These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019

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

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the worst places to live in Nebraska.

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

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

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

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

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 — 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.

Grand Island, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 51,042
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $130,200 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (6th worst)
More on Grand Island:  Data | Photos

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, NE

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Population: 14,887
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $100,400 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (2nd worst)
More on Scottsbluff:  Data | Photos

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, NE

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Population: 463,081
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $146,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (10th worst)
More on Omaha:  Data | Photos

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.

Crete, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,079
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $94,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (20th worst)
More on Crete:  Data | Photos

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.

Schuyler, NE

Source: Public domain
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Population: 6,229
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $95,100 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (11th worst)
More on Schuyler:  Data | Photos

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.

Beatrice, NE

Source: Public domain
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Population: 12,309
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $98,800 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (18th worst)
More on Beatrice:  Data | Photos

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, NE

Source: Public domain
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Population: 6,435
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $114,100 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (10th worst)
More on Plattsmouth:  Data | Photos

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.

Lexington, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,097
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $89,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (2nd worst)
More on Lexington:  Data | Photos

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, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,948
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $108,900 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (12th worst)
More on Hastings:  Data | Photos

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.

Ralston, NE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,348
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $138,600 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (8th worst)
More on Ralston:  Data | Photos

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:

  1. La Vista (Pop. 17,062)
  2. Gretna (Pop. 5,045)
  3. Papillion (Pop. 19,478)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Grand Island 51,042 5.8% $130,200
2 Scottsbluff 14,887 6.8% $100,400
3 Omaha 463,081 4.8% $146,500
4 Crete 7,079 3.1% $94,100
5 Schuyler 6,229 4.6% $95,100
6 Beatrice 12,309 3.5% $98,800
7 Plattsmouth 6,435 4.8% $114,100
8 Lexington 10,097 6.8% $89,300
9 Hastings 24,948 4.5% $108,900
10 Ralston 7,348 5.2% $138,600
11 Gering 8,377 6.0% $124,100
12 North Platte 24,135 3.5% $115,300
13 Lincoln 277,315 4.1% $156,400
14 Blair 8,011 2.3% $143,000
15 Alliance 8,392 5.6% $98,800
16 Chadron 5,704 0.9% $117,500
17 Wayne 5,557 2.7% $126,800
18 Mccook 7,622 5.8% $88,000
19 Norfolk 24,352 3.7% $123,600
20 Columbus 22,834 4.2% $132,000
21 Fremont 26,356 4.5% $120,500
22 Bellevue 53,040 5.9% $140,800
23 Kearney 33,082 3.3% $165,800
24 York 7,890 2.6% $126,900
25 Holdrege 5,497 0.5% $111,100
26 Sidney 6,830 2.1% $125,900
27 Seward 7,124 1.9% $146,700
28 La Vista 17,062 2.3% $141,100
29 Gretna 5,045 1.2% $174,400
30 Papillion 19,478 2.7% $172,700

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14 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019

  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!

    1. I totally agree and when it rain my street will not drain and you can see bugs and
      mosquitoes all over. Also a couple years ago I ended up with West Nile. I pay a lot of tax and I get nothing for it but rising my tax’s. I did drive around one day a notice that none of our board of directors including our mayor. Not one crack or bad streets in any of those areas. But they have to have enough money for there new streets and out of pocket extras.

    2. YES! You’re absolutely right! The Near South neighborhoods stink! I had my car broken into and vandalized! Bedbugs and poor landlord managment of buildings. Wages are outstripped by rising rents. Its a town of elitists and bureaucrats and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is only second worse to its Texas counterpart.

  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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