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Thurston County, Nebraska


Thurston County, Nebraska

Thurston County, Nebraska
Thurston County courthouse in Pender
Map of Nebraska highlighting Thurston County
Location in the state of Nebraska
Map of the United States highlighting Nebraska
Nebraska's location in the U.S.
Founded 1889
Named for John Mellen Thurston
Seat Pender
Largest village Pender
 • Total 396 sq mi (1,026 km2)
 • Land 394 sq mi (1,020 km2)
 • Water 2.5 sq mi (6 km2), 0.6%
 • (2010) 6,940
 • Density 18/sq mi (7/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Thurston County is a county located in the U.S. state of Nebraska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,940.[1] Its county seat is Pender.[2]

In the Nebraska license plate system, Thurston County is represented by the prefix 55 (it had the fifty-fifth-largest number of vehicles registered in the county when the license plate system was established in 1922).

The Siouan-speaking Omaha and smaller Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska (Ho-Chunk) each have reservations in Thurston County. Together, the two reservations officially comprise the entire land area of the county.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Communities 5
    • Cities 5.1
    • Census-designated place 5.2
    • Townships 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Varying cultures of indigenous peoples lived along the rivers for thousands of years before European encounter. The Omaha occupied this territory and much of Nebraska and western Iowa before the Europeans arrived. They had migrated west from the Ohio Valley under pressure from the Iroquois Confederacy in the early 17th century.

Thurston County was organized by European Americans in 1889 from land that had been divided between Dakota and Burt counties since the dissolution of Blackbird County in 1879. It was named after the United States Senator John M. Thurston.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 396 square miles (1,030 km2), of which 394 square miles (1,020 km2) is land and 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) (0.6%) is water.[4] The land area of the county is completely comprised from the Omaha and Winnebago Indian reservations.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 7,171 people, 2,255 households, and 1,725 families residing in the county. The population density was 18 people per square mile (7/km²). There were 2,467 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 45.77% White, 0.15% Black or African American, 52.03% Native American, 0.06% Asian, 0.77% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.43% of the population. 25.9% were of German ancestry according to Census 2000. The villages of Emerson, Rosalie, Pender, and Thurston are predominantly white, while the villages of Macy, Walthill, and Winnebago are predominantly Native American.

There were 2,255 households out of which 40.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.60% were married couples living together, 19.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.50% were non-families. 21.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.14 and the average family size was 3.64.

In the county the population was spread out with 36.80% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 23.90% from 25 to 44, 17.70% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 99.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,170, and the median income for a family was $30,893. Males had a median income of $24,792 versus $20,481 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,951. About 19.30% of families and 25.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.60% of those under age 18 and 14.70% of those age 65 or over.


In recent decades, Native Americans in the United States have become more active politically, voting in increasing numbers in local, state and national elections. In 2004, Thurston, a majority-Native American county, was the only one in Nebraska with a majority voting for the Democratic Party presidential candidate, John Kerry.

Voter interest has remained high, and the 2008 presidential election was preceded by a major voter registration drive. The majority of voters in Thurston County voted for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, making the county one of four in the state where a majority voted for Obama, helping elect the first African-American president. In the 2012 presidential election, Thurston County was the only Nebraska county that voted for the successful Barack Obama, the incumbent and Democratic candidate.[11]



Census-designated place


See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 164. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  11. ^ "Unofficial Results: General Election - November 6, 2012". Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved 2012-12-04.

External links

  • Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

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