The rural Nebraska towns of Lexington and Madison are enjoying the fruits of a three-decade demographic transformation that has simultaneously advanced and challenged their communities. The two towns had a combined foreign-born adult population of just 124 in the 1990 census. Three decades later, nearly half of Lexington’s adult population was born outside of the United States, as was a third of the adult population of Madison. Hailing from all corners of the world, newcomers accounted for the entirety of population growth between 1990 and 2016 in the two thriving towns.
Please join the Center for American Progress for the release of “Proactive and Patient: Managing Demographic Change and Immigration in Two Rural Nebraska Communities.” Informed by conversations with more than 70 stakeholders in local government, education, faith, business, nonprofit, and civic organizations, along with lifelong residents and newcomers, this report, authored by panelist Sara McElmurry, presents a roadmap that other communities at the beginning stages of major demographic change can follow, based on Lexington’s and Madison’s efforts to integrate newcomers.
The event will feature a panel to highlight the policies and practices, both formal and organic, implemented to manage the changing demographics in their communities. It will explore the role key institutions can play in managing the change, the successes and decentralized efforts of dedicated civic leaders, and the power of unique characteristics innate to small towns. In today’s world, partisanship dominates the immigration debate. But these communities, and the lessons policymakers can draw from their challenges and successes, can help point Americans in the direction of a more positive future.
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Center for American Progress
Sara McElmurry, Communication Strategist and Nonresident Fellow, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum
Dora Vivas, City Council Member, Lexington, Nebraska
Kyle Hoehner, Principal, Lexington High School
Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Senior Policy Analyst of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress