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Wayne County, Nebraska facts for kids

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Wayne County
Wayne County Courthouse in Wayne
Wayne County Courthouse in Wayne
Map of Nebraska highlighting Wayne 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 1870
Named for Anthony Wayne
Seat Wayne
Largest city Wayne
 • Total 443 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land 443 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1 km2)  0.09%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 21.0/sq mi (8.1/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Wayne County is a county in the U.S. state of Nebraska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,595. Its county seat is Wayne.

In the Nebraska license plate system, Wayne County is represented by the prefix 27 (it had the 27th-largest number of vehicles registered in the state when the license plate system was established in 1922).


Wayne County was organized by a proclamation of Governor David Butler in the fall of 1870. As the county was settled, precincts were formed and boundaries defined. Precincts were named for officials, early settlers, and neighborhood creeks. There are 13 precincts in Wayne County.

Wayne County, like the City of Wayne, was named for the Revolutionary War hero General Anthony Wayne.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 443 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 443 square miles (1,150 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (0.09%) is water.

Major highways

  • N-15.svg Nebraska Highway 15
  • N-16.svg Nebraska Highway 16
  • N-35.svg Nebraska Highway 35
  • N-57.svg Nebraska Highway 57
  • N-98.svg Nebraska Highway 98

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 182
1880 813 346.7%
1890 6,189 661.3%
1900 9,862 59.3%
1910 10,397 5.4%
1920 9,725 −6.5%
1930 10,566 8.6%
1940 9,880 −6.5%
1950 10,129 2.5%
1960 9,959 −1.7%
1970 10,400 4.4%
1980 9,858 −5.2%
1990 9,364 −5.0%
2000 9,851 5.2%
2010 9,595 −2.6%
2018 (est.) 9,403 −2.0%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 9,851 people, 3,437 households, and 2,206 families in the county. The population density was 22 people per square mile (9/km2). There were 3,662 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.78% White, 0.94% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.85% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 1.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 57.5% were of German, 6.0% Irish and 5.9% Swedish ancestry.

There were 3,437 households, out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.20% were married couples living together, 5.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.80% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.02.

The county population contains 21.60% under the age of 18, 25.40% from 18 to 24, 21.20% from 25 to 44, 18.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 92.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,366, and the median income for a family was $43,840. Males had a median income of $27,848 versus $20,376 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,644. About 7.40% of families and 14.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.60% of those under age 18 and 7.20% of those age 65 or over.


Several towns in Wayne County's early history no longer exist. LaPorte had nearly 300 citizens at one time and was home to a temporary courthouse until the railroad chose a different route. Towns such as Taffe, Logan City, Apex, Melvin, Weber and Spring Branch no longer exist.


There are currently 13 precincts in Wayne County. They were named for officials, early settlers or neighborhood creeks.

  • Brenna: F.E. Moses, who was the first settler in the precinct, was allowed by County Commissioners to name the precinct and he chose to name it after his sister, Brenna.
  • Chapin: named for Arthur T. Chapin, an early settler.
  • Deer Creek: named for the plentiful supply of deer horns found scattered over the prairies in about 1884.
  • Garfield: named for James A. Garfield who became the 20th president of the United States.
  • Hancock: named for Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock, one of the heroes of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. He was also a Democratic candidate for president against James A. Garfield.
  • Hoskins: first named Spring Branch, but was later named for Mr. Hoskins who was secretary for Mr. Peavy, a member of the land company that laid out the village of Hoskins.
  • Hunter: Cyrus E. Hunter, one of the first settlers, who came from Lee County, Illinois.
  • Logan: thought to be named for John A. Logan, who was the vice presidential candidate with presidential candidate James G. Blaine. Blaine ran against Grover Cleveland, who was elected president.
  • Leslie: said by some early settlers to be named for a judge who served Wayne County in pioneer times. Dr. G.E. Condra of Lincoln says the precinct was named after a post office.
  • Plum Creek: so named because of wild plums which were growing on the banks of the creek in early days.
  • Sherman: named for General Sherman of Civil War fame.
  • Strahan: named for J.M. Strahan, who was an early settler there.
  • Wilbur: carries the name of Russell H. Wilbur, who was a pioneer in the precinct.
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