These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2019

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

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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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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:

  1. Papillion (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. La Vista (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Gretna (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Seward (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Blair (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Sidney (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Kearney (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Holdrege (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Columbus (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Gering (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Well, it looks like you should check out Papillion if you’re thinking of moving to Nebraska — it’s the best the Cornhusker State has to offer according to the data.

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Nebraska.

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:

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.

Papillion, NE

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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 is another gem in Cornhusker State. The unemployment rate here is 7th lowest in the entire state at 2.8%. Other factors that make Papillion so desirable is the solid education and home prices.

Homes are valued at $167,200, and parents earn a combined $77,339 a year

There’s nothing like the American dream.

La Vista, NE

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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

There’s two types of people who live in La Vista. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $141,600 home there.

Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. La Vista is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Gretna, NE

Source: Public domain
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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
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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

In Seward, everyone loves to call Seward home! The median home value is the 5th highest in Nebraska.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 14th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Cornhusker State.

Blair, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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 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 1.6% of folks are jobless, you can bet Blair residents are glad to live where they do.

Sidney, NE

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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

Let’s take a look at why Sidney is a great place to call home for 2019.

There’s low crime in Sidney, and the residents here are gainfully employed (2.2% unemployment rate).

You can make Sidney your home for only $125,700 which won’t be too hard on a $57,609 household salary.

Kearney, NE

Source: Public domain
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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

We wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN call Kearney one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there’s essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.

They can’t build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Kearney.

Holdrege, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

Looks like little Holdrege might be a hidden gem in Nebraska. The population is shrinking a bit, despite the fact that home values are still rising ($105,500) and crime is really low (15th lowest in the state).

Perhaps the cat’s now out of the bag — quick better move in before prices go up more.

Columbus, NE

Source: Public domain
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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

The Town of Columbus consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren’t any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?

Let’s see why Columbus ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Columbus are the 12th most expensive in the state of Nebraska, with the average home worth a whopping $126,700. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Columbus if they can afford it.

Other numbers that stand out: Columbus residents have the 7th highest income in the state, and the 12th lowest crime numbers in Nebraska.

Gering, NE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

Gering 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 Gering is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Gering residents to work is significantly higher than average.

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:

Detailed List Of 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
11 Bellevue 52,993 6.1% $138,400
12 York 7,899 1.4% $116,300
13 Ralston 7,334 5.3% $131,500
14 Plattsmouth 6,476 4.5% $109,900
15 Alliance 8,469 4.3% $95,400
16 Lincoln 273,018 4.6% $150,200
17 Wayne 5,560 3.2% $128,200
18 Chadron 5,792 1.6% $114,800
19 Norfolk 24,398 3.6% $123,200
20 Fremont 26,450 3.9% $116,500
21 Mccook 7,618 6.1% $83,900
22 North Platte 24,311 3.6% $105,200
23 Omaha 443,072 5.4% $139,800
24 Hastings 24,983 6.1% $103,800
25 Beatrice 12,358 3.9% $97,300
26 Crete 7,089 3.7% $105,400
27 Grand Island 50,895 5.7% $121,100
28 Lexington 10,090 7.2% $83,600
29 Schuyler 6,171 8.3% $88,500
30 Scottsbluff 14,937 7.9% $98,200

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