Nebraska lost more residents to other states than it gained from them in 2008, continuing a 13-year-long trend, but the rate of departure slowed significantly, researchers reported.
About 2,500 more people left the Cornhusker State than moved to the state in 2008, according to a report released Wednesday by the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Public Affairs Research. That's about half the state's annual average loss of 5,000 residents over the previous decade and well below the 20-year average of about 3,300. Nebraska has failed to lure more residents of other states than it's lost in all but three of the past 20 years that the statistic has been measured -- 1992, 1995 and 1996.
That trend continued in 2008, but researchers noted that Nebraska attracted more residents from 22 states than it lost to them, double the number from 2007. The 22-state net gain was the highest since 1996, when there was a gain from 24 states. In 2002, Nebraska saw a net gain from just eight states.
The figures suggest Nebraska may have been a destination for some affected by the economic downturn widely believed to have started in late 2007, said researcher David Drozd, who compiled the data by looking at IRS tax data. The downturn hit Nebraska later than many other states.
Some states that gave Nebraska more people than it took in 2008 were pummeled early by the recession, such as Ohio. Nebraska gained 37 people from Ohio in 2008 after having a net loss of nearly 100 to the state in 2007. That marked just the fifth time in the 20 years that Nebraska had a net gain in residents moving to and from Ohio.
Last year was the first time during the two decades that Nebraska saw a net gain from Minnesota, and it was just the third time Missouri has been in the plus-population category for the Cornhusker State.
Over the past two decades, bordering Iowa has mostly been a negative factor in Nebraska's population math, taking an average of 200 more people than it gave Nebraska. Last year, Iowa was a net-gainer for Nebraska, adding 26 residents.