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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 Grand Island.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
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 2020
Grand Island is the worst city in Nebraska for 2020. When you're comparing other cities to Grand Island, things just don't look great, at least according to science.
Grand Island is the 5th 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 4.7%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($137,500), and residents earn just $52,642 a year.
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 is the 13th 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 Crete city limits, you have a 1 in 60.3 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Crete also has the 2highest unemployment rate in the state at 3.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $94,100?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Crete.
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.
You can sure expect that Omaha is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 5th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Omaha has the 2nd-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 2,628 violent crimes here in 2020, and residents have a 1 in 28.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Omaha, 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 4.7% which is the 10th worst in Nebraska.
Plattsmouth is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Plattsmouth is the 18th most dangerous place you can live in Nebraska.
Residents in Plattsmouth have a 1 in 57.1 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 Plattsmouth, where average homes are valued at only$113,300. That's the 9th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
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 Fremont. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 5.5% (which is really high), and the median income is $48,644. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.
North Platte, NE needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is worst in the state, which is very high considering North Platte is so far removed from the rest of Nebraska.
If you know anyone in North Platte, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
If you live in Hastings, 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 9th worst place to live in the state.
You've got the 4th highest crime rate in Nebraska, which saw 51 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 30.0 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 488 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Hastings.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Hastings sports the state's 18th highest unemployment rate (3.3%), and families bring in a combined $47,528 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $110,600.
Lexington needs some tough love as it ranks as the 10th worst city to live in Nebraska for 2020.
Crime in Lexington is the 27th highest in the state, where 1 in 71.4 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, Lexington residents have the 20th longest commute of any residents on our list.
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
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:
- Seward (Pop. 7,151)
- Holdrege (Pop. 5,476)
- La Vista (Pop. 17,077)
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Nebraska
- Richest Cities In Nebraska
- Safest Places In Nebraska
- Best Cities For Singles In Nebraska
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Nebraska?