Nebraska is composed of two major land regions: the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The Dissected Till Plains is a region of gently rolling hills and contains the state’s largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln. The Great Plains occupy most of western Nebraska, characterized by treeless prairie, suitable for cattle-grazing. The state has a large agriculture sector and is a major producer of beef, pork, corn and soybeans. There are two major climatic zones: the eastern half of the state has a humid continental climate, with a unique warmer subtype considered „warm-temperate“ near the southern plains like in Kansas and Oklahoma which have a predominantly humid subtropical climate. The western half has a primarily semi-arid climate. The state has wide variations between winter and summer temperatures, decreasing south through the state.
Eighty-nine percent of the cities in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people. Nebraska shares this characteristic with five other Midwestern states: Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota, and Iowa. Hundreds of towns have a population of fewer than 1,000. Regional population declines have forced many rural schools to consolidate. More urbanized areas of the state have experienced substantial growth. In 2000, the city of Omaha had a population of 390,007; in 2005, the city’s estimated population was 414,521 (427,872 including the recently annexed city of Elkhorn), a 6.3% increase over five years. The 2010 census showed that Omaha has a population of 408,958. The city of Lincoln had a 2000 population of 225,581 and a 2010 population of 258,379, a 14.5% increase.