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Even after being considered among the best cities to settle down in and maintaining a low cost of living, Omaha, or the Gateway to the West, has seen a large number of people leave the city in the last few years. In fact, Nebraska is among the top ten states with most people moving out. College students, in particular, are said to be attracted to the country’s major cities due to better work opportunities, universities, and nightlife. This youth-related exodus has been labeled ‘brain drain’ for a long time. The other majority to move out of the city of Omaha are teachers.
There are a few more reasons why people want to move elsewhere including extreme weather conditions in summers and winters, there are more cattle than people in Omaha, and safety can be an issue after the sun goes down. Here’s a list of cities that you can consider moving to if and when you leave Omaha.
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Serving as the capital city of Nebraska, Lincoln is located around 50 miles southwest of Omaha and is a part of the Silicon Prairie. The cultural and economic hub of southeastern Nebraska, Lincoln is always among the toppers in the list of the best US cities to live in. In the cost of living index, Lincoln has a score of 89.8, which is much lower than the national average of 100 and exactly the same as Omaha. So the most important factor in the moving process is sorted. You’ll get to enjoy all the four seasons as the climate of Lincoln can be best described as humid continental with hot summers and snowy, freezing winters. The city gets a total of 214 days of sunshine, 31 inches of rain, and 26 inches of snowfall in a year.
There is no dearth of job opportunities in Lincoln with the top-performing sectors being education, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, government, financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals, publishing, and telecommunications. The biggest employers in the city are the University of Nebraska, Bryan Health, City of Lincoln, State of Nebraska, Lincoln Public Schools, St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Duncan Aviation, and Burlington Northern Railroad. People in huge numbers move to Lincoln every year from across age groups, be it young professionals, families, or retirees. The city offers a high quality of life, all the amenities, a strong job market, infrastructure, education options, entertainment, restaurants and bars, and nightlife. It’s also a hub for startups.
The crime rate in Lincoln isn’t very far off from the national average. The city has a violent and property crime rate of 4.22 and 26.35 per 1,000 residents, respectively. If you want to compare these figures to the national average, it is 4 for violent crimes and 19 for property crimes.
Downsides: The summers and winters are severe in Lincoln. Healthcare is quite expensive and the property tax is higher than the national average. Due to its location in Tornado Alley, there’s also a high risk of natural disasters.
Median Home Value: $258,808
Monthly Rent: $1,116
Median Household Income: $60,063
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
Best Neighborhoods To Live In: Country Club, Family Acres, Far South, Salt Valley View, Colonial Hills, Historic Haymarket, Downtown, 40th and A, and Porter Ridge.
With more than 35 constituent neighborhoods, Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota. It is located in the southeastern part of the state and has a livability score better than that of South Dakota itself and the country’s average. The city is known as the commercial and cultural center of South Dakota as it is often ranked highly in places for job search, suited for young professionals, and cities to settle down in. Sioux Falls has a cost of living index of 88.6, which is less than the average in the US and slightly below Omaha. The climate that Sioux Falls experiences is humid continental and it produces hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Every year, the city gets 211 days of sunshine, 27 inches of rain, and around 38 inches of snowfall.
The city attracts a lot of people looking for better job opportunities. Some of the major industries to find work in are financial services, food processing, biomedical engineering, healthcare, social assistance, retail trade, education, and manufacturing. The largest employers include Avera Health, Citi Bank, Sioux Falls High School District, Smithfield Foods, Sanford Health, Well Fargo, Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society Healthcare, and the City of Sioux Falls.
The education in Sioux Falls is also better than in most other cities in the US. 35.18% of the adults in the city have a bachelor’s degree, which is much higher than the national average of 21.84%. If you move to this city, you’ll enjoy a robust economy, a low cost of living, a vibrant art scene, amazing open spaces, and awesome places to eat and drink.
Downsides: Both summers and winters see extremely high and low temperatures in Sioux Falls. The city is not as diverse as most places in the US are. Sioux Falls is isolated and a little too far from other cities. It also has a comparatively high crime rate where the violent and property crime rates are 5.82 and 30.48 per 1,000 residents, respectively.
Median Home Value: $296,148
Monthly Rent: $851
Median Household Income: $61,738
Best Neighborhoods To Live In: Garfield, Whittier, Pettigrew Heights, Cathedral Historic District, Downtown, and McKennan Park Historic District.
Also known as Hartford of the West, Des Moines is the capital of Iowa as well as its most populous city. Located at the confluence of the Des Moines River and Raccoon River in the south-central part of the Midwestern state, the city is the hub of Iowa’s economic and cultural activities. Even better news for you is that the cost of living in Des Moines is lower than Omaha’s already low prices. Des Moines has a cost of living index of 81.2. It’s among the country’s best hundred cities to live in and experiences a humid continental climate throughout the year. The winters are freezing cold while the summers are hot and humid. On average, there are 204 sunny days per year, along with 36 inches of rainfall and 33 inches of snow.
The flourishing job market of the city is something for young professionals to look forward to. The biggest sectors to find work in are insurance (there are more than 80 insurance companies), financial service, publishing, logistics, and distribution. A few of the major employers are The Meredith Corporation, UnityPoint Health, Drake University, Wells Fargo, Mercy Medical Center, MidAmerican Energy Company CDS Global, UPS, and Electronic Data Systems.
