What's it like to live in Lincoln, NE?

Profile written by local expert:

Matt Olberding

Lincoln is synonymous with college football, as Memorial Stadium becomes the state’s third-largest city on Saturdays in the fall, hosting more than 85,000 fans. But as the capital of Nebraska and its second-largest city, Lincoln offers so much more to residents than Huskers football. 

Although students flock to Lincoln to attend the University of Nebraska--Lincoln or one of the area’s smaller colleges, many stay to take advantage of the low cost of living and thriving economy. The unemployment rate in this city of about 300,000 is low, and as part of the “Silicon Prairie,” Lincoln is home to some of the state’s biggest and most successful tech companies, including Hudl and Spreetail.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Lincoln, Nebraska is ranked:

#33 in Best Places to Live

#74 in Best Places to Retire

#20 in Cheapest Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Lincoln, NE Quick Stats

  • 327,221

    Metro Population

  • $46,800

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 33.5

    Median Age

  • $184,542

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 2.8%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $819

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 19.3 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Lincoln, NE?

Lincoln offers a range of activities, including a thriving craft beer scene, art museums and live music venues. 

Major music acts regularly come to Pinnacle Bank Arena, while up-and-coming bands and nostalgia acts perform at Pinewood Bowl Theater, an outdoor venue in Pioneers Park. The Lied Center for Performing Arts on the UNL campus plays host to Broadway shows and classical music performers.

Residents interested in outdoor pursuits can use the city’s trail network that stretches for more than 130 miles or visit one of the 130-plus parks, including Antelope Park and Wilderness Park. The city also has worked hard to keep its downtown vibrant as an entertainment district.

What's the cost of living in Lincoln, NE?

While property, income and other taxes are fairly high, other costs of living, such as housing and utilities, are below the national average, making Lincoln an affordable place to live.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.8 /10

How we calculate this.

Lincoln offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Lincoln, NE.

What's the weather like in Lincoln, NE?

If you enjoy all four seasons, you’ll enjoy Lincoln. Summers can be hot, with severe thunderstorms common, while winters can be quite cold. Spring and fall are usually mild, although hot and cold spells are common. Since Lincoln is not close to mountains or a large body of water, large swings in the weather are not uncommon during any season.

What's the best way to get around Lincoln, NE?

Lincoln’s fairly strict growth policies limit suburban sprawl, keeping commute times below the national average. Although most people commute by car, many ride StarTran, the city bus system, and the number of people commuting by bicycle has increased in recent years. 

Lincoln has a small airport with direct Delta Air Lines and United Airlines flights to a handful of cities. And Interstate 80, which bisects the state, connects Lincoln to Omaha and beyond.

Commuting in Lincoln, NE

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

19.3 minutes

7.3 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Lincoln, NE?

Although Lincoln has a large student population, it is not a true college town. Families make up a significant part of the community, and Lincoln Public Schools serves more than 42,000 students. Lincoln is also home to thousands of immigrants, thanks to its status as a top refugee resettlement city.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Lincoln as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.