Statistics from the first-ever Nebraska Thriving Index found that rural Nebraska ranked high for economic growth, quality of life and social capital, according to Nebraska Today.  

The University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute administered the index, which identified regional trends and compared them to similar rural areas, according to Nebraska Today. 

UNL’s Bureau of Business Research and the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s College of Business and Technology developed the index.

The index divides Nebraska into eight regions and is based on measures of economic growth and economic conditions in rural Nebraska, according to Nebraska Today. The thriving index is also broken into smaller variables, such as quality of life and social capital, according to the Rural Futures Institute website

The eight regions identified by the index are matched and compared with peer regions in other states, according to the website. 

The Tri-Cities and North 81 regions ranked first place for their overall thriving index compared to peer regions, according to Nebraska Today. 

Nebraska’s micropolitan and small metropolitan regions also ranked highly in both economic growth and quality of life, according to Nebraska Today. 

The Nebraska Rural Index fills a need for easily-accessible and comparable data on rural Nebraska, Sharon Hueftle, executive director for Nebraska’s South Central Economic Development District, told Nebraska Today. 

“We can target specific measures that we believe will help us reach our goals, and the year-over-year report will show us whether or not we’re making progress,” she said. “This is a really significant contribution from the university to rural Nebraska, and we plan to help the research team continue to refine it.”