Skip to main content

Nebraska Counties Explorer

Wayne County

Communities and Development

Wayne County Seat: Wayne

Total County Population (2020): 9,697

  • Cities (pop. & class): Wakefield (1,522 • 2nd Class), Wayne (5,973 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Carroll (191), Hoskins (263), Sholes (16), Winside (379)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 2,741 (28%)

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

  • Agriculture: 91%
    • By method: Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (67%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (17%); Pasture (pure grassland) (7%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 46%, Soybeans 36%, Livestock (grassland) 7%, Alfalfa 4%, Other Hay 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 9%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

510 Pearl St
Wayne, NE 68787
M-F 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Terry Sievers

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st & 3rd Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Northeast

President: Lisa Lunz, Dixon County Supervisor 

Vice President: Sandy Zoubek, Stanton County Treasurer

Secretary: Katie Hart, Burt County Assessor

Treasurer: Krista Nix, Knox County Deputy Clerk 

NACO Board Representative: Bill Tielke, Holt County Supervisor 

Click for a live look at Wayne County (west of Wayne)


Population: 9,697
Land area (sq. mi.): 442.92
Population per square mile: 21.9


White: 80.7%
African American: 3.6%
American Indian: 0.3%
Asian: 1.3%
Hispanic: 10.2%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Two or More Races: 3.2%


0-17: 19.8%
18-64: 63.5%
65+: 16.7%


Personal income per capita: $51,852
% of Population in Poverty: 9.5%
# of Housing Units: 3,950
Owner-occupied rate: 64.1%
Median home price: $170,200


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 71.0%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.7% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 96.0%

School Districts: Laurel-Concord-Coleridge School, Norfolk Public Schools, Pender Public Schools, Pierce Public Schools, Randolph Public Schools, Wakefield Public Schools, Wayne Community Schools, Winside Public Schools, Wisner-Pilger Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 31.9%

Community College Service Area: Northeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 17 providers; 426 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.

Wayne County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $524,621,000

Cattle Producers: 199

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $89/acre

Crop Producers: 123

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $240/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $301/acre

Dairy Producers: 4

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Farmers Cooperative

Farmers Market: Wayne Farmers Market (June - October, Wednesdays 4 - 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.)

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

Electricity Providers: Cedar-Knox PPD, City of Wakefield, City of Wayne, Cuming County PPD, Northeast Power, Stanton County PPD, Village of Winside

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 216 turbines (658,290 MW total)

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 415

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 25

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: $0.2416 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $5,210,641

Total local government property taxes levied: $30,833,971

Total countywide taxable valuation: $2,156,844,846

Click here for all levy rates in Wayne County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to levy limits under 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: Joni Albrecht (District 17)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • Committee on Committees (chairperson)

Special Committees: 

  • State-Tribal Relations

Map and statistics for Legislative District 17

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Wayne County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 5

Year Authorized: 1870

Year Organized: 1870

Etymology: Anthony Wayne (U.S. Revolutionary War general)

An interesting part of Wayne County's history centers around the events which led up to the construction of its present courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wayne County was organized by proclamation of Gov. David Butler in the fall of 1870, and named after Revolutionary War Gen. Anthony Wayne. At that time the settlement of LaPorte was selected as the county seat. LaPorte built a brick courthouse and anticipated it would become a prosperous settlement, especially since a railroad grade was laid between it and Emerson. But the railroad never materialized and neither did LaPorte.

In 1881 a movement was initiated to relocate the county seat to Wayne. One of the stipulations was that the Wayne Town Hall Association would be required to provide rent-free for five years a building that was suitable to house county offices, courts and records. The association readily obliged and constructed a $4,000 brick veneer building.

Then came "An Eventful Day," as the Logan Valley Herald referred to July 4, 1884. That was the day a large celebration was held to honor the veterans of the Civil War. Around midnight the celebration came to an abrupt end when a fire alarm brought celebrants to the building that served as the county's courthouse. Apparently two men who had over-indulged in the celebration had been taken to the jail earlier in the evening. It was believed that somehow the two started a fire which destroyed the county's offices and records. Honoring its original obligation, the Wayne Town Hall Association quickly replaced the destroyed building with a frame courthouse on the same site.

Two years before the fire, Wayne County had received a donation of land within the townsite of Wayne. The stipulation attached to this donation was that a courthouse must be built on the site and be used for at least 20 years. In 1899 a red brick Norman Chateau style building was completed at a cost of $32,000. Ninety-five years later the courthouse still serves as the home of Wayne County government.

Highlight an important program in your county in this space! Send an email to:

Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 27

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 502

Zoned County: No

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 211

Number of County-Owned Dams: 2

Election Data

General Election Turnout (2022): 59.81%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 5,413

Number of Precincts (2020): 10

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 442.92 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource District: Lower Elkhorn NRD

State Lands (acres): Thompson-Barnes WMA (160), Wayne State College (128)

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)