Nebraska - right in the middle  
Community "Fast Facts" Profile              
Columbus, Nebraska              

Date generated: 4/21/2014

Navigation: Location | Population | Labor | Transportation | Utilities | Tax Structure | Municipal Services | Education | Recreation | Housing | Health Facilities | Commercial Services | Local Manufacturing | Largest Employers | Industrial Properties | Community Notes | Local Contacts |

top of page LOCATION

Columbus, Nebraska

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  Columbus, the county seat of Platte County, is located in the east-central part of Nebraska near the confluence of the Platte and Loup Rivers. U.S. Highways 30 and 81 intersect in the city. Columbus is 75 miles northwest of Lincoln and 85 miles west of Omaha, Nebraska.

top of page POPULATION
Last CensusCurrent Year%
Platte County .......32,23732,6811.4%
Labor Market Population1.......114,643114,9810.3%

1) Labor market population is the county population plus the contiguous county population.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates, March 2013. City populations estimated to be released July 2013.

County Age Distribution (2012) :
Age: 0-19 20-24 25-44 45-64 65+ 85+ Total % Split
Male......... 4,834 893 3,934 4,409 2,071 255 16,141 50.1 %
Female...... 4,537 796 3,708 4,324 2,731 518 16,096 49.9 %

Total: 9,371 1,689 7,642 8,733 4,802 773

Median Age (2012):     State 36.3 years       County 38.2 years

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, County Population Estimates by Selected Age and Gender. Released June 2012.
State Data. U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey

top of page LABOR
Labor Force
Labor Force.....1,020,91318,91166,095    
Total Employment.....980,66818,26563,873    
Unemployment as % of Labor Force.....4.4%3.4%3.4%    

1) Area labor force and employment data are for the county plus the contiguous counties.
For further information regarding underemployment in the area, please contact NPPD at (800) 282-6773.
Source: Year end 2012, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online Data, Released 6/28/2013.

Wages: Sample of hourly wage rates in manufacturing occupations (production and/or clerical).
Job Title 10th
Median 90th
Accountants and Auditors$18.25$27.77$45.86
Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other$8.42$12.87$17.02
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics$9.86$16.78$25.25
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks$8.94$13.71$19.88
Civil Engineers$20.46$38.06$54.54
Computer Operators$8.93$14.56$23.15
Computer Programmers$16.88$30.37$92.53
Computer Systems Analysts$24.54$39.72$92.53
Customer Service Representatives$9.13$13.18$19.16
Cutting and Slicing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders$13.12$17.83$22.84
Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$11.20$14.78$24.64
Data Entry Keyers$11.33$16.76$22.56
Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$10.12$11.45$14.30
Driver/Sales Workers$8.26$11.35$25.34
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians$18.50$29.49$38.13
Electrical Engineers$27.04$36.49$48.23
Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$11.01$16.41$19.10
Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks$7.90$9.35$11.72
Industrial Engineers$25.12$34.53$46.36
Industrial Machinery Mechanics$13.30$17.73$23.12
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators$11.19$13.92$18.71
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand$8.63$12.46$17.88
Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$13.54$17.00$19.28
Maintenance Workers, Machinery$15.90$19.88$24.65
Mechanical Engineers$20.24$30.01$43.16
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists$20.22$28.19$35.72
Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$13.27$20.80$23.61
Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic$12.05$15.54$18.48
Nursing Assistants$9.63$11.09$14.13
Office Clerks, General$8.29$11.38$16.63
Packers and Packagers, Hand$8.23$13.07$16.91
Receptionists and Information Clerks$8.47$11.73$15.65
Registered Nurses$19.63$25.00$34.12
Retail Salespersons$8.13$9.68$17.66
Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive$9.35$12.54$18.13
Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks$9.76$14.37$19.07
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers$8.06$9.74$15.09
Tool and Die Makers$16.63$21.12$23.83
Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer$11.57$18.27$24.13
Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery Services$8.89$16.48$30.12
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers$11.76$16.02$24.01
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders$14.44$17.24$19.20

Source: Nebraska Workforce Development, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, Fourth Quarter 2013.

Percent of Manufacturing Labor Force Unionized............0%
Number of Work Stoppages in Past 5 Years ............0

According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, the Columbus economy has the second largest share of manufacturing employment compared to other Nebraska micropolitan areas. The area has Nebraska's highest concentration of electrical equipment and appliances manufacturing. The electrical equipment and appliances manufacturer for the area reveals the highest location quotient of all metropolitan/micropolitan areas. Fabricated metal product manufacturing also has a high location quotient of 5.14, also the highest of all the metropolitan/micropolitan areas. Machine manufacturing, also a major contributor to the findings, boasts a location quotient of 3.71, the third highest in Nebraska metropolitan/micropolitan areas. The Columbus area reports an overall Manufacturing Location Quotient of 2.77. When compared to other metropolitan/micropolitan areas within the state, it can be said that the Columbus area is a major hub for the manufacturing industry.


