Redistricting Process: Legislative Population Change (since 2000): 115,078
Legislature: Republican Seats: 3
Governor: Dave Heineman (R) Members of Congress: 3R
Party Control: Republican 2012: 37.8% Obama, 60.0% Romney

Map Instructions:

Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
Click on each district on the map to see more information.
Click the arrow button to switch between districts that are close together.
New Districts by Party Representation

Redistricting Analysis: Nebraska

Nebraska’s three congressional districts have remained fairly intact. Total population increased from 1,711,263 people in 2000 to 1,826,341 people in 2010, a growth rate of 6.7% which is substantially lower than the 9.7% increase in population seen across the United States as a whole. As a result, Nebraska neither lost or gained seats and retains its three congressional representatives. Statewide, the majority of Nebraska’s population growth has come from minority groups. Caucasians, who made up 89.6% of the state population in 2000, still make up 86.1% as of 2010. However, over the decade the Caucasian population only increased from 1,533,261 people to 1,572,838, an increase of only2.6%. In comparison, minority groups saw an increase in growth ranging from roughly 21% to 77%. From 2000 to 2010 Nebraska’s African American population increased from 68,541 to 82,885, an increase of 20.9%. Similarly, those who self-identified as American-Indian or Asian also saw a significant increase in their populations at a growth rate of 23.7% and 47.2%, respectively. Most notable is the increase in the Hispanic or Latino population which saw its numbers increase from 94,425 people in 2000 to 167,405 people in 2010, a 77.3% increase in population. In 2000 Latinos made up 5.5% of Nebraska’s population, whereas in 2010 they increased to9.2% of the population, nearly doubling their percentage of the population.

All congressional districts saw an increase in minority populations—some more drastic than others. District 1 saw a 9.8% increase in population from 570,325 people to 626,092, essentially matching the national growth rate. The Hispanic or Latino population within District 1 increased from 24,692 to 44,015 people over the decade, a 78.3% change, while the African American population increased by 53.9% from 8,350 to 12,851 people. A similar trend in terms of the Latino population can be seen in District 2 with an 87.5% increase from 36,423 people in 2000 to 68,300 people in 2010. Paired with a 61.4% increase in the Asian population from 10,314 people to 16,646 people, District 2 saw the greatest overall increase in population with a 12.0% growth rate. In contrast, District 3 saw a -1.6% change in population as numbers fell from 570,517 people in 2000 to 561,378 people in 2010. District 3 saw the same trend in the increase of the Hispanic or Latino population by 65.4% from 33,310 to 55,090; however most notably, it saw the African American population nearly double from 1,490 people in 2000 to 4,053 people in 2010, a 172.0% jump. Ideally, each congressional district should have a population of 608,780.

Nebraska’s redistricting process is coordinated through the state legislature, which is officially nonpartisan. Nebraska state senators apply and are appointed by the Legislature’s Executive Board to be one of nine members of the Redistricting Committee, which defines both congressional and state legislative lines. The Committee must be comprised of three representatives from each congressional district and may not have more than 5 members of one political party. There were five Republicans and four Democrats on the committee.

On May 26, 2011 LB 704 passed its third and final vote in the Nebraska State Senate and was signed by Governor Dave Heineman later that day. The final map, which was proposed by Republican Scott Lautenbaugh, beat out two other Democratic proposals. The critical differences among the three maps were the redistribution of population from the now overpopulated District 2 to the under-populated District 3. More specifically, the three proposals differed in how Sarpy County was to be divided. As Senator Lautenbaugh remarked, “Part of Sarpy has to go, part of Sarpy has to stay…you just pick your poison.” Both Democratic senators, Heath Mello and Bill Avery, proposed to retain eastern Sarpy County in District 2, ceding more of central/western Sarpy to District 1. In contrast, the Republican plan proposed incorporating much of the GOP-rich western and central Sarpy into District 2 and moving eastern Sarpy County into District 1. Lautenbaugh’s proposal also moved the more liberal city of Bellevue and the nearby Offutt Air Force Base out of Nebraska’s only swing district into the more conservative District 1.

As for the two Democratic proposals, while both divided Sarpy along roughly the same lines, they differed drastically with regard to the rest of the state. Senator Bill Avery proposed a more drastic plan which would create a first Congressional District completely south of the Platte River with Lincoln at its center, essentially splitting the state with District 3 in the North, District 1 in the South, and District 2 remaining the same. On the other hand, Senator Heath Mello took a more traditional approach. To account for District 3’s population shortage he would add more of northeast Nebraska to the district and also would extend the district along the state’s southern border with Kansas.

With a Republican majority on the Committee, the vote ultimately proved to be along party lines. The town of Bellevue and the Offutt Air Force Base, areas with a large minority population, were moved from the Omaha-based second District into the Lincoln-based first District. Sarpy County was divided, so that the western part of the county is a part of the second District while the eastern part of the county is part of the first District. Gage County has been moved into the third District and Platte County as well as a SE sliver of Dixon County has been adopted into the first District. The reorganization of Sarpy County has been described as gerrymandering by Senate Democrats, for the move is expected to dilute the city’s urban Democratic vote by ushering in the more conservative western suburban regions of the county.

First District

Nebraska’s First District stretches across most of the eastern portion of the state except for Omaha, Douglas County, and parts of Sarpy County. District 1 gained the more central counties Polk and Platte and lost some of its northernmost counties (Dixon, Wayne, Cedar, and Dakota) as well as some southernmost counties (Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee, and Richardson) to District 3. As of 2010, the district’s population makes up for 34.3% of the state’s population. Its largest county is Lancaster which has a population of 285,407 people, 45.6% of the district’s overall population or 15.6% of Nebraska’s total population. Nebraska’s capital, Lincoln, is the district’s most populous city and also its most prominent urban center with 258,379 people, accounting for 41.3% of its entire population and 14.1% of the state’s total population. Other major cities include Fremont, Norfolk, Beatrice, and South Sioux City.

Second District

Congressional District 2 is comprised of Douglas County and parts of Sarpy County. Previously, it consisted of the easternmost part of the county but recently switched to include the western and central parts of the county, relinquishing the eastern section to District 1 as well as a small sliver of Cass County. District 2 has a population of roughly 638,871 people. Douglas County accounts for the majority of the District’s population with 517,110 people or 80.9% of the district’s population. It also holds the state’s most populous city, Omaha, which accounts for 22.4% of Nebraska’s total population.

Third District

Nebraska’s Third District is the state’s largest and most rural. It encompasses the western ¾ of the state and grew to include all of Cedar County as well as Dixon, Dakota, Wayne, Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee, and Richardson Counties. Its most populous counties are Hall with 58,607 people, or 10.4% of District 3’s population, and Buffalo with 46,102 people, or 8.2% of the District’s total population. Overall, the district is 91.8% Caucasian with the smallest African American population in the state with only 0.7%. However despite the small proportion, from 2000 to 2010, there was a 172.0% increase in the African American population from 1,490 people to 4,053 people. The district’s most populous cities include Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings, North Platte, and Columbus.

2010 Redistricting Changes:

Old Districts by Partisan Voting Index with New District Outlines
Old Districts by Party Representation with New District Outlines