These Are The 10 Worst Cities In Nebraska For 2017


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 2017.

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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. Lexington (Photos)
  2. Schuyler (Photos)
  3. Scottsbluff (Photos)
  4. Grand Island (Photos)
  5. Beatrice (Photos)
  6. North Platte (Photos)
  7. Hastings (Photos)
  8. Omaha (Photos)
  9. Chadron (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 2017.

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 2017

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”.

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Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in Nebraska — Lexington. 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. Lexington

Lexington, Nebraska

Source: Flickr

Population: 10,152
Home Values: $76,900 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (3rd worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Lexington is the worst place you can live in Nebraska. Let’s see why.

The unemployment rate here is 7.7%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $76,900, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.

You have a 1 in 42.1 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.

Lexington is a far drive south from Louisville.

2. Schuyler

Schuyler, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,196
Home Values: $86,300 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (1st worst)
If, by some reason, you were driving through Schuyler, after stopping to ask for directions, you may have noticed that things aren’t so peachy keen here.

It’s tough out there for people to stay afloat when their income levels are so low ($47,500) and they can’t get good jobs (9.1% unemployment rate).

Schuyler ranks as the 2nd wost place in Nebraska.

3. Scottsbluff

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,955
Home Values: $94,000 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (2nd worst)
Scottsbluff is the 3rd most dangerous place in Nebraska. Here, you have a 1 in 25.5 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 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.

4. Grand Island

Grand Island, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 50,582
Home Values: $117,400 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (5th worst)
While the median household income in Grand Island is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Grand Island still has the 5th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 9th worst crime index.

Therefore, though the average Grand Island household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn’t help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.

5. Beatrice

Beatrice, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,355
Home Values: $95,500 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (16th 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 5th highest crime ranking in the state.

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Every year that you’re in Beatrice city limits, you have a 1 in 32.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and tractor tires. There were also 66 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.

6. North Platte

North Platte, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,420
Home Values: $100,500 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (15th worst)
North Platte’s main issue is crime. It’s the 2nd most dangerous place in the state of Nebraska. Is that a surprise?

If you live in North Platte, you have a 1 in 25.2 chance that you’ll be the victim of a property crime. That’s really high, especially for a city of its size. That’s a lot of stolen lawn mowers, cell phones and cameras. Perhaps it’s because the folks here live in far nicer homes than some of the other cities to top this list. They’re targets.

The unemployment rate is higher than the state average at 4.7%.

7. Hastings

Hastings, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,973
Home Values: $98,100 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (7th worst)
Welcome to Hastings, where criminals go to make a living. Hastings has the 6th highest crime rate in the state. When you’re within Hastings city limits, you have a 1 in 31.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime such as a car break in or home invasion robbery every year.

Plus, there were 62 violent crimes here in 2015. For a city of 24,973 people, that’s absolutely off the charts high. You have a 1 in 402 chance of being raped, attacked or killed when you’re in Hastings every year as well.

8. Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 440,034
Home Values: $137,000 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (6th worst)
Omaha has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 1st-highest in the state of Nebraska. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 6.3%.

Additionally, 12.2% of the population lives below the poverty line.

9. Chadron

Chadron, Nebraska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,828
Home Values: $114,400 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (26th worst)
Chadron is the 13th most dangerous place in the state of Nebraska. That’s part of the reason it’s the 9th worst place in Nebraska.

The fact remains, that when you’re within Chadron city limits, you have a 1 in 40.8 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?

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Did you know Chadron also has the 26th highest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7%? Or that homes are only valued at $114,400?

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

10. Mccook


Population: 7,649
Home Values: $83,700 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (12th worst)
If you’re looking to live in Nebraska, Mccook might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Cornhusker State for 2015.

The average family earns $41,407 a year out here, and 7.6% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 5.0% of the population is out of work.

And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Mccook, every year, you have a 1 in 38.4 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 12th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.

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, Lexington ranks as the worst city to live in Nebraska for 2017.

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

  1. Papillion (Pop. 19,463)
  2. La Vista (Pop. 16,895)
  3. Gretna (Pop. 5,026)

For more Nebraska reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Nebraska

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Lexington 10,152 7.7% $76,900
2 Schuyler 6,196 9.1% $86,300
3 Scottsbluff 14,955 8.1% $94,000
4 Grand Island 50,582 6.6% $117,400
5 Beatrice 12,355 4.7% $95,500
6 North Platte 24,420 4.7% $100,500
7 Hastings 24,973 6.2% $98,100
8 Omaha 440,034 6.3% $137,000
9 Chadron 5,828 2.7% $114,400
10 Mccook 7,649 5.0% $83,700
11 Fremont 26,483 5.0% $115,300
12 Crete 7,080 4.5% $96,600
13 Wayne 5,553 4.6% $109,400
14 Lincoln 269,726 5.3% $147,100
15 Norfolk 24,393 3.4% $119,500
16 Plattsmouth 6,475 4.9% $110,800
17 Alliance 8,500 4.4% $88,600
18 Ralston 5,997 5.8% $128,200
19 Holdrege 5,528 1.9% $104,100
20 Bellevue 54,067 6.7% $135,600
21 Sidney 6,830 1.0% $122,400
22 Gering 8,429 4.9% $118,300
23 York 7,908 1.8% $115,200
24 Blair 7,995 1.3% $142,800
25 Columbus 22,584 5.1% $122,500
26 Kearney 32,217 3.8% $153,100
27 Seward 7,109 3.5% $135,600
28 Gretna 5,026 2.8% $167,900
29 La Vista 16,895 3.5% $140,000
30 Papillion 19,463 3.4% $165,800

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11 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Cities In Nebraska For 2017

  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!

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