The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska

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

Join RoadSnacks
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.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

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

If you live in Grand Island, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 5th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Nebraska. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 34.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.

That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.

Plus there were 241 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 212 chance of being raped or attacked.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the 15th lowest salaries in Nebraska At $52,642 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.

Scottsbluff, NE

Overall SnackAbility


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
Overall SnackAbility


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

You might have passed through Crete once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.

Here's what science says about why Crete needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 3.2%, residents earn about $44,469 a year, and home prices are just over $94,100. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.

And there simply isn't anything to do in Crete.

Beatrice, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

Overall SnackAbility


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

When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Nebraska, Omaha came in 5th. Let's see why.

The city has very bad crime (2nd worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 4.7%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.

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

We're seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Plattsmouth is located in Cass County.

Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of Nebraska. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (5.1%) is the 7th highest in the state. A home here sells for $113,300, on average. That signals it's not a desirable place to live.

Plus, crime is in the top 10%.

Fremont, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

Fremont ranks as the 7th worst place to live in Nebraska for 2020.

The issues Fremont has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 6th highest in Nebraska (5.5%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom of Nebraska.

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

North Platte is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $115,500. That means it ranks as the 11th lowest in Nebraska.

You can make a case that based on the fact that North Platte has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the worst in the state, it's one of the worst places you can live in Nebraska.

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

Hastings is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Hastings is the 4th most dangerous place you can live in Nebraska.

Residents in Hastings have a 1 in 30.0 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 Hastings, where average homes are valued at only$110,600. That's the 8th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

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

Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 10th worst in Nebraska.

Lexington residents had a 1 in 71.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.

The unemployment rate in Lexington is through the roof, as more than 6.3% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $87,800, Lexington has the 2nd-lowest home prices in the state of Nebraska.

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

  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *