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Ann Arbor vs. Lincoln, NE – How Do We Compare?

September 29, 2023 Regional Updates

Game 5: Saturday, September 30, 2023 | Michigan vs. Nebraska | Memorial Stadium | 3:30 PM EST

Ann Arbor SPARK’s popular football blog series is back for Michigan’s 144th season! We use the football season as an opportunity to compare Ann Arbor to cities around the country represented by our U-M football competition. The question is always – how does Ann Arbor compare to other college towns in the U.S.?

The No. 2 Wolverines (4-0) travel to the University of Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers (2-2) this week in a matchup where Michigan is favored to win. To date, the two teams have only faced off 12 times since 1905, with Michigan leading the series, 6-4-1 (legend has it the game in 1911 resulting in a tie was a real nail-biter). 

Fun fact: According to Lincoln’s Asian Community and Cultural Center, Lancaster County is the nation’s 18th-largest resettlement area for Asian refugees and immigrants. While the first thing that likely comes to mind when thinking of Nebraska is not its banh-mi, Lincoln actually has a rich history of refugee resettlement. Specifically, in the 1970s the U.S. government designated Lincoln as a refugee-friendly city due to its stable economy, educational institutions, and size. As a result, large numbers of refugees from Vietnam settled in Lincoln, and further waves came from other countries. So much so that in 2013, Lincoln was named one of the “Top Ten most Welcoming Cities in America” by Welcoming America.

When it comes to comparing the two cities, Lincoln is actually closer to Ann Arbor than some of our past analyses in terms of population demographics, however, it’s about twice as big (121,536 people in Ann Arbor and 292,657 people in Lincoln). Lincoln is Nebraska’s state capital, and while there is also a university in town, the largest employer is by far the State of Nebraska.

The cost of living is relatively low in Lincoln (95.4 compared to 99.9 in Ann Arbor) which is also reflected in the median household income ($33,955 compared to $73,276 in Ann Arbor). As of August 2023, Lancaster County reported an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, which is lower than the rate of 3.9 percent in Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor’s educational attainment bests that of Lincoln’s by more than double with more than 77 percent of the population possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to only 40 percent in Lincoln.

Be on the lookout for our blog posts ahead of each game all season long and be sure to tag us when you share these interesting tidbits with your friends via social media! And, if you want more information like this or are curious to learn more about the Ann Arbor region and what makes it such a great place to live, work, and locate your business, please reach out to our Director of Research, Melissa Sheldon.

In case you missed it, here are links to the regional comparisons we’ve posted so far this year: 

Benchmarking the Ann Arbor Region: 2023 Economic Competitive Assessment

Game 1: Ann Arbor vs. Greenville, NC

Game 2: Ann Arbor vs. Las Vegas, NV

Game 3: Ann Arbor vs. Bowling Green, OH

Game 4: Ann Arbor vs. New Brunswick, NJ