These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Nebraska For 2018

We analyzed science and data to determine which cities in NE are really ghetto.

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There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But which of the largest cities in Nebraska are the most ghetto of all?

How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:

“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state, and then put out a list.

After analyzing the largest cities here, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places to live in Nebraska:

  1. Scottsbluff (Photos)
  2. Lexington
  3. South Sioux City (Photos)
  4. Crete (Photos)
  5. Schuyler (Photos)
  6. Chadron (Photos)
  7. Grand Island (Photos)
  8. Norfolk (Photos)
  9. Omaha (Photos)
  10. Alliance (Photos)

In case you’re wondering, Waverly is the least ghetto city of all we measured.

And before you get all worked up, know that we have nothing against Nebraska. In fact, The Cornhusker State ranked 1st in our analysis of the best states to live in America.

For more Nebraska reading, check out:


What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in Nebraska, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.

Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.

Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.

We started by making a list of every city in Nebraska over 3,000 people based on the 2013 American Community Survey.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:

  • Household income levels
  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of convenience stores
  • Number of drug stores
  • Number of discount stores
  • Crime
  • Twitter mentions of #ghetto

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.

For geo-located Tweets, we measured all mentions coming from a city with #ghetto


1. Scottsbluff

Source: wikipedia

Income: $35,116
Drop out rate: 23%
Crime: 2nd worst

When you look at the data, Scottsbluff is the most ghetto city in the state of Nebraska. Let’s see why.

First off, when you’re measuring cities with more than 3,000 people, Scottsbluff is the 2nd most dangerous in the state when you measure robberies per person. For Nebraska, having a 1 in 25 chance of being robbed is really, really high.

Part of that can be attributed to the low incomes and high dropout rate. Residents here are the 2nd poorest in the state, and they’re the 5th least educated.

For a city of 15,000, there were quite a few Twitter mentions of #ghetto coming from Scottsbluff.

Example: “Scottsbluff is SOOO ghetto though

2. Lexington

Source: wikipedia

Income: $42,695
Drop out rate: 50%
Crime: 7th highest

Lexington, a medium-sized city along I-80 in central Nebraska, has a huge long-term problem when it comes to its economy. More than half of residents here are without a high school diploma, even by the age of 25.

So, these low incomes and high crime will continue to persist, at least in the short term. For a small city in Nebraska, having about one property crime a day is high.

3. South Sioux City

Source: wikipedia

Income: $39,484
Drop out rate: 42%
Crime: 16th worst

South Sioux City, way up near the Iowa/South Dakota border, has one of the highest dropout rates in the state, where more than 4 in 10 residents are without even a basic education.

Crime is higher than average, but not horrible. Like Lexington, there was almost a property crime a day (think robberies, car break ins), which, for Nebraska, is bad.

23% of kids and the elderly live in poverty here.

4. Crete

Source: wikipedia

Income: $39,494
Crime: 20th worst
Dropout rate: 28%

Crete is an older city that’s slowly being overtaken by an uneducated and poorer number of people. The population here is up by more than 13% over the last 10 years. At least crime hasn’t gone up a tremendous amount here.

5. Schuyler

Source: wikipedia

Income: $43,083
Drop out rate: 52%
Crime: 18th worst

Schuyler’s biggest employer is Cargill, a beef processing plant. But this small city, isolated way out on Route 30, will continue to struggle economically unless it can attract a wider variety of businesses to help spur their local economy.

A 52% dropout rate is one of the highest in the nation.

6. Chadron

Source: wikipedia

Income: $30,573
Drop out rate: 13%
Crime: 8th worst

Little Chadron has one of the highest concentrations of convenience stores per person in Nebraska. Sociologists have indicated that these types of discount shopping experiences are a staple of inner city type life.

Chadron is a true ghetto when you look at the rest of the data. Its residents are the poorest in the state – and at $30,000 per family, most people barely make ends meet every month. The government has said a family of 4 needs to earn about $25,000 a year to stay above poverty levels.

7. Grand Island

Source: wikipedia

Income: $44,391
Dropout rate: 23%
Crime: 3rd worst

Did you know that Grand Island is a really bad place for crime in Nebraska? It’s true. Only in Lincoln and Scottsbluff do you have a higher chance of being the victim of a crime.

