THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Nebraska For 2020


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

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

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 2020.

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 2020? Well, according to the most recent FBI and Census data, that would be La Vista.

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 2020

La Vista, NE

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 17,077
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $146,700 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.7% (5th best)
More on La Vista: Real Estate | Data | Photos

When you look at the numbers, La Vista is far and away, the best place in Nebraska. The crime rate is very low, and so are the unemployment numbers. Only 5th of La Vista residents are without a job, which is very low.

Plus, the children in La Vista schools receive a ton of support, financially. And when you feel so cozy in your backyard, you're never out of things to do. It's basically a little gem tucked away in Nebraska.

Papillion, NE

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 20,466
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $180,700 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (6th best)
More on Papillion: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Papillion ranks 2nd on our list of best places to live in Nebraska thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Nebraska that we examined.

People have been flocking to Papillion over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Seward, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,151
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $152,600 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (4th best)
More on Seward: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Seward has the 4th lowest unemployment rate in Nebraska. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Seward is higher than the national average and households make $64,180 per year.

We'd move to Seward if we could in a heart beat.

Gretna, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,037
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $183,800 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.4% (1st best)
More on Gretna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gretna broke into the top ten best places to live in Nebraska on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.

It placed 1st overall for its low unemployment rate and the 2nd highest median income of any place in our analysis.

However, it only has the 29th shortest average commute time of any place in Nebraska.

Holdrege, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,476
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $117,500 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.5% (2nd best)
More on Holdrege: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Holdrege makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Nebraska mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 0.5% of folks are jobless, you can bet Holdrege residents are glad to live where they do.

Ralston, NE

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 7,314
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $144,000 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (16th best)
More on Ralston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you want to live in Nebraska, you can't go wrong if you decide to make the Ralston 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 $60,469 median income will do that).

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

Columbus, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 22,992
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $140,500 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (20th best)
More on Columbus: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Let's take a look at why Columbus is a great place to call home for 2020.

There's low crime in Columbus, and the residents here are gainfully employed (4.5% unemployment rate).

You can make Columbus your home for only $140,500 which won't be too hard on a $59,894 household salary.

Blair, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 7,684
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $151,600 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (9th best)
More on Blair: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Blair might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.

The crime rate in Blair isn't amazing, but it's far below the state average. The homes are valued at $151,600 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Nebraska.

If Blair can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (2.8%) is the 9th highest in the state.

Gering, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,312
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $133,600 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (27th best)
More on Gering: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gering is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it's affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $133,600 and households earn a median salary of $60,047. One could get used to that.

Chadron, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,654
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $124,800 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.1% (3rd best)
More on Chadron: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Chadron is by far one of the best places to live in Nebraska: the math proves it! This city has the 3rd lowest unemployment rate and the 17th highest median income in all of Nebraska.

Plus, the median home values are the 17th highest in the state. And if all of that isn't enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 10th lowest in the state, making Chadron a safe and great place to live.

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 280,849 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 cities to live in Nebraska 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. You can download the data here.

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

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 La Vista 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.

La Vista made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Nebraska for 2020.

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. Grand Island (Pop. 51,187)
  2. Crete (Pop. 7,050)
  3. Scottsbluff (Pop. 14,805)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Nebraska?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 La Vista 17,077 1.7% $146,700
2 Papillion 20,466 2.2% $180,700
3 Seward 7,151 1.5% $152,600
4 Gretna 5,037 0.4% $183,800
5 Holdrege 5,476 0.5% $117,500
6 Ralston 7,314 3.5% $144,000
7 Columbus 22,992 4.5% $140,500
8 Blair 7,684 2.8% $151,600
9 Gering 8,312 5.8% $133,600
10 Chadron 5,654 1.1% $124,800

How Is Your Town 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.