Best Boston Suburbs To Live For 2020


We analyzed over 24 places around Boston to identify the most in demand places to live.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best Boston suburbs.

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Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.

But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Boston are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...

What's the best suburb of Boston? Melrose ranks as the best suburb of Boston for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Melrose, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Boston 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Or feel free to check out some more reading about Massachusetts:

The 10 Best Boston Suburbs To Live For 2020

Melrose, MA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 28,116
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $103,743
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 4.1%
More on Melrose: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Melrose is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Boston area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Melrose."

Everyone here is rich; families average $103,743 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Boston region. And only 2.77% are out of work. Homes average more than $508,700 each.

Newton, MA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 88,660
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Income: $139,696
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 4.3%
More on Newton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newton is the second best 'burb we looked at near Boston for 2020.

It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 1.53% of residents lack insurance, good for 2nd best.

Cambridge, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 115,665
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $95,404
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 13.2%
More on Cambridge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Cambridge, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Boston metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Cambridge.

Somerville, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 80,434
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $91,168
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 11.9%
More on Somerville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Somerville ranks as the 4th best suburb of Boston for 2020.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Somerville and the schools are some of the best around.

Woburn, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 40,298
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $88,745
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 5.8%
More on Woburn: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Woburn.

Woburn gets kudos for having the 7th most expensive homes in the Boston area, where houses sell for an average of $421,200. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Medford, MA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 57,771
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $92,363
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Poverty Rate: 9.2%
More on Medford: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Medford is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 3.34% which is 3rd best in the area.

According to online reports, Medford is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Boston area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Review Of Medford by HomeSnacks User

Schools s***s. Sirens keep me up all night. I wanna die.

The new target is cool. The people who work there s**k though.

Beverly, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 41,731
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $79,483
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 8.2%
More on Beverly: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Beverly.

Beverly schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it's only 18.0 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Waltham, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 62,979
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $85,677
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Poverty Rate: 10.9%
More on Waltham: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waltham is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 3.25% of people lack insurance, good for 11th in the area.

Review Of Waltham by HomeSnacks User

Close to everything, new high school being built

Location, ease of commute, excellent restaurants, very diverse, close to everything.

Peabody, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 52,865
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $68,387
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Poverty Rate: 10.0%
More on Peabody: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Peabody?'

Almost.

It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Quincy, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 94,121
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $74,180
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Poverty Rate: 10.8%
More on Quincy: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is Quincy.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Boston for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs around Boston was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2014-2018 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Boston.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 4,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 24 suburbs to evaluate around Boston.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 24 in each category, where 1 was the "best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Boston." We're lookin' at you, Melrose. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Welcome to the Best Boston 'Burbs of 2020

We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Boston, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Boston Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Melrose, MA 28,116 $103,743
2 Newton, MA 88,660 $139,696
3 Cambridge, MA 115,665 $95,404
4 Somerville, MA 80,434 $91,168
5 Woburn, MA 40,298 $88,745
6 Medford, MA 57,771 $92,363
7 Beverly, MA 41,731 $79,483
8 Waltham, MA 62,979 $85,677
9 Peabody, MA 52,865 $68,387
10 Quincy, MA 94,121 $74,180
11 Salem, MA 43,302 $65,565
12 Watertown, MA 4,372 $82,130
13 Marlborough, MA 39,776 $79,228
14 Malden, MA 61,094 $64,178
15 Gloucester, MA 30,049 $65,377
16 Everett, MA 45,856 $60,482
17 Revere, MA 53,966 $55,020
18 Taunton, MA 56,963 $62,185
19 Chelsea, MA 39,852 $53,280
20 Lynn, MA 93,617 $54,598
21 Southfield, MA 73,392 $54,428
22 Brockton, MA 95,426 $55,140
23 Lowell, MA 111,249 $51,987
24 Lawrence, MA 79,841 $41,583

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.