5 Worst Places to Live in Nebraska

Nebraska, the Cornhusker State, conjures images of rolling prairies, friendly communities, and a strong agricultural heritage. For many, it represents a wholesome slice of Americana. Yet, like any state, Nebraska has areas that struggle more than others. This article delves into those places, examining why they rank as the top five worst places to live in Nebraska.


This analysis isn’t based on personal opinions. It relies on a combination of hard data and reputable sources to identify locations facing significant challenges:

  • Crime Rates: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data offers insights into violent and property crime rates.
  • Socioeconomic Factors: US Census Bureau provides statistics on poverty levels, unemployment rates, median household income, and educational attainment.
  • Economic Indicators: Local and state economic reports reveal job market health, business growth or decline, and infrastructure quality.
  • Quality of Life: Where available, factors like access to amenities (healthcare, recreation, etc.) were considered.

The 5 Worst Places to Live in Nebraska

1. Scottsbluff

  • Economic Distress: Scottsbluff suffers from the highest unemployment rate in Nebraska and a substantial poverty rate. Many jobs are seasonal or low-paying.
  • Population Decline: As economic opportunities dwindle, residents, especially young people, leave for better prospects elsewhere.
  • Limited Growth: Scottsbluff struggles to attract new businesses and industries, perpetuating its economic woes.

2. Omaha

  • Crime: Nebraska’s largest city has a serious crime problem, particularly for violent crimes like assault and robbery.
  • Disparity: Omaha exhibits stark socioeconomic divisions between affluent areas and neighborhoods plagued by poverty and crime.
  • Note: Omaha, undeniably, also offers urban amenities and opportunities that smaller Nebraska towns cannot.

3. Gering

  • Close Ties to Scottsbluff: Gering, adjacent to Scottsbluff, shares many of its neighbor’s economic problems.
  • Property Crime: Gering has a particularly high rate of property crime, including theft and burglary.

4. Lexington

  • Immigrant Population: Lexington is home to a large immigrant community, primarily from Latin America. Challenges arise from language barriers and potential social tensions.
  • Economic Hardship: Lexington has lower income levels and a higher poverty rate than the Nebraska average.

5. South Sioux City

  • Crime and Poverty: South Sioux City struggles with both a high crime rate and high poverty levels.
  • Aging Infrastructure: The city faces issues with older housing stock and infrastructure in need of updates.

Important Considerations

  • Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story: Every community has its unique strengths and challenges. Some people may thrive in places that rank poorly on paper.
  • Small-Town Limitations: Data primarily focuses on larger towns and cities; smaller, struggling communities may be overlooked.
  • Redeeming Qualities: Even the most challenged places often have positive aspects, dedicated residents, and potential for revitalization.


Nebraska, overall, remains a state with a strong sense of community, affordable living, and ample natural beauty. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that not all areas are created equal. The places listed in this article face real challenges that impact their residents’ quality of life.

If you’re considering a move to Nebraska, thorough research is vital. Look beyond state-level statistics and dig into specific towns or cities. Factors like your personal needs, career field, and lifestyle preferences all play a significant role in determining if a location is truly a good fit.


Additional Notes

Here are some more points to keep in mind when interpreting this information:

  • Change over Time: The economic and social conditions of a place can shift. Always use the most up-to-date data available.
  • Neighborhood Variations: Even within struggling cities, there may exist safer neighborhoods with better schools and a higher quality of life.
  • The Importance of Visiting: If possible, visiting a potential new home is always advisable. It allows you to get a feel for the place that statistics alone can’t convey.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. It aims to shed light on areas with documented challenges, not discourage potential residents of Nebraska.

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MBS Staff
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