Nebraska may seem like just another Midwest flyover state filled with miles and miles of corn. While that may be true (it is called the Cornhusker State after all), it also offers its people more than you might think.
For one thing, it has a thriving metropolitan center that’s been named one of the best places to live by U.S. News. Omaha may have more cattle than humans (true story), but it also has a rich history built from generations of agriculture and good ol’ hard work.
If the Cornhusker State is tugging at your heartstrings a bit, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some things to know before embracing the Cornhusker state of mind.
In Nebraska, they treat their job market like the cattle they raise. They fatten it up nice and juicy, and then everyone can eat. The state unemployment rate is 2.8% , one of the lowest in the country. Nebraska is ranked 16th overall in best states for jobs, taking into consideration job opportunities and economic standing. Not too shabby, Nebraska!
While the job market seems to be doing fine and dandy, we can assure you that the citizens of this Midwest state aren’t all cornhusking. So where are all the fine citizens of this prairie state working? Well, the companies with the largest workforce include Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett's crown jewel), Union Pacific and Home Instead Senior Care.
As for specific professions that are booming in the state, web developer, home health aide and computer numerical controller machinist (you’re going to have to google that one) are the fastest growing jobs. Overall, five of the ten fastest growing jobs relate to health care. While the agricultural industry still sits on the iron throne (generating $7 billion a year in cattle alone), healthcare services is a steadily growing field. However, the non-farm industry with the most job growth in the last 12 months was the leisure and hospitality industry at 2.4%.
Another great piece of news is that this Wild West state is ranked 5th for affordability by U.S. News. With minimum wage at a whopping $9.00 an hour (anything higher than the average is a win) and an affordable cost of living, this may just be the sweet spot for anyone not scared of wrangling some cattle. If you are, maybe you should consider drinking the party punch elsewhere.
It’s not just the job market that’s stellar, cornhuskers know how to do housing right too. U.S. News ranks the state 4th for housing affordability. According to Zillow, the median home value is $157,800 and the median rent price is $1,250, but housing prices are predicted to go up 3.3% over the next year.
While affordable housing prices should definitely be at the top of your list, Midwest migration doesn’t seem to be top priority for transplants. The population in Nebraska in 2018 is estimated to be 1.93 million. That’s up just a bit from 1.82 million at the 2010 census. Meaning, the state has been experiencing a population growth of under 1% every year. While jobs are available and housing is affordable, the jury is out on whether this state will be the next California.
Since the state hasn’t seen a wildly huge population boom since the Gold Rush, building new houses hasn’t been a priority. Sources says that the majority of homes in the state were built between 1970 and 1979. In the urban areas (Omaha and Lincoln are the only two cities with a population of over 60,000), some new-construction homes can be found. In the 89% of villages that have less than 3,000 people, new construction is not a top priority.
Nebraska can pretty much be summed up in what we like to call the 3 R’s: religion, Republican, and wrangling (ok that’s not an “r” but it might as well be). For a state whose major industry is agriculture, it’s pretty obvious what the driving force behind its culture will be. Nebraska’s landscape of rolling hills and fertile plains is the perfect backdrop for the Wild West lifestyle many favor.
While the thriving urban area of Omaha houses almost a quarter of the population, it’s still a center of agricultural industry. It’s not out of the ordinary to see a person walking down the street in a suit, wearing cowboy hat, getting business done. The rest of the hundreds of villages (many containing fewer people than are invited to Prince Harry’s wedding) live a life pretty far removed from the hustle of cities.
With most of its population living rurally, the way of life in Nebraska is slower and more peaceful. It’s not always an easy life, but the farmers who have worked the land for generations would be more than happy showing any newcomers how cornhuskers get it done.
For a state with so few people, it sure is loaded with fun things to do. Adventurous at heart, the spirit of Nebraska lies in its enchanting landscapes and agricultural roots.
Here are just a few must-sees for the Midwest state that offers way more than just corn (and cattle):
While Nebraska may seem like the Midwest’s shining glory, every state is bound to have some cons to wrangle alongside those pros. We’ve just happened to gift wrap them for you, so you can sit back and bask in the almighty knowledge every future Cornhusker should know.
Just in case you’re ever feeling a bit rebellious, here is the cream of the crop of bizarre laws in this state. Every state seems to have some head-shakers no one really cares to talk about anymore (or chooses to ignore). Nebraska’s just happen to be extra-bizarre.
Weird laws to know about in the state:
You may be thinking this Midwest state sounds like a dream. Or you may now be thinking it would be your worst nightmare to live there. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle and can barely remember your breakfast (let alone any of the many things we’ve had to say on the subject).
Take our little pieces of advice to heart or not. Our resources are here to help you make the best decision. If you’re feeling like being a Cornhusker might just be the golden ticket to your life of utter bliss, take it. There are plenty of upsides to make it worth it. About two million other people seem to think so, and it looks to be going well for them.