Holdrege Rated Second Most Livable Nebraska Community

Holdrege Rated Second Most Livable Nebraska Community Main Photo

14 Nov 2023

Holdrege is the second most livable community in Nebraska, according to the new AARP Livability Index.

The index examines factors that support people as they age, including housing, transportation, neighborhood elements, the environment, health status, and community engagement. These attributes and resources enhance personal independence, allowing people to age in place while fostering engagement in the community’s civic, economic and social life. 

“Every Nebraskan has unique needs as they age, so where they live and the services and amenities available to them matter,” said AARP Nebraska’s State Director Todd Stubbendieck. “We’re committed to working with local residents, advocates, and policymakers to make our communities better places to live for every life stage.”

Holdrege was second behind Lincoln as the most livable community rankings in Nebraska. Phelps County was ranked fourth as the most livable county.

“Holdrege’s ranking is pretty impressive considering the other cities included in the article,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “Second to Lincoln says a lot about Holdrege and our overall quality of life.”

Holdrege resident Don Kraus said he was thrilled to see that Holdrege was selected as one of Nebraska’s best places to live and retire.

“Holdrege is fortunate to have an excellent medical/hospital system, well maintained parks, a YMCA that provides exercise and pickleball opportunities and a great golf course,” Kraus said. “Holdrege should be proud of the recognition.”

Resident Sherry McClymont said living in Holdrege after retirement is easy because access to everything by car or foot is close without much traffic.

“And people look out for each other,” she said. “If you get caught walking in rain someone will usually stop to see if you want a lift.”

McClymont said Holdrege is lucky to have two beautiful parks, many churches, good schools and Central Community College, which offers classes for all ages.

She also praised the following other amenities:

  • “The YMCA is an amazing addition to our community, and many retirees participate in pickleball as well as swimming and walking in the winter.”
  • “An excellent performing arts facility, The Tassel, which brings a variety of musical and performance shows almost year round.”
  • “A beautiful golf course that is busy all warm and almost warm months!
  • A new business, The Drive, which is open evenings and has two video driving ranges where one can work on their swing all winter and meet friends for a relaxing conversation.”  
  • “The bowling alley is busy with leagues and dining.”
  • The Holdrege Sun Theater & Event Venue “has been remodeled and is beautiful and comfortable and can also host meetings of all sizes.”
  • “Holdrege's medical facilities are top-notch and retirees, especially, feel appreciation for access to some of the best healthcare available right here in our hometown. We are thankful for all of this and more.”

The livability index measures seven categories: housing affordability and access, neighborhood proximity and security, transportation safety and convenience, clean air and water, health prevention access and quality, engagement in social and civic areas, and opportunity.

Holdrege’s overall score was 60 out of 100, and it scored highest in the areas of engagement and opportunity.

In addition to being livable for the senior population, Tillery said the quality of life in Holdrege is one of the reasons why younger families are also choosing to live and work in Holdrege.

“Some are importing paychecks from larger cities because they love the small-town vibe,” Tillery said. “It’s a feeling of connectedness and belonging that you just don’t get in a big city.”

In the state rankings, Lincoln and Holdrege were followed by Blair (3), Seward (4), Sidney (5), La Vista (6), Chadron (7), Gretna (8), South Sioux City (9), and Norfolk (10). The top spot for counties was secured by Lancaster (1), followed by Madison (2), Howard (3) and Phelps (4).

The AARP Livability Index™ platform is the most comprehensive, web-based tool of its kind that scores every neighborhood and community in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most as they age. The platform scores livability by using more than 50 national data sources to measure each community against 61 indicators of livability. For more information, visit aarp.org/livabilityindex.