With a thriving economy, strong agricultural roots and an unparalleled quality of life, Nebraska has been ranked the fourth best state in the U.S., according to the latest edition of the Best States rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings are based on over 70 metrics across eight categories, such as economy, infrastructure and opportunity, and have been measuring how all 50 states serve their residents since its inception in 2017.
Nebraska’s top five showing is a testament to the state’s commitment to creating an environment where its businesses and people thrive.
Among the metrics U.S. News & World Report scores, Nebraska ranked high in economy, education, fiscal stability, infrastructure and opportunity.
#10 in Economy
Nebraska’s strong economy is partly driven by its low unemployment and strong labor participation rate. In fact, Nebraska ranks #1 in the country for labor force participation. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession, Nebraska’s economy outperformed that of many other states and the nation as a whole. Despite the severe effects of the pandemic, Nebraska’s economic conditions have remained more stable throughout the crisis in a pattern resembling other recent recessions.
The Cornhusker State counts corn production as a leading crop, and its “Golden Triangle” of corn, livestock and ethanol production drives its economy.
The manufacturing industry is Nebraska’s fastest-growing industry and one of the state’s largest economic drivers. Nebraska’s highly productive workforce, affordable real estate and utility costs, low cost of doing business and high-quality transportation networks make the state a natural fit for continued manufacturing growth.
#5 in Infrastructure
Nebraska ranks #1 for power grid reliability and fifth in electricity price, helping the state to a #5 ranking among all states in infrastructure. Nebraska’s use of renewable power also helped contribute to its strong showing in this category.
Nebraska is a centrally located transportation hub for the nation. The coasts are reachable within two days by truck or train. It is home to some of the densest railway and cargo routes. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports the highway system is maintained well.
With no inventory tax, Nebraska promotes a strong warehousing and logistics sector, with 11,500 trucking companies and two in the top 10 nationally, according to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
#7 in Education
A robust education system at both the K-12 and higher education levels means students receive a quality education. The state’s colleges and universities, including the University of Nebraska, offer top-notch academic programs and research opportunities.
#11 in Fiscal Stability
Because of its relatively lower long-term liabilities and pension obligations, plus healthy tax receipts and a large cash reserve, count on Nebraska for both long- and short-term fiscal stability.
#16 in Opportunity
“The good life” is more than the state’s unofficial motto. Nebraska is known for its high quality of life, with affordable housing, excellent neighborhoods, low crime rates, and a healthy environment. The state’s healthcare system is also top-rated, providing access to quality medical care to all its residents.
For more information about Nebraska’s rankings in the Best States report, visit U.S. News & World Report’s website.