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:
- Grand Island (Photos)
- Scottsbluff (Photos)
- Omaha (Photos)
- Crete (Photos)
- Schuyler (Photos)
- Beatrice (Photos)
- Plattsmouth (Photos)
- Lexington (Photos)
- Hastings (Photos)
- Ralston (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. 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 2019.
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Nebraska
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Nebraska
How we determined the worst places to live in Nebraska for 2019
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.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Grand Island is the worst place you can live in the state of Nebraska. Let’s see why.
Crime and no jobs. How does that sum it up? When you look at the numbers, you can see why Grand Island might be a bad place to live. Would you believe Grand Island has the 11th highest crime rate in Nebraska? It does. You have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being robbed when you’re within Grand Island city limits each year.
Plus, Grand Island has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.8%.
And the home prices ($130,200) are the 19th cheapest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is, homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Grand Island.
Scottsbluff is the 11th most dangerous place in Nebraska. Here, you have a 1 in 29.2 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.
Omaha doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 4.8%, and people average less than $53,789 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $146,500, 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.
According to science, Crete is the 4th worst place you can live in Nebraska.
Let’s see why. Crete has the 22nd-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Crete is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($94,100), and the 20th-highest unemployment rate in the state (3.1%), and across the board, Crete doesn’t sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there’s simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We’re aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you’d have to drive a ways away.
When you’re looking at science and data, Schuyler is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of Nebraska. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Nebraska. Schuyler is the 11th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $95,100, which is the 4th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Schuyler.
Income levels are just about $53,756, the 19th lowest in Nebraska.
When you add it all up, Schuyler really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
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 11th highest crime ranking in the state.
Every year that you’re in Beatrice city limits, you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and tractor tires. There were also 80 violent crimes here in 2019. 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.
Plattsmouth needs some tough love as it ranks as the 7th worst city to live in Nebraska for 2019. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Plattsmouth is the 11th highest in the state, where 1 in 29.2 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, Lexington is one of the worst places you can live in Nebraska. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.
We’re not economists, but when you have a 6.8% unemployment rate for a city of 10,097 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing.
Hastings has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 11th-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 4.5%.
Additionally, 13.8% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Ralston ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 21st cheapest in the state here at $138,600. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Ralston.
The median income levels here are the 23rd lowest in the state of Nebraska, at $55,837. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 5.2% of people in Ralston were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
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 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nebraska:
- La Vista (Pop. 17,062)
- Gretna (Pop. 5,045)
- Papillion (Pop. 19,478)
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Nebraska
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Nebraska
- 10 Safest Places In Nebraska
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Nebraska
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska