Nearly two-thirds of Nebraska's counties lost population in 2012 as the longstanding trend of the state's rural population shrinking while urban areas grow continued.
The 2012 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show population declines in 60 of Nebraska's 93 counties. And 42 counties recorded more deaths that births.
David Drozd, a researcher at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Public Affairs Research, says the state's three biggest counties -- Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy -- are now home to more than 53 percent of Nebraska's 1,855,525 population.
The population of those three counties, which are home to Omaha and Lincoln, grew by 13,098 between 2011 and 2012.
Nebraska also gained a fourth metro area. The Grand Island metropolitan area joins Lincoln, Omaha and Sioux City.