You have about a 1 in 21 chance of being victimized if you spend a year here. And, considering that a quarter of kids and the elderly live in poverty, it doesn’t look like things are going to improve here in the near term.

Plus, Wikipedia says the ground is contaminated in the general area.

There were lots of ghetto Tweets coming from Grand Island.

8. Norfolk

Source: wikipedia

Income: $39,394
Drop out rate: 16%
Crime: 10th worst

For a city of 25,000 people in Nebraska, having nearly 1,000 crimes in a year’s time is quite high. That’s the case in Norfolk, an isolated city along Routes 81 and 275 on the eastern side of the state.

There are also lots of low income families who are on welfare in this part of the state. Locals seem to think lots of people in Norfolk suffer from ‘self inflicted poverty.’

9. Omaha

Source: wikipedia

Income: $46,304
Drop out rate: 16%
Crime: 4th worst

Obviously, there are pockets of bad neighborhoods in Omaha which are larger than entire cities elsewhere in the state. So, yes, Twitter, we hear you. However, Omaha isn’t nearly as ghetto as people make it seem online.

Crime is very high here – in fact 1 in every 10,000 people was killed here in 2014, which is the last FBI reporting year. Having 20,000 property crimes also doesn’t help matters.

But overall, lots of people in Omaha are pulling the weight for those who refuse to cooperate. At least that’s what the data indicates.

Said one person on Twitter recently: “Sucks that Omaha is so ghetto and violent that I’m terrified to go back to sleep after my fiancé leaves for work.”

10. Alliance

Source: wikipedia

Income: $43,139
Drop out rate: 17%
Crime: 19th worst

Things aren’t horrible in Alliance, a small city on the Nebraska panhandle. But overall, most people are pretty poor and uneducated. Crime is a tad bit above average.

About a quarter of kids and seniors live at or below the poverty line.

This is what someone said on City Data: “I lived in Alliance for 6 mos and didnt like it. My husband grew up there and says that it seems to be going down. The population has decreased, I think people just don’t want to live there anymore. The cost of living is really cheap though.”

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in Nebraska where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.

Additionally, here are the least ghetto places in NE: Waverly, Gretna, Aurora, Seward, Chalco.

We also wrote about the 10 Most Redneck Cities in Missouri if you didn’t happen to see it.

Desktop users, below is a chart of all the cities, from most ghetto to least:

City Crime Score Rank
scottsbluff 115.4 1
lexington 98 2
south sioux city 79.8 3
crete 78.6 4
schuyler 79.6 5
chadron 95.5 6
grand island 115.2 7
norfolk 90.6 8
omaha 114.4 9
alliance 79.5 10
Beatrice 104.1 11
fairbury 82.4 12
north platte 106.5 13
fremont 92.9 14
falls city 74.2 14
hastings 82.6 16
lincoln 115.7 17
ogallala 70.5 18
cozad 82.3 19
west point 64.4 20
broken bow 81 21
kearney 89.2 22
bellevue 79.7 23
nebraska city 61 24
columbus 72.8 24
auburn 77.1 26
o’neill 65.8 26
wayne 77 26
mccook 77.1 26
ralston 62.6 30
york 67.2 31
gering 75.2 32
holdrege 67.4 33
gothenburg 69.7 34
wahoo 65.6 35
sidney 53.8 36
la vista 59.3 37
blair 64.6 38
papillion 58 39
plattsmouth 62.3 40
chalco 60.9 41
seward 38.8 42
aurora 59.1 43
gretna 70.5 43
waverly 46.5 43

12 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Nebraska For 2018

  1. I imagine that almost all of these cities have beef processing plants / anti Union! Low wage and bring in minorities . I grew up in Lexington and graduated in 68… Now it’s a third world city, since no locals would work at a packing plant( it’s tough work, dangerous, polluting and adds nothing to the culture…. This study is racist in that every one knows “getto” means black,,….rm

  2. Wow. I’m embarrassed that we are from the same town. First learn how to spell ghetto correctly. Secondly, please try educate yourself before you say stupid things. Ghetto does not mean black. The term was first used during segregation of Jews in Italy. Then carried over and used to describe the immigrants in the United States. The first being the Irish and German. Then the eastern Europeans, the Italians the Poles, etc etc. The word means an area where a minority lives. Being a minority in that era meant lower wages, unemployment etc which lead to of course poverty. Now of course Africans didn’t migrate here. They were brought here to be slaves. Eventually winning their freedom they became the minority and settled in their own areas. We have ghettos because all men and women do not share all equalities.

