Pros and Cons of Living in Omaha

Ryan Renner - Omaha Real Estate Agent
By: Ryan Renner, Realtor

I have helped many families moving to Omaha. Contact me if you have any questions about the Omaha area or need help buying a home.

If you are moving to a new city, you should know everything. The pros and the cons. I’ve compiled a long list so you can decide if Omaha is right for you.

Gene Leahy Mall - Omaha, Nebraska

Key Takeaways

  • Omaha offers a lower cost of living than many other major U.S. cities.
  • The job market is strong and diverse, with opportunities in healthcare, finance, technology, and more.
  • It’s an easy place to live in. And you can probably afford to buy a home.
  • High taxes.
  • The weather isn’t great. It’s not terrible, but it’s not San Diego.
  • We are landlocked and that is a deal breaker for some.

Here are some reasons why Omaha is a fantastic place to live.

Affordable Cost of Living

Omaha’s affordable cost of living is one the cities biggest selling points.

Depending on where you pull the data from, the overall cost of living in Omaha is about 10% lower than the national average.

According to, Omaha’s cost of living is 9.2 percent lower than the U.S. average and 3.4 percent lower than Nebraska average.

If you are moving from New York, you’ll see a 50% reduction in living expenses. Obviously, that’s an extreme example so check out some comparison calculators to get true number.

Other expenses, such as groceries and utilities, are also relatively affordable.

If you decide you want to send your child to a private school, you’ll save too. Nebraska ranks 10th in lowest average cost of private tuition.

Omaha Evening Traffic

Transportation costs are the one area where costs are above the national average. That’s because Omaha is a car city. Public transportation exists but it’s lacking. And if you plan on living in Omaha, you really need a car.

Overall, your dollar tends to stretch more here making it an attractive place to live.

Strong Job Market

Not only does Omaha have a low cost of living, but it also has a great local economy.

Omaha’s unemployment rate is consistently lower than the national average, sitting at around 2.3% as of September 2023.

Omaha's Unemployment Rate Versus The National Average

And Omaha’s economy is resilient because it’s not dependent on just one industry. Some of the major industries in the area include healthcare, finance, insurance, and technology.

The city is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific, and Mutual of Omaha.

This means there are ample job opportunities available in the area.

A low cost of living and a strong job market make the area very stable economically.

When it comes to technology, Omaha may not be as prominent as Silicon Valley, but the city has a thriving startup scene, with several successful companies, including Flywheel, Hudl, and BuilderTrend.

Additionally, the University of Nebraska – Omaha has a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, providing resources and support for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Top Employers in Omaha
Company NameNumber of EmployeesIndustry
Offutt Air Force Base5,000 and overPublic Administration
Nebraska Medicine5,000 and overHealth Care and Social Assistance
CHI5,000 and overHealth Care and Social Assistance
Methodist Health System5,000 and overHealth Care and Social Assistance
First National Bank2,500 to 4,999Finance and Insurance
Mutual of Omaha2,500 to 4,999Finance and Insurance
Fiserv2,500 to 4,999Information
Union Pacific Railroad2,500 to 4,999Transportation and Warehousing
Children’s Nebraska2,500 to 4,999Health Care and Social Assistance
Charles Schwab1,000 to 2,499Finance and Insurance
Data from Greater Omaha Chamber

Wages in Omaha are behind national averages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the Omaha area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $27.89 in May 2022. That is 6 percent below the nationwide average of $29.76.

Overall, Omaha offers a favorable job market for those looking for work or considering a career change. With its diverse economy and low unemployment rate, the city provides ample opportunities for employment and career growth.

Amazing Attractions

Omaha offers an eclectic mix of things to do that cater to a wide range of interests

Desert Dome at Henry Doorly Zoo

Arguably, the biggest and best attraction in Omaha. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is frequently ranked as the top one or two zoos in the United States and the world.

Omaha has invested a ton of money downtown in the past few years. It renovated the Gene Leahy Mall, built a music venue, and opened a new science museum. And a few years, we will have a new world-class library.

You won’t be bored in Omaha. There are a lot of things to do for kids and adults.

It’s not all sunshine and roses. Here are some of the downsides of living in Omaha.


According to Roofstock, Omaha has the 6th highest property tax rate of big cities in the U.S. According to their data, the median taxes paid on a property is $3,283. The effective property tax rate is around 1.71%

And if that’s not enough, according to WalletHub, the State of Nebraska has the 4th highest tax burden. We have state income tax and sales tax.