Motor Carrier:

Number & Type of Roads Serving Community -
Limited Access, Four-Lane Hwys.....200
Improved Two-Lane Hwys.....005
Hwy. NameMiles
Miles to nearest Interstate hwy.....I-8051
Miles to nearest four-lane hwy.....US-30 & US-810

Motor Freight Carriers:
  More than 13,500 licensed motor carriers with worldwide connections are based in Nebraska and serve businesses throughout North America.

Nebraska Right in the Middle!

Transit Time for Carload or Truckload Lots to:
Distance by
Hwy. Miles
Days by
Days by
Motor Freight
Omaha.....851-2 days1 Day
Lincoln.....751-2 days1 Day
Chicago.....5421-3 days1-2 days
Dallas.....6423-4 days2-3 days
Denver.....4701-3 days1-2 days
Kansas City.....2741-3 days1-2 days
Los Angeles.....14814-7 days2-3 days
Minneapolis.....3961-3 days1-2 days
New York.....13154-7 days3-5 days
St. Louis.....5241-3 days2-3 days
Legal Trucking Distances - Nebraska

East-west U.S. Highway 30 and north-south U.S. Highway 81 intersect in Columbus. Interstate 80 is 54 miles south and Interstate 29 is 85 miles east of Columbus. U.S. Highway 81 is four-laned from seven miles south of Columbus to Norfolk. U.S. Highway 30 is four-laned from Columbus to Omaha with the exception of approximately 25 miles east of Schuyler to west of Fremont. The Lost Creek Parkway, provides travel around the northern edge of the city. The four-lane expressway begins on the east side of Columbus and continues northwest to US Highway 81. The expressway provides an expanded roadway network to relieve heavy truck traffic and commuter traffic volumes on the congested segment of U.S. Highways 30 and 81 within the central area of Columbus. The expressway will function as an integral part of the city's roadway network and will provide bypass benefits for through movements, resulting in an improved level of service for the city's transportation system.

Distance to nearest public airport.....1 minute(s)
Elevation.....1,444 feet
Length of longest runway.....6,781 feet
Runway lighted.....Yes
Private aircraft storage available.....Yes
Private aircraft maintenance available.....Yes
Distance to nearest commercial air transportation.....75 minute(s)

Distance to nearest international airport:

Name of Airport Miles to Airport
from Community
Omaha Eppley International 91
Kansas City International 257
Denver International 463

The Columbus Municipal Airport is utilized by both commercial and private aircraft. Air freight and air express services are available. Commercial air service is available at the Lincoln Airport, 75 miles (75 minutes) southeast, and Omaha's Eppley Airfield, 84 miles (95 minutes) east of Columbus.


Barge service is available at 10 barge terminal facilities on the Missouri River in Nebraska. These river ports are navigable approximately eight months per year. The Omaha river port is 85 miles east of Columbus. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a 9-foot deep, 300 foot wide channel for 735 navigable miles from Sioux City to the mouth of the Missouri River. Commodities transported by towing companies are grain and grain products, fertilizer, feed ingredients, cement, rock-aggregate and salt.

Community Served by Railroad.....Yes
Distance to Nearest Railroad..... 0 mile(s)
Number of Freight Trains Per Day.....75 - 85
Functional Piggyback Ramp Available.....No
Distance to Nearest Piggyback Service.....90 mile(s)

Name of Railroad(s) Serving Community: Union Pacific Railroad
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Nebraska Central Railroad

Columbus is served by the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad with 85 freight trains daily. Switching is done daily by a local switch crew. BNSF Railway Company has a branch line that serves Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) daily. The Nebraska Central Railroad, a short-line railroad, operates lines in Columbus and communities north of the city.

top of page UTILITIES


 State Electric Power Deregulated.....   No

Electric System Operator: Loup Public Power District
  phone - (402) 564-3171
  website -
  email -
  comments -
Loup Power District, a wholesale power customer of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), is a full-service, public power electric utility in eastern-central Nebraska. Headquartered in Columbus, Neb., Loup's service area covers approximately 2,028 square miles. The District maintains 780 miles of transmission and distribution lines and has been generating electric power since March 5, 1937. Total population within Loup's service area is approximately 50,000. Loup purchases, sells and delivers approximately 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of electric power annually to wholesale and retail customers across a service area that spans four counties entirely and parts of three others. Loup promotes the economic and industrial development of its service area. For further specifics on your project needs, please contact David Bell, Vice President of Development-Marketing, by calling 402-564-3171 ext. 257.

