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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:
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 Crete.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Nebraska
- Cheapest Places To Live In Nebraska
- Most Dangerous Cities In Nebraska
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2021
You can sure expect that Crete is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 1st in our analysis. It is. In fact, Crete has the 10th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 46 violent crimes here in 2021, and residents have a 1 in 55.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Crete, 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 5.3% which is the 6th worst in Nebraska.
Grand Island needs some tough love as it ranks as the 2nd worst city to live in Nebraska for 2021.
Crime in Grand Island is the 8th highest in the state, where 1 in 38.7 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, Grand Island residents have the 14th longest commute of any residents on our list.
Scottsbluff is the 3rd most dangerous place in Nebraska. Here, you have a 1 in 34.0 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 highest in Nebraska.
If you want to do anything 'fun', you have to drive 90 miles to Cheyenne.
What the heck is going on in little Plattsmouth? The crime is the 25th highest in the state of Nebraska. Here, residents have a 1 in 75.9 chance of being robbed. That means if you live here, and didn't have something stolen from you, there's a good chance your neighbor did.
That ratio is one of the highest we've seen in the nation. Perhaps the high unemployment rate has something to do with it. More than 6.0% of Plattsmouth residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 2nd highest in the state.
Omaha, part of Douglas County, is the 5th worst place to live in Nebraska for 2021.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $60,092, and crime worst in Nebraska.
Additionally, the poverty level is 13.4% in Omaha.
Alliance is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $105,600. That means it ranks as the 4th lowest in Nebraska.
You can make a case that based on the fact that Alliance has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 6th worst in the state, it's one of the worst places you can live in Nebraska.
While the median household income in Lexington is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Lexington still has the 5th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 18th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Lexington 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.
Fremont has a 5.6% unemployment rate (4th in NE), below average income levels and the 12th highest crime rate in the state.
This random City-Data comment sums up Fremont.
"I visited Fremont over the weekend and I have to say the place just seemed completely depressing.
"I saw lots people around Fremont who looked...well bad. Like former alcoholics and drug addicts.
"And what's with the poorish looking area, where there were a lot of people in run down homes?
"Just looked sad."
When you're looking at science and data, North Platte is the worst place you can live in Nebraska. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 4.1%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $118,900, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 29.9 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.
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 19th highest crime ranking in the state.
Every year that you're in Beatrice city limits, you have a 1 in 63.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and tractor tires. There were also 22 violent crimes here in 2021. 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.
How we determined the worst places to live in Nebraska for 2021
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 -- Crete. 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, Crete ranks as the worst city to live in Nebraska for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nebraska:
- Kearney (Pop. 33,464)
- Seward (Pop. 7,176)
- La Vista (Pop. 17,078)
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska?