Where are the best places in the state of Nebraska?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Cornhusker State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Nebraska.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 30 places in Nebraska, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Papillion (Photos)
- La Vista (Photos)
- Gretna (Photos)
- Seward (Photos)
- Blair (Photos)
- Sidney (Photos)
- Kearney (Photos)
- Holdrege (Photos)
- Columbus (Photos)
- Gering (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 460 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’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place 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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
Population: 19,520Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $167,200 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (7th best)
The crime is the 8th lowest in the state in Papillion, and there were only 29 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.
The schools are some of the best in Nebraska, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Papillion earn $77,339 a year.
2. La Vista
Population: 17,064Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Values: $141,600 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (8th best)
La Vista is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 2nd best place in Nebraska?
Homes are priced around $141,600 and residents have the 24th shortest commute in Nebraska.
Population: 5,047Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Values: $170,200 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.8% (5th best)
Gretna has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Nebraska. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Gretna is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home pricese. Additionally, the commute time for Gretna residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Population: 7,133Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $143,900 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (13th best)
Seward is by far one of the best places to live in Nebraska: the math proves it! This city has the 14th lowest unemployment rate and the 3rd highest median income in all of Nebraska.
Plus, the median home values are the 5th highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 1st lowest in the state, making Seward a safe and great place to live.
Population: 8,007Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $142,900 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (3rd best)
With the unemployment rate being the 4th lowest in Nebraska and very stable household median incomes, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live in Blair.
Plus, the crime rate is the 2nd lowest in the state!
Population: 6,875Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Home Values: $125,700 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (6th best)
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.
Population: 32,709Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Values: $159,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (11th best)
Who doesn’t want to live inKearney? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 3.6%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of Kearney in the news in the coming months.
Population: 5,545Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Values: $105,500 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.1% (1st best)
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Nebraska, as there were only 8 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 1st lowest in Nebraska (1.1%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 21st most expensive in Holdrege ($105,500), meaning a lot of people want to live there.
Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $44,914 a year.
Population: 22,668Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Values: $126,700 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (22nd best)
Things can’t get much better than in the town of Columbus. The crime is the 12th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Columbus make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.
The median home costs a cool $126,700 and households make $53,857 which is good for 7th in Nebraska.
Population: 8,401Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Values: $118,700 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (18th best)
Gering is known for having a great education system and has the 16th shortest commute time.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Gering is the 18th lowest in Nebraska and the median income is the 10th highest in the state.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Nebraska
- Hickman (Pop. 1,891)
- Springfield (Pop. 1,516)
- Waverly (Pop. 3,686)
- Bennington (Pop. 1,608)
- Aurora (Pop. 4,459)
- Arlington (Pop. 1,322)
- Sutherland (Pop. 1,490)
- Battle Creek (Pop. 1,264)
- Ceresco (Pop. 1,000)
- Pierce (Pop. 1,963)
Best Small Towns To Live In Nebraska
- Inland (Pop. 59)
- Lakeview (Pop. 317)
- Wann (Pop. 81)
- Hadar (Pop. 273)
- Loomis (Pop. 419)
- Yankee Hill (Pop. 378)
- Roca (Pop. 195)
- Washington (Pop. 114)
- Glenwood (Pop. 473)
- Roscoe (Pop. 43)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Nebraska:
- Scottsbluff (Pop. 14,937)
- Schuyler (Pop. 6,171)
- Lexington (Pop. 10,090)
For more Nebraska reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Nebraska
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Nebraska
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Nebraska
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Nebraska