Wholesale Supplier: Loup Public Power District
Additional Comments: Loup Power District, a wholesale power customer of Nebraska Public Power District, provides retail electric service to Columbus. Columbus has two 37 MVA and four 56 MVA transformers that feed into eight 34.5 kV subtransmission lines, which form a 34.5 kV grid around and through the city and adjacent industrial areas. The distribution system voltage throughout Columbus and the surrounding area is 12,470 volts. Loup Power provides power to 20 other communities in the four-county area of Colfax, Nance, Boone, Platte and portions of Madison Counties and wholesale service to the communities of Leigh and Schuyler. Cornhusker Power provides service to rural areas in six counties surrounding Columbus. Loup Power District, Nebraska Public Power District, and Cornhusker Public Power District are headquartered in Columbus.

Natural Gas:
Natural Gas Service Available.....Yes
Supplier in Community.....Black Hills Energy

Black Hills Energy the retail supplier of natural gas in Columbus. The community is served by a four-inch line at 80 pounds of pressure. Northern Natural Gas company is the pipeline company.

Provider.....City of Columbus
Major Source.....12 active wells
If Wells, Average Depth.....125 feet
Rated Capacity.....20.200 mgd
Average Capacity.....5.045 mgd
Peak Demand.....14.160 mgd
Storage Capacity.....5,850,000 gallons
Hardness.....318 ppm
Temperature Range.....52 winter; 55 summer (degrees Fahrenheit)

The city of Columbus obtains its water from the aquifer beneath the city. The aquifer has an effective saturated thickness of approximately 150 feet in the Columbus area and the water table is within a few feet of the surface. The annual water quality report for Columbus is available at or or call Public Works/Enviornmental Service Department in Columbus at (402)562-4260.

Sanitation/Waste Water:
Name of Provider.....City of Columbus
Type of Service.....Activated Slude Wastewater Treatment Facility
Rated Capacity.....7.700 (mgd)
Average Daily Demand.....3.500 (mgd)
Peak Demand.....7.500 (mgd)
Sewer Connection Fee.....Yes

The original conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment facility was constructed and placed in operation in 1969. In 1989 it was expanded for additional capacity and treatment to meet additional permit requirements. In 2004 the city expanded the capacity of the facility by constructing an Orbal Multichannel Oxidation System on the protected side of the flood levee. This wastewater treatment facility expansion included a three concentric channel oxidation ditch, two final clarifiers, flow splitter structure, pump station, biosolids process and storage facility, and an administraitve laboratory buiding. These improvements are intended to provide: Increased wastewater treatment capacity to meet city growth (residential and industrial) and ammonia permit limits; Expand solids processing to meet growth and produce Class A biosolids; Screening of influent wastewater to remove large solids prior to treatment; and Improve operator control and process monitorial facilities. Current projects underway include Geodesic dome covers for the secondary clarifiers and converting the chlorination/dechlorination disinfection process to Ultraviolet disinfection.

Name of Local Service Provider.....Frontier Communications
Number of Long Distance Service Providers.....5

Frontier Communications is the local exchange carrier in the Columbus area with a Lucent GTD-5 digital central office, served via an OC 48 and an OC 3 fiber optic system. Frontier is capable of providing T3's, T1's, ISDN, dedicated Internet service, frame relay, voice mail, equal access which can service all long distance companies, and digital "class" calling features. Alternate routes are available for T1 services.

top of page TAX STRUCTURE

Actual Valuation of City: $1,257,950,788 (year 2012)
Real Property Tax Rates ($ per $100 of actual value):
For Year: 2012
Total Real Property.......$1.9604910

Bond Indebtedness:
For Year: 2012
General Obligation.........$4,725,000.00

All real property is required to be appraised at its actual value. Agricultural land is valued at 69% - 75% of its market value. Personal property that is used in a trade or business and is depreciable is subject to tax at its "net book value." All other personal property is exempt from taxation. The 2012 tax rate at the industrial sites outside the city limits is $1.663698 per $100 of actual value.

