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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Dawes County

Communities & Development

Dawes County Seat: Chadron

Total County Population (2020): 8,199

  • Cities (pop. & class): Chadron (5,206 • 1st Class), Crawford (840 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Whitney (62)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 2,091 (26%)

Land Development (2022) (% of total land in county):

  • Agriculture: 88% 
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (72%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (13%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (2%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 72%, Alfalfa 6%, Other Hay 3%, Wheat 2%, Corn 1%, Millet 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some fallow land (2%) and some wetlands (1%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 12%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

451 Main Street
Chadron, Nebraska 69337
M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Webb Johnson

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Panhandle

District President: Rich Flores, Kimball County Commissioner

District Vice President: Susanna Batterman, Morrill County Commissioner

District Secretary: Kelly Sides, Scotts Bluff County Clerk

District Treasurer: Beth Fiegenschuh, Cheyenne County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Steve Burke, Box Butte County Commissioner

Click for a live look at Dawes County (south of Chadron)


Population: 8,199
Land area (sq. mi.): 1,396.39
Population per square mile: 5.9

Race & Age


White: 84.7%
African American: 2.0%
American Indian: 3.9%
Asian: 0.6%
Hispanic: 4.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Two or More Races: 4.4%


0-17: 17.6%
18-64: 62.8%
65+: 19.6%


Personal income per capita: $47,375
% of Population in Poverty: 14.7%
# of Housing Units: 4,002
Owner-occupied rate: 63.2%
Median home price: $147,880


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 29.9%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library Commission, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Census Bureau

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.6% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 94.0%

School Districts: Chadron Public Schools, Crawford Public Schools, Hay Springs Public Schools, Hemingford Public Schools, Sioux County Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 38.2%

Community College Service Area: Western Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 17 providers; 289 children

Find child care: For a list of child care providers in your zip code, visit Nebraska DHHS or the Nebraska Resource and Referral System.

Dawes County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $306,294,000

Cattle Producers: 261

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $16/acre

Crop Producers: 79

  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $165/acre

Farmers Market: Crawford Farmers Market (July through September, Sundays 11:00 am- 2:00 pm)

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: WESTCO

Local Grain Market: Click for today's grain prices in Dawes County

Electricity Providers: Nebraska PPD, Niobrara Electric Association, Inc., Northwest Rural PPD

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 1 turbine (100 MW)

Rail-served Communities: Belmont, Chadron, Crawford, Marsland, Whitney

Well Locations (Irrigation/Livestock), Soils, Groundwater & Surface Water

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 335

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 283

Click for real time:

Groundwater level data on Carlson Rd. (16 mi. southeast of Chadron)

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary EducationNebraska Department of TransportationNebraska Office of the CIO, Nebraska Power Review Board, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau

2022 Levies and Valuation

County levy rate: $0.3923 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $4,074,969

Total local government property taxes levied: $17,499,486

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,038,844,388

Federal PILT payment to Dawes County (FY2022): $179,307 regarding 63,563 federally-owned acres

Federal SRS payment to Dawes County (FY 2022): $40,575 regarding the Nebraska National Forest

Click here for all levy rates in Dawes County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to the levy limits listed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3442 and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3443.

Statutes and regulations

Nebraska Revised Statutes (Chapter 77)

Nebraska Administrative Code (Title 350)

Local tax reductions, exemptions, and credits:

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-902(5)(a) (Deed "stamp tax" exemption): "The [stamp tax] shall not apply to: ... (5)(a) Deeds between spouses, between ex-spouses for the purpose of conveying any rights to property acquired or held during the marriage, or between parent and child, without actual consideration therefor."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-201(2) (Valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land): "Agricultural land and horticultural land as defined in section 77-1359 shall constitute a separate and distinct class of property for purposes of property taxation, shall be subject to taxation, unless expressly exempt from taxation, and shall be valued at seventy-five percent of its actual value, except that for school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds that are approved by a vote of the people on or after January 1, 2022, such land shall be valued at fifty percent of its actual value."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-6703(1) (Tax credit for school district taxes paid): "(1) For taxable years beginning or deemed to begin on or after January 1, 2020, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, there shall be allowed to each eligible taxpayer a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 or against the franchise tax imposed by sections 77-3801 to 77-3807. The credit shall be equal to the credit percentage for the taxable year, as set by the department under subsection (2) of this section, multiplied by the amount of school district taxes paid by the eligible taxpayer during such taxable year."

Sources: Nebraska Department of Revenue

State Senator: Tom Brewer (District 43)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings):

Special Committees:

  • State-Tribal Relations

Map and statistics for Legislative District 43

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Dawes County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 15

Year Authorized: 1855

Year Organized: 1855

Etymology: James W. Dawes (Nebraska’s 6th governor)

     In the 1870s, the area that would become Dawes County was inhabited by two large divisions of the Sioux tribe: the Brules inhabited the land near the White River, while the Oglalas occupied territory just east of Fort Robinson. The lands were unsurveyed and considered by the government to be public domain, rather than the rightful lands of the Native Americans. At the time, the unwritten laws dictated that establishing a ranch entitled a man to sufficient range for his needs, including land already inhabited by indigenous tribes.

     In the 1880’s, railroads began expanding their lines through the territory while the government set about surveying the area for settlement. While open range ranching dominated the landscape for years, newly arrived homesteaders also began farming grain. By the 1890’s, the cowboy era ended as frontier lands were settled and barbed wire, railroads, and farmland reduced the open range.

     Dawes County was officially organized in 1885, when Sioux County was divided into Dawes and Sheridan County. The county was named for Governor James W. Dawes and was home to Fort Robinson, now a popular historical tourist attraction. A special election established Chadron as the county seat, and in 1887, county residents spent $35,000 (approximately $600,000 today) to construct a courthouse, which lasted until the present courthouse was built in 1936.

     Today, Dawes County is home to Chadron State College, parts of the Nebraska National Forest, and Chadron State Park. The county is also home to many different sectors of economic development—not only the traditional sectors of farming, ranching, manufacturing, and tourism, but also uranium mining.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 69

Time Zone: Mountain

Number of Veterans: 699

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 48

Number of County-Owned Dams: 1

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 62.73%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 2,500

Number of Precincts (2020): 5

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 5

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 178.88 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: Panhandle

Natural Resource District: Upper Republican NRD

State Lands (acres): Bighorn WMA (1,270.65), Bordeaux WMA, Box Butte Reservoir WMA (1,955), Chadron Creek Ranch WMA (2,529), Chadron State College (281), Chadron State Park (974.26), Fort Robinson State Park (22,332.72 Sioux & Dawes), Ponderosa WMA (4,831)

Federal Lands (acres): Ogalala National Grassland (94,397 Sioux & Dawes), Ogalala National Grassland (94,397 Dawes & Sioux), Pine Ridge Ranger District National Forest (40,947)

Sources: Nebraska Department of Transportation, Nebraska Emergency Management AgencyNebraska Game & Parks CommissionNebraska LegislatureNebraska Office of the CIONebraska Secretary of StateU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (eCFR)