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:
- Scottsbluff (Photos)
- Schuyler (Photos)
- Grand Island (Photos)
- Crete (Photos)
- Beatrice (Photos)
- Hastings (Photos)
- Omaha (Photos)
- North Platte (Photos)
- Mccook (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in Nebraska for 2018
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 — Scottsbluff. 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.
Population: 14,937Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $98,200 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (2nd worst)
Scottsbluff is the 1st most dangerous place in Nebraska. Here, you have a 1 in 23.3 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 1st 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.
Population: 6,171Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $88,500 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (1st worst)
If you live in Nebraska, you may or may not be surprised that Schuyler ranked, at least on paper, as the 2nd worst place to live in the state. It has the 1st highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 8th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Schuyler is the 18th most densely populated city in Nebraska. Draw your own conclusions.
Population: 10,090 Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Values: $83,600 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (3rd worst)
Lexington is the 20th 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 Lexington city limits, you have a 1 in 49.2 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Lexington also has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $83,600?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Lexington.
4. Grand Island
Population: 50,895Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $121,100 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (7th worst)
Grand Island, NE needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 5.7%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 6th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 31.4 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Population: 7,089Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Home Values: $105,400 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (17th worst)
Crete is another place in the Cornhusker State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Crete is a staggering 3.7%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($44,308 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $105,400, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Crete is bad, but not horrible.
Population: 12,358Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Values: $97,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (15th worst)
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 36.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and tractor tires. There were also 52 violent crimes here in 2015. 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.
Population: 24,983Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $103,800 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (5th worst)
Hastings ranks as the 7th worst city in Nebraska. Located in Adams County, Hastings has the 12th lowest income levels in the state of Nebraska ($46,903), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 6.1%.
Population: 443,072Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $139,800 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (8th worst)
Omaha takes the 8th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Omaha its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 2nd worst in the whole state.
9. North Platte
Population: 24,311Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Values: $105,200 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (20th worst)
North Platte doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 3.6%, and people average less than $46,404 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $105,200, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Nebraska.
And again, in terms of the overall ‘enjoyment’ factor, it’s not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
Population: 7,618 Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $83,900 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (5th worst)
Mccook needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Mccook. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Mccook. Of the 30 cities considered in this ranking, Mccook had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Mccook have Nebraska’s 2nd lowest home value rank, but it also had the 5th and 12th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of ‘Worst City in Nebraska.’
If you know anyone in Mccook, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
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, Scottsbluff ranks as the worst city to live in Nebraska for 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nebraska:
- Papillion (Pop. 19,520)
- La Vista (Pop. 17,064)
- Gretna (Pop. 5,047)
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska
- These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Nebraska
- These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Nebraska
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Nebraska