Nebraska At-A-Glance

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Nebraska Facts

TOPOGRAPHY

Eastern Nebraska is covered with rugged bluffs, rolling hills, picturesque valleys and lush vegetation. The Great Plains stretch westward across 75 percent of the state and include rock formations, eroded hills and deep canyons. The Sandhills, North America’s largest grass-stabilized sand dune formation, cover sections of western and central Nebraska and include the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey (the world’s largest hand-planted forest). The High Plains are northwest, southwest, and west of the Sandhills. Within this 12,000 sq. mi. (31,080 sq. km) area lie the scenic and rugged Wildcat Hills, the Pine Ridge, and the North Platte River Valley. A small portion of South Dakota’s Badlands extends into northwest Nebraska.

ELEVATION

At an elevation of 5,424 ft. (1,653 m), Nebraska’s highest point is Panorama Point in Kimball County. Its lowest point is 840 ft. (256 m) in southeast Nebraska along the Missouri River. The state’s average elevation is 2,600 ft. (792 m).

LAND AREA

Nebraska is 77,358 sq. mi. (200,356 sq. km) in area and the 16th largest state in the U.S. It measures 459 miles (739 kilometers) across at its widest point, following a diagonal from southeast to northwest. 

TIME ZONES

Nebraska spans two time zones. The eastern two-thirds of the state is in the Central Time Zone and the western third is in the Mountain Time Zone. When traveling on Interstate 80, the time change occurs between the Sutherland and Paxton exits.

POPULATION

In 2017, Nebraska had an estimated population of 1,920,076 residents, making it the 37th largest state in the U.S., population wise.

STATEHOOD

Nebraska became the 37th U.S. state on March 1, 1867.

NEBRASKA STATE CAPITAL

Founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster, Lincoln became the state capital upon Nebraska’s admission to the Union on March 1, 1867.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Nebraska is the only state with a single house Legislature, the Unicameral. U.S. Senator George W. Norris from McCook promoted the conversion of all state legislatures to the unicameral system. However, it was implemented only in Nebraska in 1934. The Unicameral is different in that when candidates run for office, they do not run on party tickets (at least in theory).

FIVE LARGEST CITIES

Nebraska is predominately a rural state, with the majority of its communities having populations of less than 5,000. The state’s smallest incorporated town is Monowi (pop. 1) in north central Nebraska. 

The five largest cities by population are Omaha (pop: 466,893), Lincoln (pop: 284,736), Bellevue (pop: 53,424), Grand Island (pop: 51,390), and Kearney (pop: 33,835).

STATE NAME

In 1895, Nebraska’s original state name was the Tree Planters’ State because its claim to tree-planting fame includes the founding of Arbor Day in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, the Timber Culture Act of U.S. Senator Phineas Hitchcock (1873) and the millions of trees planted by early settlers. The official state name was changed to the Cornhusker State in 1945, a reference to the method of harvesting or “husking” corn by hand, which was common before the invention of husking machinery.

PRESIDENTIAL BIRTHPLACE

The 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford, was born in Omaha on July 14, 1913.

SEASONS

Nebraska offers a full four-season climate. The normal average daily temperatures range from -20˚F (-7˚C) in the winter to more than 75˚F (24˚C) in the summer. Annual precipitation ranges from more than 30" (762 mm) in the southeast to less than 17" (432 mm) in western Nebraska.

sandhills sunrise
Nebraska Sandhills

Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and CVB Contact Information

Alliance
visitalliance.com   

Beatrice
visitbeatrice.com

Broken Bow
brokenbow-ne.com 

Brownville
brownvilleculturalcenter.com

Chadron/Northwest Nebraska 
discovernwnebraska.com

Cass County
visitcasscounty.com

Columbus
visitcolumbusne.com 

Fremont
visitfremontne.org 

Gering
visitgering.com 

Grand Island
visitgrandisland.com

Hastings
visithastingsnebraska.com

Kearney
visitkearney.org

Kimball County
visitkimball.com

Knox County
knoxcountynebraska.com

Lincoln 
lincoln.org 

McCook
visitmccook.com

Nebraska City
gonebraskacity.com 

Norfolk
visitnorfolkne.com 

North Platte
visitnorthplatte.com

Ogallala
explorekeithcounty.com

Omaha
visitomaha.com

Sarpy County
gosarpy.com

Scotts Bluff County
visitscottsbluff.com

Seward
cultivatesewardcounty.com 

Sidney
visitsidneyne.com
 

Drive Times
Mileage Chart