Type of Government..... Mayor-Council
Comprehensive City Plan..... Yes, 2005 (year)
City Manager..... Yes
City Engineer..... Yes
City Zoning Ordinance in Effect..... Yes
County Zoning Ordinance in Effect..... No
Garbage Service Provider..... Private
Public Library in City..... Yes
Percent of Streets Paved..... 80 %
Number Full-Time Fire Department Personnel..... 15
Number Volunteer Fire Department Personnel..... 68
Number Full-Time Police Officers..... 36
Inside CityOutside City
Fire Insurance Class..... 45-9

Platte County has 18 townships and is governed by a seven-member Board of Supervisors. Columbus, a city of the first class, has a mayor-council with a full time city administrator. Columbus, Nebraska is the county seat of Platte County and is located near the junction of the Platte and Loup rivers in east-central Nebraska. Columbus derived its name from its first settlers who came from Columbus, Ohio, and founded Columbus in 1856. On February 11, 1865, the "Town of Columbus" was incorporated by an act of the legislature and was also made the county seat for Platte County. It grew to a city of the second class on February 7, 1877, and made the transition to a city of the first class on September 25, 1907.

Public Schools# of SchoolsEnrollmentTeacher/Student Ratio
Elementary 72,0591:18
Middle / Jr. High 29021:14
Senior High 21,3571:18
Trade & Tech Schools 00
Community College 1500
Four-Year College 00
University 00
Private Schools# of SchoolsEnrollmentTeacher/Student Ratio
Elementary 77591:17
Middle / Jr. High 11431:18
Senior High 23041:16
Colleges 00

Type of facilities in city or within 30 minutes:
Public Golf Course(s).....7
Private Golf Course(s).....1
Public Tennis Court(s).....24
Public Swimming Pool(s).....8
Public Park(s).....30
Public Camp Ground(s).....9
Nearest Public Access to Lake or River.....1 mile(s)
Motorized Boats.....Yes
Water Skiing/Tubing.....Yes

Columbus and the surrounding area enjoy numerous parks, museums, historical sites, live thoroughbred racing, hiking/biking on various trails, fishing, golfing, skating, swimming, bowling, wildlife management areas, stockcar racing, 'Lawn Chairs on the Square' featuring a variety of musical events, county fairs, and an abundance of other events throughout the year. Pawnee Park, the "Picnic Capital of Nebraska" covers 155 acres and is the destination of family outings. Also included in the park is Pawnee Plunge, a 15,645 square foot water park which opened in 2006. It can hold 1,706 visitors and features a zero-depth entry pool with a tot-friendly AquaDek, sea animal walk complete with octopus, lazy river, tube slide, speed slide, curve slide, and unique Splash Bowl. The Plunge also features a sand play area and food court.

top of page HOUSING
Number of Single Units Built in Last 2 Years..... 97
Number of Multiple Units Built in Last 2 Years..... 29
Average Cost Per Square Foot of Single Units Built in Last 2 Years..... $138
Average Monthly Rental - 3 Bedroom House..... $800
Average Monthly Rental - 2 Bedroom Apartment..... $500
Average Cost of Houses Sold (last 2 years)..... $169,000

Columbus has a wide selection of various priced homes, townhouses, apartments, and assisted & independent living facilities. Options are unlimited and always close to schools and parks. The cost of living is well below the national average.

Number of Hospitals in Community.....1
Number of Beds in Hospital(s).....56
Number of Outpatient Clinics.....42
Medical Personnel in or Serving Community:
Medical Doctor(s) / Physician Assistant(s).....141
Dentist(s) / Orthodontist(s).....13
Nurse(s) (registered or practical).....144
Optometrist(s) / Ophthalmologist(s).....9

Columbus Community Hospital, a not-for-profit hospital, is community-owned. The facility opened its doors in 2002 and is located on 80 acres in the northwest part of Columbus. The 153,000-square-foot hospital is a four-story, prairie-style building with an attached 40,000-square-foot, one story medical office building housing local and visiting physicians. Columbus Community Hospital is licensed by the Nebraska State Board of Health and is accredited through The Joint Commission. The hospital is also a member of the Nebraska Hospital Association, American Hospital Association, Voluntary Hospital Association, and Heartland Health Alliance. The Columbus Cancer Center, located in the medical office building, treats area patients with blood disorders or cancer. The Dialysis Center of Columbus, a satellite unit of the Dailysis Center of Lincoln, Inc., is a 12-station facility providing outpatient hemodialysis to patients in Columbus and the surrounding areas.

