By Jan Rahn
All of the towns along the Highline show a dip in population—except Wallace—which has had an increase in residents during the past 10 years.
The 2010 Census reflects an increase of 37 residents, up 11.2 percent from the last census taken in 2000.
This is a 20-year trend. In the 1990 Census, Wallace’s population was 308. The 2000 Census indicated an increase to 329, and the 2010 Census shows Wallace’s population at 366.
Moving toward the west, the census report indicates Elsie has had a population decrease of 33. Census numbers in 2000 were 139 compared to 106 in the latest count.
Madrid’s decrease of 34 residents puts the village’s population at 231 in the 2010 Census compared to 265 in the previous 2000 Census.
In the county seat of Grant, population has fallen steadily over the past three decades. The population figure in 1990 was 1,239. It fell to 1,225 in 2000 and the most recent 2010 Census reflects the population at 1,165, a 4.9 percent decrease.
The same downward trend has occurred in the Village of Venango, whose population stands at 164 in the 2010 Census compared to 175 a decade earlier. Thirty years ago, the 1980 Census showed a population of 230.
The overall population of Perkins County dipped below 3,000 for the first time in decades. The 2010 count puts the county at 2,970 residents, compared to 3,200 in 2000.
The last time Perkins County had fewer than 3,000 residents was in 1910 when there were 2,570 people living in the county.
The 1940 Census put Perkins County’s head count at nearly 5,200.
Unfortunately, the same trend puts surrounding counties and cities in the same boat.
Keith County’s population dropped from 8,875 in 2000 to 8,368 in 2010.
The city of Ogallala has lost over 1,000 residents in the last three decades, nearly 200 of which occurred between the 2000 and 2010 Census.
Chase County’s population has dropped from 4,068 in 2000 to 3,966 in 2010.
According to the recently released census, this is the first time in 100 years that Chase County’s official head count has dropped below 4,000.
Lincoln County, the county where Wallace sits along the western edge, grew by 1,656 residents over the last decade.
The 2000 Census showed 34,632 and the latest census puts the population of Lincoln County at 36,288.
The good news for the entire state of Nebraska is that the population count is up 115,078 from the census 10 years ago.
The 2010 Census stands at 1.8 million for Nebraska. According to the latest census, only 24 of Nebraska’s 93 counties gained residents in the past 10 years. Over half of the state’s population resides in the state’s eastern counties of Lancaster (Lincoln) Sarpy and Douglas (Omaha).