The 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2024

The best places to live in Nebraska for 2024 are Papillion, Gretna, and Seward. Find out where your city or town ranks.

What do 1.9 million Nebraskans know that we don’t?

Besides knowing that Hastings is the home of Kool-Aid or that Omaha is home to the biggest rainforest indoor rainforest, Nebraskans know that the best places to live in the Cornhusker State are some of the best places to live in America.

And lucky for you, we uncovered the top ten best places to live in Nebraska for 2024 using Saturday Night Science. We compared the 30 Nebraska places with 5,000 or more residents on factors like home prices, household income, education, and safety from the Census, FBI, and Zillow.

Turns out that you’ll find the best places in Nebraska spread across the state.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2024

  1. Papillion
  2. Gretna
  3. Seward
  4. La Vista
  5. Blair
  6. Bellevue
  7. Columbus
  8. Norfolk
  9. Plattsmouth
  10. Schuyler

Where is the best place to live in Nebraska for 2024? The best place to live in Nebraska is Papillion according to the most recent FBI, Zillow, and Census data.

Grab a Runza, head to your favorite spot on the Ogallala side of the Platte River, and read on.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Nebraska For 2024

Best Places To Live In Nebraska Map

Papillion, NE

Source: Wikipedia User Atomic Energy505 | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Papillion Nebraska
Population 24,016 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $379,982 $249,973
Median Income $104,608 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 2.7% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0123 0.0222

More on Papillion: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located just south of La Vista, Papillion comes in as the best place to live in Nebraska, after losing the #1 rank it had up until this year. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with some neighborly competition. Home to the minor league Storm Chaser’s Werner Park, the kid-favorite Papio Fun Park, and an absolute abundance of other regular parks, its safe to say Papillion is one of the most family-friendly spots in Nebraska.

The poverty rate in Papillion is a crazy low 4.7%, which ranks as the 2nd best in Nebraska. Unemployment sits at 2.7% and the vast majority of folks here have health insurance. But Papillion’s locals aren’t satisfied with just getting by; they enjoy the 2nd highest median household income in the state at $104,608/year. Which is good when homes in the area typically go for around $379,982, the 2nd most expensive in Nebraska.

Gretna, NE

Source: Wikipedia User Jared Winkler | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Gretna Nebraska
Population 9,019 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $416,052 $249,973
Median Income $117,553 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 1.2% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0159 0.0222

More on Gretna: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Gretna is a city in Sarpy County situated between Nebraska’s two biggest cities, Omaha and Lincoln. There’s plenty of family-friendly activities in Gretna, perhaps none as popular with locals as Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard, chock full of wholesome activities as well as the traditional pick-your-own produce fun. For those looking to hike while enjoying spectacular views of the Platte River Valley, Schramm Park is the place for you.

We just hope you’re comfortable schmoozing with the 1%, because Gretna is the richest city in Nebraska. The median household income here is $117,553/year, which ranks as the highest in the state, while a typical home sells for $416,052. Gretna’s unemployment rate is at a crazy low 1.2% and the poverty rate here ranks as the lowest statewide at 3.0%. As a bonus, you’ll have some smart neighbors in Gretna, because 45% of residents have a college degree and 15% have a master’s degree or higher.

Seward, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Seward Nebraska
Population 7,667 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $271,510 $249,973
Median Income $76,755 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 1.9% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0065 0.0222

More on Seward: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Seward is a city of 7,667 located a half hour west of Nebraska’s capital, Lincoln. Seward is the home of Concordia University, which comes with the perk of having an awesome art gallery around. It’s also where you’ll find the World’s Largest Time Capsule, which holds over 5,000 relics and is due to open in 2025. Most importantly, Seward hosts Nebraska’s Fourth of July celebrations each year, which has been voted one of the best Independence Day shindigs in the country and draws upward of 40,000 visitors.

Seward has the distinction of being Nebraska’s safest city, with a crime rate 60% below the national average. GreatSchools gave Seward’s district an average score of 8/10 and the city’s schools consistently outperform the statewide average in test scores and graduation rates by over 10%. Homes in Seward are the 7th most expensive in Nebraska at $271,510, but rent is quite reasonable at $932/month.