Machine Shops in City.......14
Tool & Die Services in City.......2
Electric Motor Repair Services in City.......2

Type of Newspaper in City.......daily
Local Radio Station(s).......8

Number of TV Channels Received without Cable.......6
Cable Antenna Television Serves City.......Yes
Maximum Number of Cable Channels Received.......350

Number of Protestant Churches.......31
Number of Catholic Churches.......3
Number of Synagogues.......0

Number of Motels & Hotels in Community.......11
Total Number of Rooms Available.......625

Number of Banks in City.......15
Number of Savings & Loan Firms.......0Assets: $0

Chamber of Commerce.......Yes
Chamber Executive is Full-Time.......Yes

Included in the total number of banks are three credit unions, Union Loan, Inc., and Farm Credit Services.

Number of Manufacturing Plants in Community.....79
Number of Manufacturing Plants with Unions.....0
Number of Manufacturing Employees.....6,400

Nebraska locations have proven profitable for an increasing number of manufacturing firms -- so profitable that Nebraska now has more than 2,000 manufacturing establishments. Food processing is the leading type of manufacturing, followed by industrial machinery and electronic equipment. Nebraska ranks second nationally in ethanol production. The state has 23 operating plants producing more than two billion gallons of ethanol per year.


Leading Employers in Community:

#1.Business Name:BD Medical Pharmaceutical Systems
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 677   (Male: 316   Female: 361)
Year Established:1951
Products/Service:Glass syringes
#2.Business Name:BD Medical Surgical
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 884   (Male: 475   Female: 409)
Year Established:1949
Products/Service:Hypodermic needles & syringes
#3.Business Name:Behlen Mfg.
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 566   (Male: 0   Female: 0)
Year Established:1936
Products/Service:Steel buildings, agricultural & livestock
#4.Business Name:CAMACO
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 449   (Male: 0   Female: 0)
Year Established:1965
Products/Service:Automotive seats & frames
#5.Business Name:Cargill
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 352   (Male: 0   Female: 0)
Year Established:1995
Products/Service:Ground beef processing
#6.Business Name:Columbus City Schools
Service Sector: Education & Health Services
Employment Number: Total: 580   (Male: 110   Female: 470)
Year Established:1860
#7.Business Name:Columbus Community Hospital
Service Sector: Education & Health Services
Employment Number: Total: 502   (Male: 70   Female: 432)
Year Established:1922
#8.Business Name:ADM Corn Processing - Columbus
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 430   (Male: 0   Female: 0)
Year Established:1992
Products/Service:Wet corn milling, corn starch, fructose, ethanol
#9.Business Name:Nebraska Public Power District (Columbus only)
Service Sector: Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities
Employment Number: Total: 438   (Male: 262   Female: 176)
Year Established:1941
Products/Service:General office of electric utility
#10.Business Name:Vishay Dale Electronics
Service Sector: Manufacturing
Employment Number: Total: 537   (Male: 206   Female: 331)
Year Established:1951
Products/Service:Electronic components

Industrial Buildings Available in Community.......6
Spec Buildings Available.......0
Details Available Online.......Yes
Details Available in Print.......Yes
Suggested links for further information on available buildings:
Buildings Available on LOIS for Columbus

The Columbus Economic Council maintains an inventory of vacant buildings from 7,060 to 158,435 square feet.

Controlled Industrial Sites Available in Community.......4
Details Available Online.......Yes
Details Available in Print.......Yes
Suggested links for further information on available sites:
Sites Available on LOIS for Columbus

The Columbus Economic Council has sites of 5 acres up to 174 acres available on request. Most sites have all utilities and railroad access adjacent or near the sites.

Our Community: The 2010 U.S. Census shows Columbus having a population of 22,111. The population within a 15-mile radius of Columbus is 39,217; within a 30-mile radius 73,316; and within a 50-mile radius 235,599.

Facts Book:
Columbus Facts Book (PDF)
Suggested Sites:
City of Columbus @
Loup Power District @
Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce @
Columbus Community Hospital @
Columbus Public Schools @
certified community

David Bell
Columbus Economic Council
P.O. Box 988
2404 15th St.
Columbus, NE 68602-0988
Phone:402-564-3171, Ext. 257
 Joseph A. Mangiamelli
City of Columbus
P.O. Box 1677
2424 14th St.
Columbus, NE 68602-1677
State Contacts:Catherine Lang, Director
Neb. Dept. of Economic Development
PO Box 94666
301 Centennial Mall South
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-4747 or (800) 426-6505
 Rick Nelsen, Economic Development Manager
Nebraska Public Power District
PO Box 499
1414 15th Street
Columbus, NE 68601
Phone: (402) 563-5534 or (800) 282-6773, ext. 5534
Fax: (402) 563-5090

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