Those who want to raise a family in Des Moines have some brilliant schools and universities like Downtown School, Merril Middle School, Grand View University, and Des Moines Area Community College. An incredible place to call home, Des Moines has a lot of things to keep you busy, particularly its outdoor activities. You’ll enjoy a mix of small-town vibe and big city life.
Downsides: Public transportation in Des Moines is not up to the mark and hence, you’ll need a personal vehicle. The weather conditions are pretty harsh, especially the bone-chilling winter season. The income tax in the state is high. Des Moines is prone to natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and high winds. The city has violent and property crime rates of 7.08 and 39.23 per 1,000 residents respectively, which are way above the national average.
Median Home Value: $185,400
Monthly Rent: $968
Median Household Income: $54,843
Unemployment Rate: 3%
Best Neighborhoods To Live In: Waveland Park, Ingersoll Park, Linden Heights, Greenwood, Westwood, Salisbury Oaks, Waterbury, and Downtown Des Moines.
Kansas City is located at the junction of the rivers Missouri and Kansas in the state of Missouri. One of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwestern region of the country, Kansas City ranks among the best fifty US cities to set up residence in. Plus, it’s the perfect place to raise a family. The city has a cost of living index of 86.2, which is significantly lower than the average in the country. Kansas City’s climate can be best described as continental with cold winters and hot summers. A point to note is that thunderstorms are frequent in the city. It experiences roughly 215 days of sunshine, 42 inches of rain, and 15 inches of snowfall in a year.
The job market in the city is rock solid with the major industries being education, healthcare, transportation, government, engineering, technology, financial services, etc. A few of the best employers in Kansas City are Bushnell Corporation, Kansas City Life Insurance, Hallmark Cards, AT&T, Red Nova Labs, Ford Motors, Commerce Bank, Burns & McDonnell, and Dairy Farmers of America.
If you have a family or are planning to raise one, you need not worry about your child’s education. Kansas City has a number of quality schools and universities like Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Nashua Elementary, the University of Kansas, and Metro Community College Penn Valley. There’s no way that you’ll miss out on any of the metro cities' fun since Kansas City has everything from fancy restaurants, bars, coffee shops, nightlife, a rich history and culture, great music, sporting events, and some mesmerizing landscapes.
Downsides: The crime rate in Kansas City is high (violent and property crime rates of 15.60 and 40.90 per 1,000 residents) and it’s well over the national average. You would need a car as the public transportation is not sufficient. Natural calamities are something to worry about always. The temperatures go to the extremes in summers and winters.
Median Home Value: $222,939
Monthly Rent: $1,140
Median Household Income: $56,179
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Best Neighborhoods To Live In: Overland Park, Armour Hills, Quality Hill, Shoal Creek Valley, River Market, Waldo, Volker, Gladstone, Olathe, and Blue Springs.
Also See: Top Neighborhoods in Kansas City for Families
The city of Wichita is located around 1,300 feet above sea level on the banks of River Arkansas in the south-central part of Kansas. Popularly known as the Air Capital of the World, Wichita is a fast-growing city that happens to be the largest city in the state and maintains the charm of a suburb while providing all the amenities of a major city. On the cost of living index, the city has a score of 82.1, and therefore, you can relax regarding the biggest factor that counts while moving from one place to another. The city experiences a warm and temperate climate with hot, humid summers and cold, windy winters. On average, there are 221 sunny days, 34 inches of rain, and 13 inches of snowfall in a year.
As far as the job market is concerned, you’ll find a number of sectors like aerospace, aviation, engineering, energy, agriculture, information technology, manufacturing, and education. Some of the city’s biggest employers are the City of Wichita, the State of Kansas, McConnell AFB, Unified School District 259, Koch Industries, Cessna Aircraft, Spirit AeroSystems, and Boeing. The city is home to three major universities - Wichita State University, Newman University, and Friends University. Additionally, Wichita offers its residents numerous options to keep them entertained like a huge number of museums, a rising art scene, a zoo, lush green parks, restaurants, and nightlife.
Downsides: The summers are too hot and the winters get equally unbearable with harsh conditions. You’ll probably have to pay pretty high state taxes. A personal vehicle becomes necessary looking at public transportation in the city. The crime rate is also way above the national average as the city has violent and property crime rates of 11.92 and 50.56 per 1,000 residents, respectively.
Median Home Value: $174,195
Monthly Rent: $756
Median Household Income: $53,466
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Best Neighborhoods To Live In: Riverside, Crown Heights, Cortland, College Hill, Longview, Hilltop-Jefferson, Lambsdale, Sherwood Glen, and Rockhurst.
If you’ve decided to leave the city of Omaha, these five cities are your best bet. And the biggest advantage here is that you don’t have to worry about the most crucial factor which is the cost of living. All these cities have it below the country’s average. In addition, the job market is booming in whichever city you choose. Research more if required and till you’re convinced. All the best!
Apart from Omaha, you can look towards cities like Papillion, Lincoln, Columbus, Vista, Kearney, North Platte, Hastings, Norfolk, Bellevue, Fremont, and Grand Island.
The citizens who have left Nebraska in the last few years have gone to different states like Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Washington.
Both cities in Nebraska - Omaha and Lincoln, have the exact same cost of living index of 89.8. The housing prices in Lincoln are slightly lower than in Omaha and the former city also scores better in terms of safety.
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