La Vista, NE

Source: Wikipedia User Paltron | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat La Vista Nebraska
Population 16,713 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $286,712 $249,973
Median Income $77,748 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 3.9% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0159 0.0222

More on La Vista: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We begin our tour of the best places in Nebraska with La Vista, an Omaha suburb of 16,713. La Vista recently celebrated its 60th birthday, but it’s a precocious little scamp. Home to four breweries and a distillery, it’s safe to say that you won’t go thirsty in La Vista. With all this action around, combined with its status as the state’s most densely-populated place, it’s no wonder that La Vista ranked among the best cities for singles in Nebraska.

The unemployment and poverty rates in La Vista are about half that of the Nebraska average, sitting at 3.9% and 5.2% respectively. Crime is well below the national average as well and violent crime in particular ranks as the 8th lowest in Nebraska.

A little over half of La Vista’s residents own their homes, typically paying around $286,712. Rent in La Vista goes for about $1,183/month, which is the priciest you’ll see on this list and about 25% higher than the statewide median. Luckily, La Vista’s residents are the 4th best-paid in the state, with a median household income of $77,748/year.

Blair, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Blair Nebraska
Population 7,813 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $322,377 $249,973
Median Income $74,058 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 2.8% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0096 0.0222

More on Blair: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

If you’re looking for the best of small-town living without sacrificing easy access to the big city, you’ll love Blair, a suburb located about a half-hour north of Omaha. Blair has over 150 acres of city parks and recreational facilities and residents can easily to get to nearby Fort Atkinson State Historical Park for live history tours or just a day outdoors. Safe streets and good schools are other reasons why parents are drawn to Blair’s cozy little community.

Word to the wise, though: Blair ranks among Nebraska’s most expensive cities, so be sure to come with some savings or a lucrative job lined up if you want to keep up here. On the bright side, besides have the 3rd priciest homes in Nebraska, the cost of living in Blair is pretty much on par with the statewide average. And the median rent of $932/month is actually lower than the Nebraska median price, so if you’re not settling down just this minute, don’t let the “expensive” title keep you from making the move to Blair.

Bellevue, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Bellevue Nebraska
Population 63,336 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $270,139 $249,973
Median Income $79,839 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 2.9% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0158 0.0222

More on Bellevue: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Bellevue, located in Sarpy County, is a great place to live and ranks as the number 6 best place to live in the state. Known for its low cost of living and attractive median home price, Bellevue offers residents an affordable and high-quality lifestyle. With a population of 63,336, Bellevue provides a perfect balance between a small-town feel and the amenities of a larger city.

Bellevue is a desirable place to live because of its proximity to various attractions and things to do. Located in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, residents have easy access to a wide range of entertainment options, including Lake Manawa State Park, Fontenelle Forest, and Gifford Farm.

Columbus, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Columbus Nebraska
Population 24,035 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 7
Median Home Value $247,049 $249,973
Median Income $65,341 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 2.5% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0126 0.0222

More on Columbus: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located in Platte County a little over an hour away from Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island, Columbus comes in as the 7th best place to call home in Nebraska. As far as entertainment goes, it’s tough to beat Columbus. Between the thrills on offer at Pawnee Plunge Water Park, the informative war-remembrance site at Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial, and your chance to win big at the horse-racing track, you’ll find it hard to be bored in Columbus.

There’s little to fear in terms of crime in Columbus, seeing as the crime rate here is the 12th lowest in Nebraska. You also won’t get stressed out driving to and from work, because Columbus residents enjoy the 6th shortest average commute time statewide at 12 minutes. The economy is rock-solid in Columbus, which enjoys the 7th lowest poverty rate and 13th highest median household income ($65,341/year) in Nebraska.

Norfolk, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Norfolk Nebraska
Population 25,883 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 11
Median Home Value $225,933 $249,973
Median Income $57,479 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 2.6% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0084 0.0222

More on Norfolk: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

In Madison County, at the junction of U.S. Routes 81 and 275, Norfolk is the 7.0 largest city in the state. The city’s median home value of $225,933 is the 15th best statewide. Norfolk’s strong economic indicators include a median income higher than the national average and a low 2.6% unemployment rate, ranked 12th in Nebraska, complemented by a brief average 12 minute commute.

A low violent crime rate per capita of 16 is evidence of the area’s safety. Founded by German Lutheran settlers, Norfolk’s roots make it an attractive location for planting yourself in Nebraska.

