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:

Here are the 10 worst places to live in Nebraska for 2020:

  1. Grand Island (Photos)
  2. Scottsbluff (Photos)
  3. Crete (Photos)
  4. Beatrice (Photos)
  5. Omaha (Photos)
  6. Plattsmouth (Photos)
  7. Fremont (Photos)
  8. North Platte (Photos)
  9. Hastings (Photos)
  10. Lexington (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 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
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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 is the worst city in Nebraska for 2020. When you're comparing other cities to Grand Island, things just don't look great, at least according to science.

Grand Island is the 5th most dangerous place in Nebraska, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job -- at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 4.7%, worse than the state average.

Home values are really low ($137,500), and residents earn just $52,642 a year.

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 is the 13th most dangerous place in the state of Nebraska. That's part of the reason it's the 3rd worst place in Nebraska.

The fact remains, that when you're within Crete city limits, you have a 1 in 60.3 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?

Did you know Crete also has the 2highest unemployment rate in the state at 3.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $94,100?

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

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

You can sure expect that Omaha is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 5th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Omaha has the 2nd-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.

There were 2,628 violent crimes here in 2020, and residents have a 1 in 28.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Omaha, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.

You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits -- the unemployment rate sits at 4.7% which is the 10th worst in Nebraska.

Review Of Omaha by HomeSnacks User

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.

Plattsmouth, NE

Source: Public domain
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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

Plattsmouth is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Plattsmouth is the 18th most dangerous place you can live in Nebraska.

Residents in Plattsmouth have a 1 in 57.1 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 Plattsmouth, where average homes are valued at only$113,300. That's the 9th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

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

Things are starting to get progressively more 'modern' and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Nebraska when we get to Fremont. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 5.5% (which is really high), and the median income is $48,644. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.

North Platte, NE

Source: Public domain
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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

North Platte, NE needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.

Additionally, crime is worst in the state, which is very high considering North Platte is so far removed from the rest of Nebraska.

If you know anyone in North Platte, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

Review Of North Platte by HomeSnacks User

Gosh, I live in North Platte, and it does s**k. 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.

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

If you live in Hastings, 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 9th worst place to live in the state.

You've got the 4th highest crime rate in Nebraska, which saw 51 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 30.0 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 488 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Hastings.

Plus, folks are simply out of work. Hastings sports the state's 18th highest unemployment rate (3.3%), and families bring in a combined $47,528 a year, which is far below the state average.

No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $110,600.

Review Of Hastings by HomeSnacks User

nothing to do in fact the whole mall is closed theres like 3 stores left in the mall one of them includes Napolis, herbergers closed, the only thing teens really have to do is illegal activites, i lived in hastings for 15 years and now im currently in a group home in norfolk, teens in hastings are in all kinds of legal trouble, and hastings high is a bad place to be to, the teens there actually attack Mr. Szlanda the principle, almost every month.

the entire mall is now a place where old farts go and walk for exercise.

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 needs some tough love as it ranks as the 10th worst city to live in Nebraska for 2020.

Crime in Lexington is the 27th highest in the state, where 1 in 71.4 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.

Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Nebraska.

If commute time is important, Lexington residents have the 20th longest commute of any residents on our list.

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, 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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