17 Pros and Cons of Living in Nebraska

Updated On November 16, 2023
Nebraska

Nebraska is a midwestern state that is known for its corn husking and its dusty trails.

The Travel Bureau actually offers the tagline of “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

It is important to know the pros and cons so that you can decide if the state has enough to make you happy enough to move there, either for work, to start a family, or even to retire.

Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska

Pros of Living in Nebraska

You will find that there are a lot of pros to living in Nebraska, especially if you do not consider yourself to be a city-oriented kind of person.

Knowing all that the state has to offer can help you determine that the state is actually highly desirable.

1. Lots of Job Opportunities

More and more companies are moving to Nebraska so that they can offer employees more affordable living opportunities.

As such, you will find plenty of job opportunities.

In fact, the unemployment rate in Nebraska is lower than in many other states.

Several Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Nebraska, too.

This includes Werner Enterprises, Berkshire Hathaway, and HDR Engineering.

2. Cost of Living is Low

The cost of living is low in almost all areas – housing, groceries, utilities, and healthcare.

It means that it is considerably more affordable to live in Nebraska than in many other states around the nation.

Your money will go further, which is what will allow you to save money, pay down debt, and more.

It is also why more people are moving away from the big cities to explore what Nebraska has to offer.

3. Lots of Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities are abundant, and much of that is because of the many rural aspects of the state.

People get creative with how they spend their time.

Some will participate in pumpkin chucking in the fall while others will create corn mazes.

There are also tons of rivers – and it is not uncommon to see people in livestock watering tanks floating down them.

Snake River Falls, Nebraska National Forest, and Lake McConaughy are some of the other ways to explore the state’s stunning landscape.

4. People are Friendly

You will find a lot of small towns where everyone is happy to help everyone.

If you live in one of the smaller cities, you may even find that you begin knowing everyone’s name.

You will see familiar faces everywhere you go, and people are bound to greet you and engage in friendly banter.

No one is as stressed as those living in the big cities.

It helps to create a friendlier and more welcoming environment.

5. Healthcare is Affordable

The quality of life is high in Nebraska, and much of this is because of the family-friendly communities and the wide-open spaces.

Healthcare is also affordable, which leads to more people being both happy and healthy.

There are more clinics and hospitals per capita, and with a low population, it means that they are not subject to the overcrowding that you will find in big cities.

6. There are Big Cities and Rural Areas

You will find a great balance between city life and country life.

Whatever it is that you want to do, you will find it somewhere in Nebraska.

Omaha, for example, has a lot of museums, art galleries, and microbreweries.

The rural areas have farms, farmer’s markets, and country fairs.

You will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds without a long drive to experience the country and the city.

7. Lots of Festivals and Events Take Place

You will find all sorts of festivals and events taking place throughout the year.

Remember all of those wide-open spaces?

It turns out that they are perfect for carnivals, fairs, outdoor music festivals, and more.

There will always be something going on somewhere throughout the state.

There is the AppleJack Festival in September, the MAHA music festival in August, and the Nebraska Science Festival in April which are among some of the most popular events that draw people in from across the state and beyond.

8. Good Education Systems

There are some great schools in Nebraska.

In fact, one of the reasons they are so great is because there is a significant portion of property taxes that go to fund public schools.

The state consistently falls in the top 10 for education thanks to high test scores, SAT scores, and low dropout rates.

It’s also why more and more families are choosing to make Nebraska their home.

9. There is a Lot of History

The more time you spend in Nebraska, the more history you are likely to encounter.

It is where the first railroad to the Pacific was started.

You will find a lot of Sioux Indian history, complete with Chief Crazy Horse surrendering at camp Robinson.

Dozens of museums are dedicated to teaching you the history across the state, too.

Cons of Living in Nebraska

The cons of Nebraska can be overwhelming if you’re not aware of what the state has to offer.

Knowing what the state does not have should be a consideration as you explore all that there is to know.

It is best to know what you are getting yourself into before packing up for a move.

1. Taxes are High

While the overall cost of living is low, you will find that property taxes can be relatively high.

You will pay a lot for owning a home, even if the cost of the home is lower than elsewhere in the U.S. business taxes are relatively high, too, which can be difficult for small business owners to endure.

In general, Nebraska ranks as one of the least tax-friendly states because of the high property taxes as taxing Social Security benefits and other retirement income.

2. Not a Lot of Diversity

Nebraska is not one of the more diverse states in the United States.

The majority of people cling to wholesome Christian values, so LGBTQ populations are few and far between.

The demographics of the state say it all. 85% of the population is white.

The remaining 15% is divided between Black, Hispanic, and two or more races.

It can be difficult for people to be accepting of anything outside of the “norm,” so you’ll need to consider that based on who you are and what you want your kids to be raised around.

3. “Big” Cities Aren’t Very Big

The population of all of Nebraska is 1.9 million according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau.

