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Lincoln, NE
MSA: Lincoln, NE
Best places ranking: #10 among midsize metro areas
Population: 295,486
Got the recession woes? Consider moving to Nebraska, which recently named the happiest state in the union because of its financial stability.

Lincoln is a typical Midwestern community: It has a large manufacturing industry, and local business owners and officials attribute much of their success to the educated workforce and Midwestern work ethic.

In recent years, Lincoln has a resurgence of young business owners. Entrepreneurship is promoted locally by the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska, which fosters local technology businesses and recruits young talent to Lincoln. The city's small business owners form a tight-knit community that provides support for established and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Recently, the city has answered demands for increased recreational opportunities in Lincoln by developing hiking trails, parks, golf courses and tennis courts.

Still, even the happiest state is not without its drawbacks. Nebraska is a high-tax state, because it serves a large area with limited resources. Lincoln business owners say they wish the city had a bigger airport -- although Omaha's is reachable with a 60-mile drive. -Christina Crapanzano

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Lincoln, NE


Local smallbiz lenders

  • First National Of Nebraska In
  • Wells Fargo & Company
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wilber Co.
  • Farmers & Merchants Investment
See all local lenders

Lincoln Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
7,821 11,214
Small business growth rate
3.8% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
42 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
38.1% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
474.8 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
4,411.6 3,562.2
Population growth
6.1% 5.73%
Per-capita income
$35,254 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
17.3% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
$12,545 $18,559
GDP growth
29% 32%
Average hourly wage
$17.82 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
3,625 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$692 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.5% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.5% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-1% 0.0%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"I've met a lot of people who left Lincoln for New York or Seattle, and they come back. They like the culture here." -John Wirtz
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Lincoln?
Find your launch spot
Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's