These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2018


We used science and data to determine which places in the Cornhusker State are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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Most Americans have never been to Nebraska. In fact, many couldn’t even tell you exactly where it is on a map. However, as the people who live in the midwest know, Nebraska is an awesome state. In fact, when we ran our rankings on the worst states to live in America, Nebraska came in 2nd last right after Iowa.

It’s a pretty nifty state.

But is it all roses there? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Nebraska has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst places to live there. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

But after analyzing 30 cities with more than 5,000 people, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Nebraska:

  1. Scottsbluff (Photos)
  2. Schuyler (Photos)
  3. Lexington
  4. Grand Island (Photos)
  5. Crete (Photos)
  6. Beatrice (Photos)
  7. Hastings (Photos)
  8. Omaha (Photos)
  9. North Platte (Photos)
  10. Mccook (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

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

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How we determined the worst places to live in Nebraska for 2018

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 30 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 30 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one ‘Worst Place To Live Score’.

Finally, we ranked every city on the ‘Worst Place To Live Score’ with the lowest score being the worst city in Nebraska — Scottsbluff. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Nebraska.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

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1. Scottsbluff

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,937
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $98,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (2nd worst)
Scottsbluff is the 1st most dangerous place in Nebraska. Here, you have a 1 in 23.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime every year. Can you imagine? In a small city in the middle of Nebraska, and you have to deal with stupid criminal activity.

Income levels are the 1st lowest in the state, and the unemployment rate is the 2nd highest in Nebraska.

If you want to do anything ‘fun’, you have to drive 90 miles to Cheyenne.

2. Schuyler

Schuyler, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,171
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $88,500 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (1st worst)
If you live in Nebraska, you may or may not be surprised that Schuyler ranked, at least on paper, as the 2nd worst place to live in the state. It has the 1st highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 8th most dangerous.

Incidentally, Schuyler is the 18th most densely populated city in Nebraska. Draw your own conclusions.

3. Lexington


Population: 10,090
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Values: $83,600 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (3rd worst)
Lexington is the 20th most dangerous place in the state of Nebraska. That’s part of the reason it’s the 3rd worst place in Nebraska.

The fact remains, that when you’re within Lexington city limits, you have a 1 in 49.2 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?

Did you know Lexington also has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $83,600?

Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Lexington.

4. Grand Island

Grand Island, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 50,895
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $121,100 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (7th worst)
Grand Island, NE needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 5.7%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 6th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 31.4 chance of being robbed here every year.

You could find a much better place to call home.

5. Crete

Crete, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,089
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Home Values: $105,400 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (17th worst)
Crete is another place in the Cornhusker State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Crete is a staggering 3.7%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($44,308 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $105,400, but still far lower than the state average.

Crime in Crete is bad, but not horrible.

6. Beatrice

Beatrice, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,358
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Values: $97,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (15th worst)
At least in Beatrice you can go to the movies or bowling if you want to get out of the barn yard for an evening. However, don’t forget to lock your door when you’re out and about. Beatrice has the 10th highest crime ranking in the state.

Every year that you’re in Beatrice city limits, you have a 1 in 36.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and tractor tires. There were also 52 violent crimes here in 2015. That means rapes and attacks.

For a small city in Nebraska, that’s a lot.

Beatrice also has a very low rated public school system when you consider the amount of money spent on students, and the number of students per class.

Income levels are also far below average in Beatrice, which is about 45 minutes south of Lincoln.

7. Hastings

Hastings, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,983
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $103,800 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (5th worst)
Hastings ranks as the 7th worst city in Nebraska. Located in Adams County, Hastings has the 12th lowest income levels in the state of Nebraska ($46,903), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 6.1%.

8. Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 443,072
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $139,800 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (8th worst)
Omaha takes the 8th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.

But what gives Omaha its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 2nd worst in the whole state.

9. North Platte

North Platte, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,311
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Values: $105,200 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (20th worst)
North Platte doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 3.6%, and people average less than $46,404 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $105,200, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Nebraska.

And again, in terms of the overall ‘enjoyment’ factor, it’s not easy to find fun on a Friday night.

10. Mccook


Population: 7,618
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $83,900 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (5th worst)
Mccook needs some tough love.

Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Mccook. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Mccook. Of the 30 cities considered in this ranking, Mccook had the least to be proud of across the board.

Not only does Mccook have Nebraska’s 2nd lowest home value rank, but it also had the 5th and 12th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of ‘Worst City in Nebraska.’

