: 9.4)
Employment Status for the Population Aged 16 Years or Older
Total 16 Years or over: 28,720 (NE: 1,419,577)
In Labor Force: 19,825 (NE: 1,008,534)
In Armed Forces: 27 (NE: 5,636)
Civilian Labor Force: 19,798 (NE: 1,002,898)
Employed: 18,540 (NE: 946,986)
Unemployed: 1,258 (NE: 55,912)
Not in Labor Force: 8,895 (NE: 411,043)
Labor Force Participation Rate: 69.0 (NE: 71.0)
Unemployment Rate (Percent of Civilian Labor Force): 6.4 (NE: 5.6)
Median Value of Owner Occupied Housing Units: $109,900 (NE: $126,700)
Median Household Income: $46,475 (NE: $51,381)
Persons Below Poverty as a Percentage of the Population for Whom Poverty is Determined: 11.7 (NE: 12.4)
Percentage of Civilian Non institutionalized Population with Health Insurance: 89.5 (NE 88.6)
Since my space is limited, I invite you to access other information from the report at: http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/reports/lpc.php.
Please continue to share your thoughts with me on issues before the Legislature. I can be reached at 402.471.2625, email@example.com, and District 15, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509.