Study: Two Rural Towns’ Growth via Immigrants

A new report looks at the changes in two small Nebraska towns and how immigration has affected them.   Lexington and Madison, Nebraska had a combined total population of under 13,000 in 1990, and only 124 of their residents were immigrants.

By 2016, immigrants made up nearly half of Lexington’s population, and a third of Madison’s, and were responsible for 100% of each town’s growth since 1990.

Despite initial challenges as these towns grappled with their changing demographics, they have emerged with more lively business districts, a stronger housing market, thriving schools, and stable populations.

The report outlines the steps that the towns took to achieve a successful transition to be more diverse communities.   As the report states,

Lexington and Madison offer encouraging examples of how proactivity and practicality—coupled with time—can help communities embrace the nation’s multicultural destiny and emerge stronger for their collective efforts.

Most Maine communities are shrinking as our population ages and deaths outpace births.   Immigrants are a critical part of any path to growth in Maine.  This report offers a road map that could help guide Maine’s journey.