If you know anyone in Mccook, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Nebraska

If you’re looking at areas in Nebraska with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Scottsbluff ranks as the worst city to live in Nebraska for 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nebraska:

  1. Papillion (Pop. 19,520)
  2. La Vista (Pop. 17,064)
  3. Gretna (Pop. 5,047)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Nebraska

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Scottsbluff 1 2 14,937 7.9% $98,200
Schuyler 2 2 6,171 8.3% $88,500
Lexington 3 1 10,090 7.2% $83,600
Grand Island 4 4 50,895 5.7% $121,100
Crete 5 12 7,089 3.7% $105,400
Beatrice 6 5 12,358 3.9% $97,300
Hastings 7 7 24,983 6.1% $103,800
Omaha 8 8 443,072 5.4% $139,800
North Platte 9 6 24,311 3.6% $105,200
Mccook 10 10 7,618 6.1% $83,900
Fremont 11 11 26,450 3.9% $116,500
Chadron 12 9 5,792 1.6% $114,800
Norfolk 13 15 24,398 3.6% $123,200
Wayne 14 13 5,560 3.2% $128,200
Lincoln 15 14 273,018 4.6% $150,200
Alliance 16 17 8,469 4.3% $95,400
Plattsmouth 17 16 6,476 4.5% $109,900
Ralston 18 18 7,334 5.3% $131,500
York 19 23 7,899 1.4% $116,300
Bellevue 20 19 52,993 6.1% $138,400
Gering 21 22 8,401 4.5% $118,700
Columbus 22 25 22,668 5.4% $126,700
Holdrege 23 19 5,545 1.1% $105,500
Sidney 24 21 6,875 2.2% $125,700
Kearney 25 26 32,709 3.6% $159,400
Blair 26 24 8,007 1.6% $142,900
Seward 27 27 7,133 3.7% $143,900
Gretna 28 29 5,047 1.8% $170,200
La Vista 29 28 17,064 3.2% $141,600
Papillion 30 30 19,520 2.8% $167,200

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12 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2018

  1. All of this crime in rural Nebraska? All of this crime in these towns around and in Tecumseh, what are they stealing, what is the crime, poor robbing from the poor, I don’t understand this, We had plans to move to Tecumseh, now I’m wondering if this is a good idea.:-(

    1. We moved into Tecumseh 2 yrs ago this month. I really like it and they have a great grocery store, 3 banks, wonderful hospital, nursing home, doctor’s office connected to hospital, wonderful school, a hardware store that has about everything you need, farm supply store, 2 drug stores, Chevy dealership, great sheriff/police department, several floral stores, insurance agencies, great café, bowling alley, several places to obtain your desired alcoholic beverage. Yes, there is some crime but I don’t recognize the names as they are a diff. nationality. These individuals come to Tecumseh for work.
      I don’t think you would regret moving to Tecumseh. There is the chicken processing plant (Smart Chicken) and prison is hiring.

  2. They should check the fact. Auburn’s school system is one of the highest rated in the state. Hard to believe that crime is an issue considering most people do not lock their doors. Just shows you can’t believe everything you read. Auburn is a wonderful town and a great place to live and raise a family.

  3. I live in Wymore and own a business in Beatrice. I don’t know where you went to school but your calculations are not only off but incredibly bias. Housing is always cheaper in smaller towns. Development is another factor of housing costs. We are 15 minutes away from both Beatrice and Marysville.. of course big business isn’t going to set up shop here. Population density levels being a negative is an opinion NOT a fact. Most people move here to get away from a big city, I know I did. We moved here 5 years ago from Houston, Texas. I think for future posts you should probably stay away from topics that are way over your head. Stick to articles that don’t take brains…… like cities with the most Ashley Madison accounts.

  4. Well, the author did warn not to freak out at this article. I think crime-wise, you have to take this list with a grain of salt. I live in Omaha and even though we do have crime here, it makes these small towns look like the safest places on earth which they are, relatively speaking. When I visit or pass through these places (not these towns in the list necessarily), I have a feeling of security and peace. Kind of nice for a city slicker like me!

    God bless small town Nebraska.

  5. I went to Red Cloud. I can see why it’s number 3. It’s a place I wouldn’t want to raise my family. Many of the homes need some serious tender loving care or just demolish them. There’s nothing to do in that town. You have to drive miles to go shopping for anything. It’s only my opinion!!!!

  6. Gosh, I live in North Platte, and it does suck. High crime, major drug problems, very high cost of living. Homes run from $100,000 to over $1,000,000. School system produces under educated kids. Can’t figure how North Platte missed the boat.

  7. Yeah you need to check your facts and info more clearly. I have spent years traveling this state for wrestling and I would agree with maybe 1 town on this list especially when compared to northern towns in very low populated areas. Take Naper for example. Less than 80 population with the vast majority of those being farmers. Great for them but anyone not farming? NO jobs. Sure you can get an old house for $100 a month but no schools (kids bussed out over 30 miles away to a county combined high school), no jobs, no grocery store, etc. It’s a dying town and everyone is fleeing. The cities you have on here are growing and have people who stay for the comfort of the small town living. You surveyed 1000 people? Out of roughly 1.8 million? A true study to determine what you are assuming here would require at least 10 times that spread throughout the state. This is irresponsible journalism or fiction. Writing at best.

  8. “Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Nebraska has its stuff figured out.” ROFL!

  9. Lincoln should be number 1 with the way the City has its hands in your pockets All the time!! There have got to be more phoney fees, and taxes in Lincoln than any other city in the Midwest!! The City has the worst streets and worst managed City government, including the worst Mayor in the State!

  10. As a retired senior,love a town with cheaper housing.All over the midwest you will find these towns,some with homes below $50,000.Take Emporia Kansas.Not
    exactly a ghetto,is it?

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