The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020

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 2020. This is our sixth 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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020

  1. Grand Island
  2. Scottsbluff
  3. Crete
  4. Beatrice
  5. Omaha
  6. Plattsmouth
  7. Fremont
  8. North Platte
  9. Hastings
  10. Lexington

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.

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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020

Grand Island, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 51,187
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $137,500 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (9th worst)
More on Grand Island:  Data | Photos

Grand Island, part of Hall County, is the worst place to live in Nebraska for 2020.

Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $52,642, and crime 5th worst in Nebraska.

Additionally, the poverty level is 14.2% in Grand Island.

Scottsbluff, NE

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Population: 14,805
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $107,500 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (2nd worst)
More on Scottsbluff:  Data | Photos

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.

Crete, NE

Source: Public domain
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Population: 7,050
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $94,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (21st worst)
More on Crete:  Data | Photos

Crete ranks as the 3rd worst place to live in Nebraska for 2020.

While the unemployment rate is high (but not terrible), crime is a real factor here. It's the 13th most dangerous place you can live in Nebraska, according to the latest FBI numbers. If you live here, you have a high chance of being a victim each year.

Residents here earn about $44,469 a year. That's in the bottom half of what people in Nebraska normally make.

Beatrice, NE

Source: Public domain
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Population: 12,307
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $105,000 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (12th 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 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.

Omaha, NE

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Population: 465,112
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $151,100 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (10th worst)
More on Omaha:  Data | Photos

Omaha is the 2nd most dangerous place in the state of Nebraska. That's part of the reason it's the 5th worst place in Nebraska.

The fact remains, that when you're within Omaha city limits, you have a 1 in 28.5 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?

Did you know Omaha also has the 10th highest unemployment rate in the state at 4.7%? Or that homes are only valued at $151,100?

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

Plattsmouth, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,448
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $113,300 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (7th worst)
More on Plattsmouth:  Data | Photos

The unemployment rate in Plattsmouth is a sky high 5.1%, which is the 7th highest in the state. Ouch.

The median income in Plattsmouth is $49,609. That means 9.6% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 57.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.

Fremont, NE

Source: Public domain
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Population: 26,426
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 15)
Median Home Value: $123,600 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (6th worst)
More on Fremont:  Data | Photos

If you live in Fremont, you're either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn't matter, because science says it's the 7th worst place to live in the state.

You've got the 11th highest crime rate in Nebraska, which saw 59 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 49.5 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 447 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Fremont.

Plus, folks are simply out of work. Fremont sports the state's 6th highest unemployment rate (5.5%), and families bring in a combined $48,644 a year, which is far below the state average.

No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $123,600.

North Platte, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,011
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $115,500 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (17th worst)
More on North Platte:  Data | Photos

Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. North Platte is the most dangerous city in Nebraska, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 23.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's really high for Nebraska, but not even the highest in the state.

Home values are the 11th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in North Platte bring in just under $49,622 a year annually.

Hastings, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,922
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $110,600 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (18th worst)
More on Hastings:  Data | Photos

Welcome to Hastings, Nebraska, where 1 in 30.1 people is without a job, and families bring in a combined $47,528 a year.

Crime is the 4th highest in Nebraska, where you have a 1 in 30.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime, and every year, you have a 1 in 488 chance of being raped, attacked or murdered when you're within Hastings city limits.

Lexington, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,067
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $87,800 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (1st worst)
More on Lexington:  Data | Photos

Lexington is one of the poorest cities in the state of Nebraska. This city has 6.3% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $53,701 a year.

Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Lexington has the 27th highest crime rate in Nebraska. While the numbers aren't staggering (Nebraska is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it's still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Cornhusker State.

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

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. 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:

  1. Seward (Pop. 7,151)
  2. Holdrege (Pop. 5,476)
  3. La Vista (Pop. 17,077)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Grand Island 51,187 4.7% $137,500
2 Scottsbluff 14,805 6.2% $107,500
3 Crete 7,050 3.2% $94,100
4 Beatrice 12,307 4.0% $105,000
5 Omaha 465,112 4.7% $151,100
6 Plattsmouth 6,448 5.1% $113,300
7 Fremont 26,426 5.5% $123,600
8 North Platte 24,011 3.4% $115,500
9 Hastings 24,922 3.3% $110,600
10 Lexington 10,067 6.3% $87,800

How Is The Area In ?

16 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020

  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?

  11. Beatrice had inequality in education and I am sure they have found a way to continue this practice. It’s been a life ruiner for me. I was forced to move here at 4 years old. I have not been able to to leave. It’s absolutely terrible. They are racists and then they claim that racism is fake. They know that things aren’t true that they say but they insist that they are. The ckergy around here do not encourage people to be a different type of community. They embrace hatred and ignore mercy. It’s not just Beatrice but the entire southeast. They don’t give chances because they think they deserve to see good results and have no blind faith as they have no faith. They only attend church for social standing. When ever you have a group like these folks who oppress so heavily those oppressed rise up and it becomes a bad place to live. It’s like ying and yang. Unfortunately these folks are so deceived by the evil in this world they actually believe they are great. In the end they will find out not so much. United we stand divided we fall and this community is divided to the extreme and it’s been falling for decades.

  12. An Anmerican you think being here since 4 years old is bad. Try living here for you whe life. Yes it bad here in Beatrice. But it way to change thing is to show them a new world out there. But I know that hard to do. But MLKJ have done it in the 60’s.

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