  3. Do you think York, Nebraska would qualify for being ghetto? It has some things, but there community center was vandalized. They don’t plan on fixing it! It’s a major place to function.

  4. I heard Alliance, Nebraska was dirty before we moved here but I had no idea. It is an awful place to live. There are suicides and murder and deaths that are unsolved. The meth is so high here I am getting out if I can.

  5. Right on the money for Alliance, Ne. Dirty, corrupt town. I have never lived in a town where the utilities were so high. Taxes are unbelievably high too. I saw a shoot out down town which ended up in death, lots of suicides and unsolved murders and unexplained deaths.

  6. When I moved to Alliance in 1987 thought there would be a tree lighting ceremony around Christmas or community events around the holidays. But instead I found a town that has a high drug rate and crime rate. I saw children grow up who had such potential turn into meth addicts. The meth is rampant and I suppose it is everywhere but watching it up close made me cringe. If you don’t believe me read the newspapers. Check out the back issues. It is an expensive town to live in and crime and death rates are high.

  7. I can indeed confirm that Norfolk is ghetto AF. I lived there for 2 long years. It was horrible. Lot’s of drug use and low-lifes hanging around. Your best bet is to get out south and west of town down by the Elkhorn River and Cowboy trail. It is probably one of the best parts of the state nature wise. Just wish the nasty people wouldn’t ruin it for everybody else. Oh and also, real estate and taxes are RIDICULOUS here. Consider yourself warned.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. Norfolk is a miserable little place with small town ‘values’ alright: vicious racism/bigotry, small-mindedness, a lack of vision, self-awareness or a willingness to try anything new or ‘different,’ with a corrupt and inept city government. It’s the typical ‘good ole boys’ and ‘gals’ mentality. Of course, the local plutocrats whitewash all the problems: unemployment, high taxes, terrible city services, wretched poverty, and a drug problem that just won’t go away. In fact, Norfolk is the meth capital of northeast Nebraska.
    The line between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ the 1% vs. 99%, is clearly drawn.
    The former live in their $400, 000+ homes (quite expensive for this part of the country), and the latter in their sad little shacks that pass for ‘affordable’ housing. It’s like living in a small Mississippi town that gets real cold in the winter – same mindset. If you are not from here, or at least from Nebraska,
    or are a high-priced doctor or business/professional person, forget it.
    You will never be accepted by the locals.
    This place is out in the middle of nowhere; no wonder it is called ‘flyover country.’ Nebraska in general is supposed to be the least likely state for a destination vacation in the nation. I can see why with their fortress mentality and provincial ‘Big Red’ fixation. But there isn’t anything else here to be exited about. Can’t get out of here soon enough!

  9. Crete is the absolute worst place to possibly live. Almost half the city is trailers and trap houses and the rest is public buildings and the golf course.

  10. Very interesting article. I’m sure there may be social/political reasons for not mentioning it, but nearly all of the towns mentioned have higher than normal populations of minorities (mostly Hispanic or in a couple of cases Native American). Unfortunately, too many come from locations and/or cultures where a good education was vastly inadequate, non-existant or perhaps inconsequential. Where does that put them in the job market? Poverty more often than not goes hand in hand with higher crime and drug use.

  11. Genoa AND Fullerton should be in the top 5. Both are filled with junk cars, trap houses, and a lot of crap.

  12. Just saying….Norfolk and Crete are on both the “most ghetto cities” AND “safest cities” in NE, (I followed that link after reading this article). Not saying that’s not true I guess, but I bet a LOT of people would agree that “ghetto” and “safe” don’t usually go hand in hand… Articles like these make me want to do the research myself. ‍♀️

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