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Thurston County, Nebraska facts for kids

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Thurston County
Thurston County courthouse in Pender
Thurston County courthouse in Pender
Map of Nebraska highlighting Thurston County
Location within the U.S. state of Nebraska
Map of the United States highlighting Nebraska
Nebraska's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Nebraska
Founded 1889
Named for John Mellen Thurston
Seat Pender
Largest village Pender
 • Total 396 sq mi (1,030 km2)
 • Land 394 sq mi (1,020 km2)
 • Water 2.5 sq mi (6 km2)  0.6%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 18.3/sq mi (7.1/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Thurston County is a county in the U.S. state of Nebraska. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 6,940. Its county seat is Pender.

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

The Siouan-speaking Omaha and Ho-Chunk (Ho-Chunk) have reservations in Thurston County. The two reservations combined comprise the county's entire land area.


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.


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. The land area of the county is completely comprised from the Omaha and Winnebago Indian reservations.

Major highways

  • US 75.svg U.S. Highway 75
  • US 77.svg U.S. Highway 77
  • N-9.svg Nebraska Highway 9
  • N-16.svg Nebraska Highway 16
  • N-94.svg Nebraska Highway 94

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 31
1880 109 251.6%
1890 3,176 2,813.8%
1900 6,517 105.2%
1910 8,704 33.6%
1920 9,589 10.2%
1930 10,462 9.1%
1940 10,243 −2.1%
1950 8,590 −16.1%
1960 7,237 −15.8%
1970 6,942 −4.1%
1980 7,186 3.5%
1990 6,936 −3.5%
2000 7,171 3.4%
2010 6,940 −3.2%
2018 (est.) 7,303 5.2%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014

As of the 2020 United States Census The racial make up of the county was 36.1% non-Hispanic white, .4% African American, 57.5% Native American, .1% Asian, and 3.8% Hispanic.

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 7,171 people, 2,255 households, and 1,725 families 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. 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.

The county population contained 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.



Census-designated place


  • Anderson
  • Blackbird
  • Bryan
  • Dawes
  • Flournoy
  • Merry
  • Omaha
  • Pender
  • Perry
  • Thayer
  • Winnebago

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Thurston (Nebraska) para niños

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