Most Expensive Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Nebraska that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Nebraska.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Nebraska does this very well. Families love the Cornhusker State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Nebraska that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Nebraska for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Nebraska? That would be Lincoln.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 32 places in Nebraska with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Nebraska? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Lincoln is the most expensive place to live in Nebraska.

So hopefully Schuyler (the cheapest place to live in Nebraska) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Nebraska and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020

Lincoln, NE

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 280,849
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.2x (8th most expensive)
More on Lincoln: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lincoln is the capital of the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Lancaster County. The city covers 93.46 square miles with a population of 280,364 in 2016. It is the second-most populous city in Nebraska and the 71st-largest in the United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area in the southeastern part of the state called the Lincoln Metropolitan and Lincoln-Beatrice Combined Statistical Areas. The statistical area is home to 348,720 people, making it the 105th-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

The median income in Lincoln comes in at $55,224 and the median home value is $161,200 for 2020.

Omaha, NE

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 465,112
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.4x (4th most expensive)
More on Omaha: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County. Omaha is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River. Omaha is the anchor of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, which includes Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha. According to the 2010 census, Omaha's population was 408,958, making it the nation's 44th-largest city; this had increased to 446,970 as of a 2016 estimate. Including its suburbs, Omaha formed the 60th-largest metropolitan area in the United States in 2013, with an estimated population of 895,151 residing in eight counties. The Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, Nebraska-IA Combined Statistical Area is 931,667, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 estimate. Nearly 1.3 million people reside within the Greater Omaha area, comprising a 50-mile radius of Downtown Omaha, the city's center.

The median income in Omaha comes in at $56,780 and the median home value is $151,100 for 2020.

Kearney, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 33,273
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.0x (16th most expensive)
More on Kearney: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kearney is a city in and the county seat of Buffalo County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 30,787 at the 2010 census. It is home to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The westward push of the railroad as the Civil War ended gave birth to the community.

The median income in Kearney comes in at $53,790 and the median home value is $169,600 for 2020.

Wayne, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 5,558
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.6x (3rd most expensive)
More on Wayne: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wayne is a city in Wayne County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 5,660 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Wayne County and the home of Wayne State College.

The median income in Wayne comes in at $41,709 and the median home value is $131,500 for 2020.

Blair, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 7,684
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.8x (13th most expensive)
More on Blair: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Blair is a city in and the county seat of Washington County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 7,990 at the 2010 census. Blair is a part of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The median income in Blair comes in at $48,511 and the median home value is $151,600 for 2020.

Ralston, NE

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,314
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 66.3x (7th most expensive)
More on Ralston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ralston is a city in Douglas County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 5,943 at the 2010 census. Ralston is surrounded on three sides by the city of Omaha, and by Sarpy County on the south side.

The median income in Ralston comes in at $60,469 and the median home value is $144,000 for 2020.

Fremont, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 26,426
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.4x (5th most expensive)
More on Fremont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fremont is a city in Dodge County in the eastern portion of the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. The population was 26,397 at the 2010 census. Fremont is the county seat and the home of Midland University.

The median income in Fremont comes in at $48,644 and the median home value is $123,600 for 2020.

Grand Island, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 51,187
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.4x (18th most expensive)
More on Grand Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Grand Island is a city in and the county seat of Hall County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 48,520 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Grand Island comes in at $52,642 and the median home value is $137,500 for 2020.

Scottsbluff, NE

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,805
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.5x (2nd most expensive)
More on Scottsbluff: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Scottsbluff is a city in Scotts Bluff County, in the western part of the state of Nebraska, in the Great Plains region of the United States. The population was 15,039 at the 2010 census. Scottsbluff is the largest city in the Nebraska Panhandle, and the 13th largest city in Nebraska.

The median income in Scottsbluff comes in at $42,488 and the median home value is $107,500 for 2020.

Norfolk, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 24,446
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.4x (21st most expensive)
More on Norfolk: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Norfolk is a city in Madison County, Nebraska, United States, 113 miles northwest of Omaha and 83 miles west of Sioux City at the intersection of U.S. Routes 81 and 275. The population was 24,210 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth-largest city in Nebraska. It is the principal city of the Norfolk Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The median income in Norfolk comes in at $49,490 and the median home value is $135,400 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Cornhusker State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Nebraska
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Nebraska to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 32 places in Nebraska that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Nebraska according to the data is Lincoln. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Nebraska For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Nebraska that have the highest cost of living, with Lincoln ranking as the most expensive city in the Cornhusker State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Nebraska according to the data:

  1. Schuyler
  2. Alliance
  3. Sidney

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Nebraska

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Lincoln 5.33 280,849 2.9x 67.2x
2 Omaha 5.67 465,112 2.7x 63.4x
3 Kearney 6.67 33,273 3.2x 70.0x
4 Wayne 6.67 5,558 3.2x 60.6x
5 Blair 7.33 7,684 3.1x 69.8x
6 Ralston 9.67 7,314 2.4x 66.3x
7 Fremont 10.33 26,426 2.5x 65.4x
8 Grand Island 12.33 51,187 2.6x 71.4x
9 Scottsbluff 12.67 14,805 2.5x 58.5x
10 Norfolk 13.0 24,446 2.7x 73.4x
11 Bellevue 14.0 53,225 2.3x 68.7x
12 La Vista 14.33 17,077 2.2x 67.6x
13 Plattsmouth 15.67 6,448 2.3x 65.4x
14 Gretna 16.0 5,037 2.3x 84.3x
15 Nebraska City 16.33 7,263 2.5x 69.8x
16 Seward 16.33 7,151 2.4x 89.8x
17 Columbus 16.67 22,992 2.3x 79.8x
18 Beatrice 17.0 12,307 2.4x 69.3x
19 Gering 18.0 8,312 2.2x 69.9x
20 North Platte 18.33 24,011 2.3x 71.6x
21 Chadron 19.0 5,654 2.4x 87.0x
22 Hastings 19.33 24,922 2.3x 70.6x
23 Crete 19.33 7,050 2.1x 57.8x
24 Papillion 19.33 20,466 2.2x 90.8x
25 York 19.67 7,859 2.3x 80.5x
26 Holdrege 23.67 5,476 2.3x 90.4x
27 Mccook 24.0 7,580 2.2x 72.8x
28 South Sioux City 24.67 12,994 2.1x 73.7x
29 Lexington 24.67 10,067 1.6x 69.4x
30 Sidney 25.67 6,732 1.9x 82.3x
31 Alliance 27.33 8,313 2.1x 85.1x
32 Schuyler 29.0 6,301 1.6x 78.7x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.