Plattsmouth, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Plattsmouth Nebraska
Population 6,585 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 18
Median Home Value $284,852 $249,973
Median Income $58,989 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 0.7% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0138 0.0222

More on Plattsmouth: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Plattsmouth, tracing its history back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition days, currently ranks as number 9 among the best places to live in Nebraska. As the county seat of Cass County, with a population of 6,585, it boasts a stable economy reflected by a 58,989 median income. Housing is affordable with a median home value at 5th best in the state.

The city’s placement at the Platte River’s mouth offers easy access to Omaha’s job market and cultural scene. Plattsmouth’s educational system is commendable, making it a great place for families looking for top-tier schools.

Schuyler, NE

Source: Public domain
Stat Schuyler Nebraska
Population 6,516 1,958,939
Rank Last Year 9
Median Home Value $190,114 $249,973
Median Income $71,275 $71,722
Unemployment Rate 2.0% 3.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0012 0.0222

More on Schuyler: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Schuyler, ranked as the number 10 best place to live in Nebraska, is a hidden gem known for its low cost of living and attractive amenities.

You can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank with a median home price of $190,114 and a median rent of $958. The city’s 7th median income provides financial stability.

Schuyler’s location allows residents to easily explore other parts of Nebraska. Whether it’s a day trip to Omaha for shopping and entertainment or a weekend getaway to the scenic countryside, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure just a short drive away.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Nebraska

Best Places To Live In Nebraska Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Nebraska, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Lincoln, with a population of 290,531, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best 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 filter left 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 over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Nebraska

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

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, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Nebraska.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking Nebraska’s best places to live.

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.

Summary: The Best Places 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.

The best places to live in Nebraska are Papillion, Gretna, Seward, La Vista, Blair, Bellevue, Columbus, Norfolk, Plattsmouth, and Schuyler.

Papillion made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Nebraska for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Nebraska according to the data:

  1. Beatrice (Pop. 12,237)
  2. Crete (Pop. 7,093)
  3. Grand Island (Pop. 52,822)

For more Nebraska reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In Nebraska Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Papillion 24,016 2.7% $379,982 $104,608 $1,154 0.0123
2 Gretna 9,019 1.2% $416,052 $117,553 $1,357 0.0159
3 Seward 7,667 1.9% $271,510 $76,755 $932 0.0065
4 La Vista 16,713 3.9% $286,712 $77,748 $1,183 0.0159
5 Blair 7,813 2.8% $322,377 $74,058 $932 0.0096
6 Bellevue 63,336 2.9% $270,139 $79,839 $1,141 0.0158
7 Columbus 24,035 2.5% $247,049 $65,341 $867 0.0126
8 Norfolk 25,883 2.6% $225,933 $57,479 $801 0.0084
9 Plattsmouth 6,585 0.7% $284,852 $58,989 $965 0.0138
10 Schuyler 6,516 2.0% $190,114 $71,275 $958 0.0012
11 Ralston 6,462 1.8% $239,447 $61,554 $1,087 0.0184
12 Gering 8,582 2.3% $182,745 $65,743 $845 0.0118
13 Chadron 5,255 1.8% $177,823 $53,728 $832 0.0112
14 Wayne 5,973 4.4% $202,182 $51,399 $766 0.0085
15 York 8,101 3.9% $196,159 $68,794 $836 0.0120
16 Kearney 33,809 2.9% $282,103 $66,843 $897 0.0197
17 Holdrege 5,494 0.8% $159,861 $58,375 $724 0.0044
18 Fremont 27,230 4.9% $227,388 $62,226 $897 0.0214
19 Lincoln 290,531 3.3% $267,971 $67,846 $998 0.0326
20 McCook 7,412 2.6% $168,997 $53,750 $782 0.0125
21 Sidney 6,407 1.7% $146,360 $49,866 $852 0.0217
22 Omaha 489,201 4.2% $268,796 $70,202 $1,099 0.0398
23 North Platte 23,309 3.8% $184,800 $56,890 $871 0.0296
24 Alliance 8,118 5.4% $153,789 $58,214 $728 0.0207
25 Scottsbluff 14,454 2.3% $164,115 $55,744 $942 0.0354
26 Lexington 10,662 2.7% $180,138 $63,939 $921 0.0194
27 Hastings 25,098 3.0% $178,264 $57,554 $814 0.0271
28 Beatrice 12,237 3.0% $157,701 $49,537 $686 0.0127
29 Crete 7,093 2.9% $220,582 $62,468 $791 0.0210
30 Grand Island 52,822 3.1% $227,607 $59,061 $886 0.0292

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.