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 Grand Island.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Nebraska
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Nebraska
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019
The unemployment rate in Grand Island is a sky high 5.8%, which is the 6th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Grand Island is $51,627. That means 15.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
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.
Say what you want about how beautiful Omaha might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 10th highest in the state at 4.8%. Homes are the 25th lowest priced ($146,500), and the median income per household is just a tad over $53,789.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Crete is the 4th worst place in the state of Nebraska.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Crete is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Crete are the 3rd lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in Nebraska.
Schuyler is the 5th worst city in Nebraska for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Schuyler, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
Schuyler is the 11th 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 4.6%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($95,100), and residents earn just $53,756 a year.
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.
What the heck is going on in little Plattsmouth? The crime is the 11th highest in the state of Nebraska. Here, residents have a 1 in 29.2 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 4.8% of Plattsmouth residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 10th highest in the state.
Lexington is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and “fun”. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Lexington residents earn the 12th-lowest salaries in the state. At $49,881 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $89,300, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.
Crime is the 29th highest in Nebraska per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 2nd highest in the state, at 6.8%.
While numbers in Nebraska are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Nebraska cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Hastings average $108,900, which is the 8th lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Hastings.
Plus, 13.8% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 11th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Hastings city limits, you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
You can sure expect that Ralston is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 10th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Ralston has the 2nd-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 80 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 26.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Ralston, 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 5.2% which is the 8th worst in Nebraska.
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
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.
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:
- La Vista (Pop. 17,062)
- Gretna (Pop. 5,045)
- Papillion (Pop. 19,478)
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