I say it all the time: Nebraska is the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family. It’s not just a slogan—it’s my sincere conviction. And there’s plenty of evidence to back up my belief. From great-paying jobs to a family-friendly culture, a wide variety of measures help make the case that Nebraska is simply the best.
The Best Place to Live
Nebraska is a place where neighbors look after one another, and take pride in their communities. After the blizzards and floods in March, and again during last week’s flooding in Central Nebraska, the people of our state rallied to help one another recover. They donated hay, stacked sandbags, volunteered with the Red Cross and United Way, and so much more. It should come as no surprise that the Corporation for National and Community Service ranks our state as having the sixth-highest rate of volunteerism.
Nebraska is also a great retirement destination. I know common wisdom points to Arizona or Florida. However, last week Bankrate named Nebraska as the top place to retire in the nation. Bankrate’s ranking considered such factors as wellness, culture, and crime rates.
Nebraskans spend very little of our lives stuck in traffic, too. Last month, US News and World Report (US News) reported that Nebraskans enjoy the fifth-fastest commute times in America. Unsurprisingly, US News rates the quality of our roads as sixth-best in the country.
The Best Place to Work
Not only is Nebraska livable, it has a vibrant economy and an abundance of rewarding jobs. Nebraska three-peated as Governor’s Cup champion this year for having the most economic development projects per capita of any state. In February, CNBC ranked Nebraska #4 on its list of “best states to find a job in 2019.” And in last week’s CNBC report of the “Best States for Business,” Nebraska moved up the charts, jumping six spots overall. Nebraska performed especially well in the “Economy” category, soaring from #37 in 2018 to #9 this year! With a great economy, lots of jobs, and short commutes, Nebraska is the best place to work.
This pro-growth reputation has helped us build the “Silicon Prairie.” Fast-growing, Nebraska-born companies like Sojern and Hudl have demonstrated that our state has a great climate for tech startups. Meanwhile, America’s established tech titans are making their way to Nebraska. In February, Google unveiled plans to build a data center in Nebraska. And just last month, Facebook and Amazon both opened their first physical locations in Nebraska. Furthermore, in June, Compute North announced its decision to build a multimillion-dollar data center at Kearney’s tech park.
Nebraska is also experiencing a bioscience boom. Last Wednesday, Veramaris opened a $200 million facility in Blair to produce animal feed that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The company’s innovative process mixes dextrose from Nebraska-grown corn with fermented natural marine algae to make nutritional feed for aquaculture (fish farming). The Dutch company’s grand opening comes two years after Novozymes, a global biotechnology firm from Denmark, built a $36 million expansion in Blair. And less than a year ago, Columbus also welcomed a major bioscience commercial plant, when Prairie Catalytic began operations. Its factory manufactures ethyl acetate from ethanol produced with Nebraska corn.
All of these investments are bringing desirable, high-paying science and technology jobs to our state. And they represent a broader trend of economic growth occurring everywhere from Scottsbluff to Sarpy County.
The Best Place to Raise a Family
Many Nebraskans who travel out-of-state to start their careers end up moving back when they have kids. Why? Because they remember what lifelong Nebraskans already know: That the Cornhusker State is the perfect place to raise a family. It’s safe, affordable, and offers outstanding outdoor recreation and family fun.
Again, research supports Nebraska’s family-friendliness. For instance, Nebraska leads the nation in high school graduation rates. US News ranks Nebraska sixth in the nation for overall affordability, and in the top five for housing affordability. WalletHub has Nebraska on its list of the top ten Best States for Families. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which annually measures child well-being in America, ranks Nebraska #5 for children’s economic well-being.
In terms of family fun, the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is among the best in the world—let alone the United States. Nebraska also regularly hosts family-friendly sporting events such as the College World Series in June and Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell in July. Each fall, fans of Nebraska Cornhusker football can take their kids to Husker Pavilion outside of Memorial Stadium for game day fun. Families can also go to Lincoln to be part of the record-setting crowds that cheer on the University’s volleyball team. In 2020, the Olympic Swim Trials and the NCAA basketball tournament will be in Nebraska, giving families even more access to sporting activities.
These are just a few of the reasons why Nebraska is the best place to live, work, and raise a family—and now you have the data to prove it! If you want to share why you believe our state is great, I hope you will write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-471-2244. Let’s spread the news that Nebraska is simply the best place in the world.
Pete Ricketts is the governor of Nebraska.