Everyone likes to say we have high taxes because we have great schools. Or we have high taxes because we are huge state with a small population. Either way, we have a high tax burden.

Public Transportation

ORBT Omaha Bus System

If you move to Omaha, you will need a car. Public transportation exists but it isn’t great.

There has been a renewed push to build a streetcar to connect downtown Omaha and midtown.

Even with a streetcar, cars will still rule Omaha.

Ryan Renner - Omaha Real Estate Agent

Moving to a new city can be stressful!​

Let me help. I specialize in helping people relocate to Omaha.

Omaha Crime Rates

The good news is Omaha is generally considered a safe place to live.

But, if look at raw numbers, Omaha has a higher crime rate than the national average.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Omaha’s violent crime and property crime rate was higher than the national average in 2020.

Neighborhood Scout also analyzed Omaha’s crime data. If you compare Omaha to other cities, regardless of size, Omaha has a high crime rate.


When NeighborhoodScout compared Omaha with other communities its size, we found that the crime rate was near the average for all other communities of similar size. rated Omaha a “C” when it comes to “Crime & Safety.” The site noted Omaha’s violent and property crime rates.

If you are interested in a more in-depth look at crime, please take a look at a page dedicated to the topic: Is Omaha Safe?

Professional Sports Teams

We don’t have any.

Omaha does have sports. A lot of them! Including the College World Series, but no professional sports (I’m excluding the minor league baseball and soccer teams).

Omaha has two D1 colleges – Creighton and University of Nebraska – Omaha (UNO). Creighton’s men’s basketball program is very popular. If you like hockey, check out UNO.

UNO Hockey

Neither has a football program. If you want that, you’ll have to travel about an hour to Lincoln to watch the Cornhuskers.

Mountains and Oceans

Omaha is landlocked. There is no ocean, and we don’t have any breathtaking mountain ranges.

For those who are accustomed to the therapeutic presence of the ocean or the adventurous allure of the mountains, might find Omaha lacking.

There are no weekend getaways to the beach, although weekend trips to the mountains in Colorado are more common (it’s about an 8-hour drive).

Lake Okoboji (3 hours away) and Lake of the Ozarks (5 hours away) are also popular destinations for locals.

We do have outdoor activities, but it may leave a little to be desired.

Zorinsky Lake
Zorinsky Lake

Land in Nebraska (and Iowa) is used for housing and farming. Not a lot is set aside for recreation. We don’t have a ton of great hiking or biking trails. We don’t have any amazing national parks.

Being located in the heart of the Midwest has its advantages. One of the most significant benefits of Omaha’s location is its proximity to other major cities. For example, Omaha is just a few hours’ drive from Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, and Chicago.

Omaha’s central location makes it easy to fly to different parts of the country. Eppley Airfield is a hidden gem of the city. It is really easy to get through and has a lot of direct flights.


Omaha experiences all four seasons. It has hot summers and cold winters.

This can be a pro or a con, depending on what you are looking for.

I’ve never heard anyone say the weather in Omaha is amazing.

Do we have amazing days? Yes.

Snow in Downtown Omaha

There is a famous Mark Twain quote you can apply to Omaha. “If you don’t like the weather in Omaha, wait a few minutes.”

You can have wild swings in the weather. Beautiful one day, and freezing the next. Clear skies in the morning and a nasty thunderstorm in the afternoon.

Omaha can get really hot and humid in the summer. And bitterly cold in the winter.

We also have tornadoes (although it is rare for a tornado to touch down in Omaha).

Omaha is no San Diego (although we have a zoo that’s just as good).


Omaha does have a risk of tornadoes .

If you are new to the Midwest, tornadoes might freak you out.

Historically, tornadoes have been frequent in Nebraska, but things have quieted down over the past few years.

The last time Omaha had widespread damage from a tornado was 1975.

Ultimately, tornadoes rarely happen inside of the city.


In Nebraska, marijuana is illegal – even for medical use.

In 2020, enough signatures were gathered to put the legalization of medical marijuana on the ballot. But, the Nebraska Supreme Court blocked the ballot initiative saying it didn’t stick to one subject.

If you are looking for a state friendly to recreational or even medical use of marijuana, look somewhere else.