These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019

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 2019. This is our fifth 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:

  1. Scottsbluff (Photos)
  2. Crete (Photos)
  3. Grand Island (Photos)
  4. Lexington (Photos)
  5. Omaha (Photos)
  6. Beatrice (Photos)
  7. Schuyler (Photos)
  8. Hastings (Photos)
  9. Plattsmouth (Photos)
  10. North Platte (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 Scottsbluff.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.

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:

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

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 — 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.

Scottsbluff, NE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,887
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $100,400 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (2nd worst)
More on Scottsbluff:  Data | Photos

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.

Crete, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,079
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $94,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (20th worst)
More on Crete:  Data | Photos

When you’re looking at science and data, Crete is the worst place you can live in Nebraska. Let’s see why.

The unemployment rate here is 3.1%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $94,100, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.

You have a 1 in 56.2 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.

Crete is a far drive south from Louisville.

Grand Island, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 51,042
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $130,200 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (6th worst)
More on Grand Island:  Data | Photos

When you’re looking at science and data, Grand Island is the 3rd worst place you can live in the state of Nebraska. Let’s see why.

First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Nebraska. Grand Island is the 11th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $130,200, which is the 19th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Grand Island.

Income levels are just about $51,627, the 16th lowest in Nebraska.

When you add it all up, Grand Island really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.

Lexington, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,097
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $89,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (2nd worst)
More on Lexington:  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 Lexington. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 6.8% (which is really high), and the median income is $49,881. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.

Omaha, NE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 463,081
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $146,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (10th worst)
More on Omaha:  Data | Photos

If you live in Omaha, 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 5th worst place to live in the state.

You’ve got the 2nd highest crime rate in Nebraska, which saw 2,909 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 26.6 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 159 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Omaha.

Plus, folks are simply out of work. Omaha sports the state’s 10th highest unemployment rate (4.8%), and families bring in a combined $53,789 a year, which is far below the state average.

No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $146,500.

Beatrice, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,309
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $98,800 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (18th 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 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 0.008039103041033707 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.

Schuyler, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,229
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $95,100 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (11th worst)
More on Schuyler:  Data | Photos

Schuyler, NE needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 4.6%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 11th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being robbed here every year.

You could find a much better place to call home.

Hastings, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,948
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $108,900 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (12th worst)
More on Hastings:  Data | Photos

If you’re looking to live in Nebraska, Hastings might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Cornhusker State for 2019.

The average family earns $47,700 a year out here, and 13.8% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 4.5% of the population is out of work.

And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Hastings, every year, you have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 11th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.

Plattsmouth, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,435
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $114,100 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (10th worst)
More on Plattsmouth:  Data | Photos

Plattsmouth ranks as the 9th worst city on this list.

Plattsmouth has the 11th highest crime rate in Nebraska, where residents have a 1 in 29.2 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 10th cheapest in the state ($114,100), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.

North Platte, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,135
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $115,300 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (18th worst)
More on North Platte:  Data | Photos

There’s probably not many people in Nebraska that would be surprised to see North Platte on this list. In fact, if North Platte wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.

Here are the statistics. North Platte has the 11th worst crime rate in Nebraska. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 0.008039103041033707 violent crimes in North Platte in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 184 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.

The home values in North Platte are the 11th cheapest in the state ($115,300), the unemployment rate is the 18th highest (3.5%), and the annual household income is 14th lowest in Nebraska, at $50,422. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.

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 2019.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Nebraska:

  1. La Vista (Pop. 17,062)
  2. Gretna (Pop. 5,045)
  3. Papillion (Pop. 19,478)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Scottsbluff 14,887 6.8% $100,400
2 Crete 7,079 3.1% $94,100
3 Grand Island 51,042 5.8% $130,200
4 Lexington 10,097 6.8% $89,300
5 Omaha 463,081 4.8% $146,500
6 Beatrice 12,309 3.5% $98,800
7 Schuyler 6,229 4.6% $95,100
8 Hastings 24,948 4.5% $108,900
9 Plattsmouth 6,435 4.8% $114,100
10 North Platte 24,135 3.5% $115,300
11 Norfolk 24,352 3.7% $123,600
12 Wayne 5,557 2.7% $126,800
13 Alliance 8,392 5.6% $98,800
14 Gering 8,377 6.0% $124,100
15 Chadron 5,704 0.9% $117,500
16 Mccook 7,622 5.8% $88,000
17 Ralston 7,348 5.2% $138,600
18 Blair 8,011 2.3% $143,000
19 Fremont 26,356 4.5% $120,500
20 Lincoln 277,315 4.1% $156,400
21 Columbus 22,834 4.2% $132,000
22 Kearney 33,082 3.3% $165,800
23 Holdrege 5,497 0.5% $111,100
24 York 7,890 2.6% $126,900
25 Bellevue 53,040 5.9% $140,800
26 Sidney 6,830 2.1% $125,900
27 Seward 7,124 1.9% $146,700
28 La Vista 17,062 2.3% $141,100
29 Gretna 5,045 1.2% $174,400
30 Papillion 19,478 2.7% $172,700

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14 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019

  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?

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