Poorest Cities In Nebraska For 2021


We used science and data to determine which places in Nebraska are basically dead broke.

RoadSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the poorest places in Nebraska.

Nebraska brings to mind images of Lincoln, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you'll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Nebraska has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Nebraska that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 32 places in Nebraska with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Nebraska for 2021:

  1. Scottsbluff
  2. Crete
  3. Alliance
  4. Wayne
  5. Beatrice
  6. Fremont
  7. Norfolk
  8. Lexington
  9. Chadron
  10. South Sioux City

Again, this isn't a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it's just a look at the facts.

What's the poorst city in Nebraska? According to the facts, Scottsbluff is the poorest place in Nebraska for 2021.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best places in Nebraska or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

The 10 Poorest Cities In Nebraska For 2021

1. Scottsbluff

Scottsbluff, NE

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 14,737
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $44,354 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.0% (3rd highest)
More on Scottsbluff:  Data | Photos

Scottsbluff, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Nebraska thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 14,737 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in Nebraska and the 3rd highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

2. Crete

Crete, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,043
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 5)
Median Income: $45,717 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.1% (highest)
More on Crete:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Nebraska is Crete.

The city ranks as having the highest incidence of poverty and 4th lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate 'only' ranks as the 6th highest in the Cornhusker State.

3. Alliance

Alliance, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,235
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 6)
Median Income: $48,805 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 15.2% (9th highest)
More on Alliance:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Alliance's median income ranks as the 9th lowest.

And that's a sign that there's a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 15.225470763131812% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Cornhusker State.

4. Wayne

Wayne, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,557
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $40,339 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (2highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.9% (2nd highest)
More on Wayne:  Data | Photos

Wayne ranks as the fourth poorest place in Nebraska.

The town ranks as having the lowest median household income and the 2nd highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there's still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

5. Beatrice

Beatrice, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 12,300
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Median Income: $44,991 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 14.1% (13th highest)
More on Beatrice:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Nebraska is Beatrice.

The city ranks as having the 3rd lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 13th highest in Nebraska.

Still not the best news for Beatrice.

6. Fremont

Fremont, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 26,437
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $49,474 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 14.0% (15th highest)
More on Fremont:  Data | Photos

Fremont ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Cornhusker State.

It ranks as having the 15th highest incidence of poverty and the 4th highest unemployment rate.

7. Norfolk

Norfolk, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 24,424
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $49,372 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (15th highest)
Poverty Rate: 16.6% (7th highest)
More on Norfolk:  Data | Photos

Norfolk places as the seventh poorest city in Nebraska.

The city of over 24,424 ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Lexington

Lexington, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,097
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 5)
Median Income: $52,885 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 14.1% (14th highest)
More on Lexington:  Data | Photos

Lexington ranks as the eighth poorest city in Nebraska.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 5th highest in the state.

9. Chadron

Chadron, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,591
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 12)
Median Income: $47,288 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (24th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.5% (4th highest)
More on Chadron:  Data | Photos

Chadron couldn't stay out of the top ten poorest places in Nebraska; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 6th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Chadron ranks as having the 4th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Nebraska.

10. South Sioux City

South Sioux City, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,896
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 8)
Median Income: $54,806 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (13th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.3% (5th highest)
More on South Sioux City:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Nebraska is South Sioux City.

The city of 12,896 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Cornhusker State.

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Nebraska for 2021

The first thing that comes to most people's minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don't think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the "poorest places". So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2015-2019 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The "median household income adjusted for the cost of living" attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they'd still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 32 places with more than 5,000 people in Nebraska, we ranked each place from 1 to 32 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a "Poor Score" with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Scottsbluff, crowned the "Poorest Place In Nebraska For 2021". You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Poorest Places In Nebraska For 2021

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Nebraska, we weren't sure what we'd encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Nebraska.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you're curious enough, here are the richest cities in Nebraska, according to data:

    Richest: Gretna
    2nd Richest: Papillion
    3rd Richest: Seward

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Nebraska

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Scottsbluff 14,737 18.0%
2 Crete 7,043 26.1%
3 Alliance 8,235 15.2%
4 Wayne 5,557 18.9%
5 Beatrice 12,300 14.1%
6 Fremont 26,437 14.0%
7 Norfolk 24,424 16.6%
8 Lexington 10,097 14.1%
9 Chadron 5,591 17.5%
10 South Sioux City 12,896 17.3%
11 Nebraska City 7,273 15.3%
12 Plattsmouth 6,448 9.4%
13 Blair 7,781 14.5%
14 Grand Island 51,147 12.8%
15 Hastings 24,906 14.3%
16 Mccook 7,587 10.2%
17 North Platte 23,892 12.2%
18 Omaha 475,862 13.4%
19 Kearney 33,464 16.7%
20 York 7,841 11.7%
21 Lincoln 283,839 13.5%
22 Bellevue 53,324 10.5%
23 Gering 8,254 6.9%
24 Schuyler 6,284 15.2%
25 Holdrege 5,455 12.8%
26 Ralston 7,321 8.3%
27 Columbus 23,195 9.1%
28 Sidney 6,572 8.9%
29 La Vista 17,078 5.9%
30 Seward 7,176 7.8%
31 Papillion 20,423 4.8%
32 Gretna 5,037 5.5%

How Is The Area In ?

 Poorest