These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2018


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

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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 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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

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

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

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

Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Papillion is a wonderful place to live in this state.

The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don’t hurt either!

While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Papillion still holds its own in in Nebraska.

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

At an unemployment rate of 3.2%, everyone who wants a job can get one in La Vista. And the residents command high salaries ($59,401 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($141,600 each).

We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in Nebraska. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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

There’s two types of people who live in Gretna. 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 $170,200 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. Gretna is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

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

Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where there’s low crime and everyone is rich? That’s the case with Seward.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 14th lowest in Nebraska and the median income comes in at $61,338.

This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

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 feeling the love as it ranks as the 5th best city to live in Nebraska for 2016.

It ranked highly because of its high incomes (17th overall) and low crime (2nd overall and one of the best in the top ten).

We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like “The Place To Be 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

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

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 2.2%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.

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

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

Kearney 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 Kearney 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 Kearney residents to work is significantly higher than average.

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

Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in Holdrege. Statistically the 15th safest place in the state, there were only 8 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It’s really beautiful in Holdrege, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $44,914 a year, and homes are valued at more than $105,500.

What else could you possibly want if you’re someone who likes the good things in life?

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

Well, I guess technically 4.5% of Gering residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 18th 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, Gering also ranked well for crime (4th) and median income ($52,484).

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 2018.

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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