To put that into perspective, the population of Los Angeles is 3.9 million.

As such, even the biggest cities in the state are not that big.

The state’s capital, Lincoln, only has a population of 286,000.

Many of the cities are actually more like towns.

You can drive right through them without even realizing that you’ve moved from one city to the next because of the small feeling that they have.

4. There are Tornadoes

Tornadoes are relatively abundant in Nebraska.

People who have lived in the state their entire lives can usually tell you about some of the more horrific storms that they have seen at one point or another.

The further south you are, the more likely you are to encounter a tornado.

The most occur in the months of May and June – and 51 is the average per year.

5. Not All Roads are Paved

A significant part of Nebraska is still rural.

As soon as you leave the major cities, you may enter towns that only have a population of 5,000 or less.

As such, there are more people on tractors and trucks than anything else.

They are not collecting the same level of taxes as the big cities, so they are not concerned with paving the roads.

Various county roads may be only gravel – and they could span several miles.

6. Lots of Snow

Nebraska can become very white during the winter months.

The average amount of snow per year is 28 inches across the state – and some cities encounter more snow than others.

Areas like Norfolk can experience closer to 30 inches.

Snowstorms are relatively common throughout Nebraska, too, which means that you may get stuck in your home for days on end during January and February.

7. Seasonal Allergies are Abundant

Many people are susceptible to seasonal allergies – and the pollen count in Nebraska can be quite a lot.

The pollen season lasts from February through October, which means that many people will deal with allergies for a greater part of the year.

While there are things that you can do to ease allergies, it can be difficult for people with asthma and other health conditions.

8. There’s a Lot of Farmland

While farmland can seem like a good thing, it starts to look all the same when you are on a road trip through the state.

You may not see anything but green farms for miles on end.

If you’re used to driving through cities, it can be quite a dramatic difference.

It may also mean that you have to plan accordingly.

You could go for an hour or more without seeing gas stations or restaurants.

Fremont, Nebraska
Fremont, Nebraska

Pros and Cons of Living in Nebraska – Summary Table

Pros of Living in NebraskaCons of Living in Nebraska
1. Lots of Job Opportunities1. Taxes are High
2. Cost of Living is Low2. Not a Lot of Diversity
3. Lots of Outdoor Activities3. “Big” Cities Aren’t Very Big
4. People are Friendly4. There are Tornadoes
5. Healthcare is Affordable5. Not All Roads are Paved
6. There are Big Cities and Rural Areas6. Lots of Snow
7. Lots of Festivals and Events Take Place7. Seasonal Allergies are Abundant
8. Good Education Systems8. There’s a Lot of Farmland
9. There is a Lot of History

Nebraska Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Nebraska Safety Review

Safety Index:
82
Nebraska
  • OVERALL RISK: LOW
  • TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
  • PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
  • NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
  • MUGGING RISK: LOW
  • TERRORISM RISK: LOW
  • SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
  • WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average housing cost in Nebraska?

The median home cost in Nebraska is around $205,200 – which is considerably lower than the median home cost in the U.S. of $291,700.

What is the minimum wage in Nebraska?

The state’s minimum wage is $9 per hour.

Which are the most populated cities in Nebraska?

There are only two cities that have populations in the six digits, which are Omaha and Lincoln.

What is the sales tax for the state?

The sales tax in Nebraska is 5.5%, which is lower than in many other states.

Depending on the city or county government you live in, an additional sales tax of up to 2% can be added.

What does the crime rate look like?

Nebraska is a relatively safe state to live in. It’s ranked #23 for property crime, and the crime rate is 3% lower than that of the U.S. as a whole.

Further, violent crime is only at a rate of 3.3 per 1,000 residents.

What are the top employers in Nebraska?

Some of the top employers in Nebraska include Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific, Cabela’s, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

13 Comments on 17 Pros and Cons of Living in Nebraska

  1. L
    Lorraine Hoy says:

    Very helpful thinking of moving to Nebraska.

  2. A
    Anonymous says:

    Great place to raise a family. Decent schools. Good neighbors . People are interested in diversity and actually helping the communities that are struggling with crime.

  3. Nebraska goc. Is destroying what used to be decisions based on what is best for people. Now politicians just buy their way into government and want to take away rights. Property taxes are high. Land is all private and the water is likely contaminated with nitrites but they are hiding that.

