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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:
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. And the worst place to live in Nebraska? That would be Grand Island.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Nebraska
- Cheapest Places To Live In Nebraska
- Most Dangerous Cities In Nebraska
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020
If you live in Grand Island, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 5th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Nebraska. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 34.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 241 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 212 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 15th lowest salaries in Nebraska At $52,642 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Scottsbluff is the 3rd most dangerous place in Nebraska. Here, you have a 1 in 30.5 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 2nd 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.
You might have passed through Crete once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here's what science says about why Crete needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 3.2%, residents earn about $44,469 a year, and home prices are just over $94,100. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn't anything to do in Crete.
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 42.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and tractor tires. There were also 33 violent crimes here in 2020. 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.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Nebraska, Omaha came in 5th. Let's see why.
The city has very bad crime (2nd worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 4.7%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
We're seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Plattsmouth is located in Cass County.
Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of Nebraska. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (5.1%) is the 7th highest in the state. A home here sells for $113,300, on average. That signals it's not a desirable place to live.
Plus, crime is in the top 10%.
Fremont ranks as the 7th worst place to live in Nebraska for 2020.
The issues Fremont has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 6th highest in Nebraska (5.5%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom of Nebraska.
North Platte is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $115,500. That means it ranks as the 11th lowest in Nebraska.
You can make a case that based on the fact that North Platte has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the worst in the state, it's one of the worst places you can live in Nebraska.
Hastings is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Hastings is the 4th most dangerous place you can live in Nebraska.
Residents in Hastings have a 1 in 30.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you're considering home prices, you can't do much lower than in Hastings, where average homes are valued at only$110,600. That's the 8th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 10th worst in Nebraska.
Lexington residents had a 1 in 71.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Lexington is through the roof, as more than 6.3% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $87,800, Lexington has the 2nd-lowest home prices in the state of Nebraska.
How we determined the worst places to live in Nebraska for 2020
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
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 -- Grand Island. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Nebraska. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
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, Grand Island ranks as the worst city to live in Nebraska for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nebraska:
- Seward (Pop. 7,151)
- Holdrege (Pop. 5,476)
- La Vista (Pop. 17,077)
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Nebraska
- Richest Cities In Nebraska
- Safest Places In Nebraska
- Best Cities For Singles In Nebraska
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska?