Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jeremy H. Lipschultz


Communication and migration are tied through the common concept of community. Communication is the nervous system of a community, transmitting shared ideals, goals, and norms among citizens. Communication also is the process by which a community projects its identity or image to the outside world to attract new individuals who will nourish it economically and socially. Despite this deep connection between communication and community, migration research seldom incorporates communication theory. Likewise, communication scholars rarely look at the process of migration. The purpose of this thesis was to establish those theoretical links between communication and migration, look at how communication has influenced migration in Nebraska, and assess the impact migration has had on the state. A qualitative analysis of interviews with 13 recent migrants to the Omaha area found that interpersonal communication had more influence over their decision to migrate than did mass media and that the positive images migrants had of Nebraska were mostly that of a state with a lower cost of living and ample job opportunities. Interviews with officials responsible for promoting Nebraska's image determined that most of their efforts are aimed at selling the economic benefits of the state to businesses and high technology workers. There is no widespread, organized campaign to lure migrants as a whole. Finally, a statistical analysis of six years of migration data found a net out-migration large enough to erode the overall value of Nebraska's human capital, as measured by educational attainment and earnings. The study concluded, among other things, that Nebraska officials must broaden their view of desired capital to include all migrants, not just businesses and high-tech workers, and that the state and private sector must integrate their efforts to attract new residents if Nebraska is to reduce or stop the loss of human capital due to out-migration.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1999, Carol Napolitano