10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019


Here are the cream of the crop in the Cornhusker State.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the best places to live in Nebraska.

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What do 1.9 million Nebraska residents know that we don't? Well, besides that Hastings is the home of Kool-Aid or that Omaha is home to the biggest rainforest indoor rainforest, Nebraskans know that the Cornhusker State has some of the best places to live in America.

And lucky for you, HomeSnacks has uncovered the top ten best places to live in Nebraska for 2019.

We looked at Nebraska places with 5,000 or more residents. We took into account home and rental prices, household income, education, and safety. Our conclusion, Nebraska is the land of spectacular sunsets and lush cornfields; so any place you choose to call home, will definitely be five star. Not surprising, because we can thank some of Nebraska's best places for Swanson TV Dinners and Eskimo Pies; and we can thank the other half, for higher education institutions like The University of Nebraska in Lincoln and Doane University in Crete for educating the future of Nebraska.

So, what does it take to live in Nebraska's best of the best places? We suggest a good job. And the jobs that are keeping median incomes high and Nebraska's best places to live safe and enjoyable are in the medical field and engineering. More importantly, these jobs are keeping Nebraska's unemployment rate below the national average as well as one of the safest states in the country.

We suggest you grab a Runza, head to your favorite spot on the Ogallala side of the Platte River and read on.

Picture a cool, urban, Nebraska suburb with great parks, gold star schools, and amazing people, and you will know what it's like to live in Nebraska's number one best place.

So, where is the best place to live in Nebraska for 2019? Well, according to the most recent FBI and Census data, that would be Papillion.

To see Nebraska's other best places to live, take a look below.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019

Papillion, NE

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 19,520
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $167,200 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (7th best)
More on Papillion: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Papillion isn't just the nicest place to live in Nebraska - it's also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It's got the 7th lowest unemployment rate, the highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you're looking at science and data, Papillion definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2019.

La Vista, NE

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 17,064
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $141,600 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (8th best)
More on La Vista: Real Estate | Data | Photos

La Vista has it made. In fact, according to science, it's one of the best places to live in the state of Nebraska.

The unemployment rate is the 8th lowest in the state at 3.2%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $59,401, and the average cost of a home is $141,600. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.

We wouldn't be surprised if more and more publications call La Vista one of America's gems.

Gretna, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,047
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $170,200 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.8% (5th best)
More on Gretna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The tiny town of Gretna may not remain tiny forever. The word has been out for a long, long time about how special this place is.

The residents are heavily involved in making their community even more awesome, and as many Nebraska residents know, Gretna is a great central spot for making the most of life.

Seward, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,133
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $143,900 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (14th best)
More on Seward: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Well, I guess technically 3.7% of Seward residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 14th closest of any city in Nebraska.

You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.

In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Seward also ranked well for crime (1st) and median income ($61,338).

Blair, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 8,007
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $142,900 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (4th best)
More on Blair: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Blair is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 5th best place in Nebraska?

Homes are priced around $142,900 and residents have the 20th shortest commute in Nebraska.

Sidney, NE

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,875
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $125,700 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (6th best)
More on Sidney: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you want to live in Nebraska, you can't go wrong if you decide to make the Sidney area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.

Can you blame them? It's a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $57,609 median income will do that).

Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Sidney as great as possible. You can't get it much better than in Sidney.

Kearney, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 32,709
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $159,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (11th best)
More on Kearney: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Kearney, everyone loves to call Kearney home! The median home value is the 3rd highest in Nebraska.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 11th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Cornhusker State.

Holdrege, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,545
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $105,500 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.1% (1st best)
More on Holdrege: Real Estate | Data | Photos

With the unemployment rate being the 1st lowest in Nebraska and very stable household median incomes, it's easy to see why someone would want to live in Holdrege.

Plus, the crime rate is the 15th lowest in the state!

Columbus, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 22,668
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $126,700 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (22nd best)
More on Columbus: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbus has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Columbus had the 7th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $53,857.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

Gering, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 8,401
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $118,700 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (18th best)
More on Gering: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who doesn't want to live in Gering? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 4.5%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.

Expect to see more of Gering in the news in the coming months.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Nebraska

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Lincoln with a population of 273,018 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 30 cities, 85 towns, and 396 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Nebraska

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Nebraska across a number of criteria from one to 30, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Nebraska".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Nebraska? That would be Papillion.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Nebraska.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Papillion at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Nebraska

If you're looking at areas in Nebraska with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Papillion made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Nebraska for 2019.

Best Towns To Live In Nebraska

  1. Hickman (Pop. 1,891)
  2. Springfield (Pop. 1,516)
  3. Waverly (Pop. 3,686)
  4. Bennington (Pop. 1,608)
  5. Aurora (Pop. 4,459)
  6. Arlington (Pop. 1,322)
  7. Sutherland (Pop. 1,490)
  8. Battle Creek (Pop. 1,264)
  9. Ceresco (Pop. 1,000)
  10. Pierce (Pop. 1,963)

Best Small Towns To Live In Nebraska

  1. Loomis (Pop. 419)
  2. Hadar (Pop. 273)
  3. Wann (Pop. 81)
  4. Lakeview (Pop. 317)
  5. Yankee Hill (Pop. 378)
  6. Roca (Pop. 195)
  7. Malcolm (Pop. 408)
  8. Washington (Pop. 114)
  9. Glenwood (Pop. 473)
  10. Henderson (Pop. 971)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Nebraska according to the data:

  1. Lexington (Pop. 10,090)
  2. Schuyler (Pop. 6,171)
  3. Scottsbluff (Pop. 14,937)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Nebraska?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Papillion 19,520 2.8% $167,200
2 La Vista 17,064 3.2% $141,600
3 Gretna 5,047 1.8% $170,200
4 Seward 7,133 3.7% $143,900
5 Blair 8,007 1.6% $142,900
6 Sidney 6,875 2.2% $125,700
7 Kearney 32,709 3.6% $159,400
8 Holdrege 5,545 1.1% $105,500
9 Columbus 22,668 5.4% $126,700
10 Gering 8,401 4.5% $118,700

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.

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