Lincoln community is in good shape according to new ‘Vital Signs’ report

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center released the 2022 Lincoln Vital Signs report on Wednesday.

The group found that the Lincoln community is thriving in a number of areas, but with a few persisting concerns.

The data in the report was collected throughout 2020 and 2021, through public organizations such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Lincoln Public Schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Stacey Hoffman, senior research manager for the Public Policy Center, said when it comes to unemployment, education, diversity and particularly safety; Lincoln has traditionally done very well.

“Lincoln is a very safe community,” she said. “We consistently have lower crime rates than other cities of our size. Especially our violent crime rate is impressively low.”

Hoffman says poverty, homelessness and food insecurity have declined in recent years, and this could be a sign Lincoln is finally recovering from the 2008 recession.

Another aspect to note from the report is Lincoln’s changing demographic. In particular, the 44% increase of residents 65 and older over the last decade.

Hoffman says this growth is much faster than any other age group.

“This is not unexpected, the baby boomer generation was quite a large group of kids for some time,” she said. “Locations where they have an aging population there is a higher demand for healthcare. ”

Hoffman says businesses and nonprofits in Lincoln may have to adjust how they deliver services to accommodate for the changes in demographic.

She believes areas that Lincoln needs to improve on are the income per capita, which is not rising at the same rate as the rest of the country.

Another concern Hoffman said is the disparities between people of color and white populations when it comes to education and income.

Hoffman added that right now it’s harder for people in Lincoln, especially people of color, to afford certain needs like housing.

“In the past 10 years, there has been an increase in our utility costs compared to the rest of the nation,” she said. “Housing costs have increased greatly, so our cost of living is increasing in Lincoln faster.”

Hoffman says this year’s vital signs report will be used by city officials, community leaders and local businesses to help wage how well they’re doing and where they should direct their resources to impact areas that need more support.

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