  4. The cost of living is skyrocketing, in the 90’s homes were under 50k in the 2000’s homes were 80k. Today you can’t find a home under 100k, and the homes that are under 100k are decapitated. It is a very toxic place to live if you are a renter because if the property is not new than more than likely you will be dealing with a slumlord. Another toxic thing about living in Nebraska is the radon levels. most dwellings have toxic levels of radon in need of mitigation. Pluss the lead paint levels in older homes also causes issues for home owners and renters. As far as living in Nebraska, it is drastically changing. What use to be self reliable place has now become a shopping extravaganza. If you live in the city be sure to have a 100 dollars a day because the only thing to do in Nebraska is shop. The parks are overcrowded in the cities, and the lakes are all dirty. A lack of attractions like no theme parks, and crime is always on the rise. If you can get through the ups and down of the Nebraska weather, and grind your teeth through the every day boring life with enough money to take a vacation every six months, then Nebraska might be ok, but if you can’t find a way out then it will consume you.

    1. S
      South central NEBRASKAN says:

      I retired to a rural village in NE from urban Illinois when I remarried. While always polite with cashiers, servers, and medical workers, I avoid interactions with people, so this is great for an introvert. There are help wanted signs in every business, but low pay and no benefits in these small towns. Some businesses have gone out of business as they could not retain enough workers. Child care is almost nonexistent and expensive. In this state of small towns, food cost more here as there is usually only one store so no competition. Winds are strong year round, a flag lasts two months. Winter is brutally cold but climate changes are making winter milder. Climate changes are also making it a year round drought and big fields make for big smoky fires. Pollens are thick, plenty of radon, and the water pollution from farm run off is common. Worst is beer cost more!

    2. S
      Sam Chambers says:

      Ironic, when you have the world’s (depends on which day) richest man living in Nebraska. Sick world we live in.

  5. M
    Maxwell Yoder says:

    I think that only two of the “cons” of NE are actual cons for me personally (Taxes and Allergies). Overall, I think Nebraska is an underrated state to live in.

  6. I have lived in nebraska most of my life, my husband was born and raised in Nebraska, and with the larger cities, as New York for example, for me is scary. We have crime and yes it’s on the rise, I still feel safe here. Yes our weather is pretty unpredictable but overall great, if you like ever changing type of weather.
    Overall it is a great place to live, work and just be yourself (so far).

  7. J
    J R Strong says:

    I have lived in rural Nebraska for almost 80 years, I find some of the comments quit amusing.

  8. P
    Patriot says:

    I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life of 64 years. It was a great area to grow up in when I was a kid because of the small cities and open fields. As I’ve gotten older of course the open lands are gone, it’s wall-to-wall people, you can’t buy a home for less than $900k where I lived, the cost if living is sky high, and the politics, homelessness and crime are horrible.

    My wife and I moved to a smaller town several years ago to escape that life. The town had 25,000 people, but in 10 years it’s over 60,000 people. The cost of homes was $250k, but now closer to $500k. Of course crime and homelessness is higher, and everything else you expect from a rapidly growing small city. Other than the winter months, Nebraska sounds great to me. You never appreciate what you have until you live in large cities. I have recently been doing a lot of research on Norfolk Nebraska as it appears my sister will be moving there, and I’m actually a bit jealous. It sounds like a good small town American city and a great place to raise your kids. As a teenager and young adult, it may very well be a boring place, just as it is where I know live in California, but for younger kids and even soon to be retired folks, it sounds perfect to me, except the freezing cold months. It gets down into the high teens here, but very little snow. I look forward to seeing Norfolk, and I think my sister and her son will be happy there. She lives in Arizona and hates the summer months, and basically everything about the state. I don’t care for the summer months either, but Arizona seems like a nice state to live in as well. To be honest, almost every states seems better to live in than California, or any other state on the west or east coast.

  9. V
    Vern Morgan says:

    I don’t know what to say!! I think all the above comments are totally amazing!! I’m 79 my wife is 70! We just moved to Gering, Nebraska next to Scottsbluff! Five weeks in… bought an older home at a great price… so far shopping is good…. Groceries are not cheap but all in all people are amazingly friendly and it feels comfortable and good!! Nice people and very helpful in giving us helpful tips and advice!! We think it’s a good choice to have moved here to Nebraska!!!

  10. Some of the comments are comical. Basically, different people have different likes and dislikes. I have lived in 16 different states. Some more than once. All job related. When I retired I wanted a safe, affordable place to live where I felt comfortable. I chose Nebraska. I was born and raised here. I left to spend 4 years in the military, returned to attend college, worked here for 8 years and then moved to Florida. Of the 16 different states I lived in I decided on either Iowa or Nebraska to retire to. Couldn’t be happier with my decision. Best place I ever lived. Nashville, TN was a very close 2nd. The winters aren’t an issue as I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to. There are SO MANY mom and pop restaurants that have the absolute best food I’ve ever eaten. Haven’t been to a chain restaurant since I’ve been here. The people are kind. The crime is VERY low. The Spring and Fall seasons are incredible. This is The Good Life indeed.

  11. I would say some of the so-called “cons” are a matter of opinion. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to live with “diversity”. I’ve been around it in the Chicago area my whole life. That’s why I’m researching places to go…to get away from it.

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