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


Angela Berry

Profile written by local expert:

Angela Berry

Omaha has long been a place of convergence. In the mid-1800s, it served as the easternmost point of the first transcontinental railroad. Today, its location at the heart of the country has earned Omaha a reputation as a flyover city. But those who live in Omaha know there's more to this metro area than most outsiders realize.

It's a region that celebrates and treasures the past, while also warmly embracing change and growth. The metro area that once brought you TV dinners and Reuben sandwiches now houses fancy seafood restaurants and hip vegan options (though you'll never have trouble finding a hearty steak). And while ranchers continue to raise cattle on the sprawling prairies surrounding the region, Omaha proper has begun to attract a number of budding new tech startups.

Affordability and a strong economy attract young professionals, while safety, a plethora of education options and family-friendly activities are appealing to those with kids.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 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.

Omaha, Nebraska is ranked:

#28 in Best Places to Live

#83 in Best Places to Retire

6.8

Overall

Scorecard

  • Desirability
    5.5
  • Value
    7.9
  • Job Market
    7.0
  • Quality of Life
    6.6
  • Net Migration
    6.2

Read how we rank places

Omaha, NE Quick Stats

  • 904,834

    Metro Population

  • $46,490

    Average Annual Salary

  • 61.8° / 40.2°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 35.2

    Median Age

  • $165,667

    Median Home Price

  • 30.6 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.0%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $833

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 20.2 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

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

The cost of living in Omaha is lower than the national average. Renters can expect to pay around $100 per month less than what the average American pays, while the median home sale price is slightly lower than in other places around the country. However, Nebraska is one of the most expensive states to own a car in because those with their own wheels face steep taxes and fees. 

Value Index

Index Score: 7.9 /10

How we calculate this.


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

Housing Costs this Year


Omaha
$165,667

USA
$222,408

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.

What's the weather like in Omaha, NE?

Omaha experiences all four seasons. The warmer months have high levels of humidity that usher in the risk of tornadoes. Winter wind often makes temperatures feel colder, and snow can bring school and road closures. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

25.9°F


Winter

51.2°F


Spring

74.5°F


Summer

52.6°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

1.0 in


Winter

4.8 in


Spring

4.2 in


Summer

2.7 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

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

Omaha residents, especially those who live outside the city limits, are very car-dependent. While traffic becomes congested during normal rush hours, roads are almost never at a standstill and some traffic is avoidable with small route changes.

The Metro transit system provides bus service within downtown Omaha and to some nearby areas, but coverage is confined to a limited radius. The region has made recent advances to create a stronger bus system with more direct routes and expanded access. For those who live in central neighborhoods near downtown, biking and walking are increasingly popular options. The B-cycle public bike-share system allows residents to rent a bike at one station and return it at another.

Omaha's Eppley Airfield is serviced by several national airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The region is also accessible via Amtrak trains and several charter bus companies.

Commuting in Omaha, NE

Means of Transportation
Driving
93%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
2%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
1%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

20.2 minutes

5.9 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 Omaha, NE?

Multiple universities and a strong job market attract students and young professionals to Omaha. Perhaps most characteristic of the region is its reputation as a great place to raise a family. As you drive into the state of Nebraska, you're welcomed into what the state calls "the good life," where Midwestern values of neighborliness and friendliness are held in high esteem.

Families account for a large part of the metro area's population, with more than a quarter of those households including children younger than 18. Omaha's community feels fairly young, thanks in part to the large number of college students who live in the region. The median age of Omaha's population is 35.

Half the metro area's population identifies as religious, with a large portion of those who do affiliating with the Catholic Church.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


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

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

What is there to do in Omaha, NE?

Omaha is home to an impressive arts and culture scene, with museums like the Joslyn Art Museum and performing arts venues like the Holland Performing Arts Center offering entertainment year-round.

Summertime brings a number of historic and ethnic festivals to celebrate Omaha's Native Americans, German influences and railroad heritage, as well as several arts festivals and outdoor concerts.

Omaha also appeals to sports fans. The NCAA Men's Baseball College World Series is held in the region each June, while the Aksarben Stock Show & Rodeo provides a taste of Omaha's Wild West heritage. The University of Nebraska's football team, the Cornhuskers, also draws big crowds.

Meanwhile, families enjoy trips to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Lauritzen Gardens and the region's public parks.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Omaha, NE