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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Dawson County

Communities & Development

Dawson County Seat: Lexington

Total County Population (2020): 24,111

  • Cities (pop. & class): Cozad (3,988 • 2nd Class), Gothenburg (3,478 • 2nd Class), Lexington (10,348 • 1st Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Eddyville (88), Farnam (182), Overton (607), Sumner (252)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 5,168 (21%)

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

  • Agriculture: 90%
    • By method: Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (45%); Pasture (pure grassland) (41%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (4%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 42%, Corn 31%, Soybeans 12%, Alfalfa 5% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (4%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 10%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

700 North Washington
Lexington, Nebraska 68850
1st Floor:  M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
2nd & 3rd Floor:  8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Richard Zarek

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st and 15th of the month

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Central

District President: Carrie Miller, Nuckolls County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Election Commissioner

District Vice President: Kali Bolli, Garfield County Assessor 

District Secretary/Treasurer: Cara Snider Wheeler County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Bill Maendele, Buffalo County Commissioner

Click for a live look at Dawson County (south of Overton)


Population: 24,111
Land area (sq. mi.): 1,013.60
Population per square mile: 23.8

Race & Age


White: 56.1%
African American: 4.9%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.8%
Hispanic: 35.8%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.2%
Two or More Races: 1.7%


18-64: 55.5%
65+: 17.1%


Personal income per capita: $49,653
% of Population in Poverty: 8.6%
# of Housing Units: 9,792
Owner-occupied rate: 67.9%
Median home price: $134,300


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 85.8%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 2.1% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 79.1%

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

Bachelor's degree or higher: 16.7%

Community College Service Area: Central Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 38 providers; 944 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.

Dawson County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $1,502,329,000

Cattle Producers: 297

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $37/acre

Crop Producers: 347

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $103/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $244/acre

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: CHS, Country Partners Cooperative

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

Farmers Markets:

  • Cozad Farmers Market (June - Sept, Saturdays 8 - 10 a.m.)
  • Cozad Farmers Market - GGC ( July - October, Wednesdays 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.)
  • Gothenburg Farmers Market ( July - October, Thursdays 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.)
  • Lexington Farmers Market (June 8 thru Oct. 12, Tuesdays, 3 - 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 - 11 a.m.)

Electricity Providers: City of Gothenburg, City of Lexington, Cozad Board of Public Works, Custer PPD, Dawson PPD, Southern PPD

Rail-served Communities: Cozad, Farnam, Gothenburg, Lexington, Willow Island

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 3,868

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 86

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Platte River (south channel) near Overton

Streamflow data on the Platte River (mid-channel) near the Village of Elm Creek

Streamflow data on Buffalo Creek near Overton

Streamflow data on Spring Creek near Overton

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: $0.3318 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $11,620,890

Total local government property taxes levied: $59,582,808

Total countywide taxable valuation: $3,502,352,623

Click here for all levy rates in Dawson 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: Teresa J. Ibach (District 44)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • Rules

Special Committees: 

  • Building Maintenance
  • Legislature's Planning

Map and statistics for Legislative District 44

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Dawson County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 10

Year Authorized: 1860

Year Organized: 1871

Etymology: Jacob Dawson (City of Lincoln's first postmaster)

     Dawson County is named after Jacob Dawson, the first postmaster of the village of Lancaster (a community located in eastern Nebraska which would later become Lincoln, the state capitol). Established by the Territorial Legislature in 1860, Dawson County was originally home to a few settlements, ranchers, and a trading post. The telegraph, stage coach, and railroad all passed through the county, cementing its place as a communication and  transportation throughfare in central Nebraska.

     Plum Creek, which runs through southwest Dawson County, briefly captured the nation’s attention when gold was reportedly discovered along its banks in 1873. Unfortunately, Plum Creek was not the next Sutter’s Mill, and there would be no “Seventy-three-ers” arriving en masse to Dawson County. Geological tests quickly determined the metal was not gold, breaking the hearts of recently arrived settlers and prospectors.

     Undeterred by the lack of immediate fortune, Plum Creek became an important urban hub and witnessed the construction of schools and churches during its early years. In 1886, the community of Plum Creek became incorporated, and 1889, residents re-named it Lexington in honor of a Civil War battle. Today, Lexington is one of three principal cities in Dawson County, including Gothenburg and Cozad.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 18

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 1,245

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 152

Number of County-Owned Dams: 15

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 42.46%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 13,805

Number of Precincts (2020): 20

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 17

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 59.62 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource District: Central Platte NRD

State Lands (acres): Bittern's Call WMA (78.93), Blue Heron WMA (60.80), Cozad Rest Area EB (7.9), Cozad Rest Area WB (5.6), Cozad WMA (198.41), Darr WMA (30.87), Darr Strip WMA (980.82), Dogwood WMA (407.32), East Gothenburg WMA (37.62), East Willow WMA (36.80), Gallagher Canyon SRA (23.86), Plum Creek WMA (2), West Cozad WMA (47.63), Willow Island WMA (75.38)

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)