Where are the best places in the state of Massachusetts?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Bay State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Massachusetts.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 39 places in Massachusetts, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Newton (Photos)
- Melrose (Photos)
- Woburn (Photos)
- Newburyport (Photos)
- Waltham (Photos)
- Beverly (Photos)
- Cambridge (Photos)
- Medford (Photos)
- Gloucester (Photos)
- Peabody (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Massachusetts.
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Boston with a population of 658,279 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 13,300
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 13,300
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 39 cities, 108 towns, and 19 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 13,300 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Massachusetts
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Massachusetts across a number of criteria from one to 39, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Massachusetts”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Massachusetts.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Newton at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Population: 88,317Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $788,500 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (2nd best)
Things can’t get much better than in the town of Newton. The crime is the 1st lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Newton make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.
The median home costs a cool $788,500 and households make $127,402 which is good for 1st in Massachusetts.
Population: 27,787Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $437,100 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (1st best)
Melrose broke into the top ten best places to live in Massachusetts on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.
It placed 1st overall for its low unemployment rate and the 2nd highest median income of any place in our analysis.
However, it only has the 32nd shortest average commute time of any place in Massachusetts.
Population: 39,220Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Values: $374,300 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (6th best)
Who doesn’t want to live inWoburn? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 5.4%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of Woburn in the news in the coming months.
Population: 17,837Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $461,900 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (11th best)
Let’s take a look at why Newburyport is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in Newburyport, and the residents here are gainfully employed (6.3% unemployment rate).
You can make Newburyport your home for only $461,900 which won’t be too hard on a $87,162 household salary.
Population: 62,699Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $434,500 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (5th best)
Waltham takes 5th place on our list of best places in Massachusetts for 2018 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (5th overall) and things to do.
Waltham is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years.And that tends to happen when home prices hit $434,500 at the median.
Population: 40,967Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Values: $378,100 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (10th best)
Beverly is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 6th best place in Massachusetts?
Homes are priced around $378,100 and residents have the 20th shortest commute in Massachusetts.
Population: 108,757Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Home Values: $629,700 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (6th best)
Well, I guess technically 5.4% of Cambridge residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 6th closest of any city in Massachusetts.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Cambridge also ranked well for crime (20th) and median income ($83,122).
Population: 57,180Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $421,200 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th best)
Medford has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Medford has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 5.5% and lowering. And the Medford police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 7th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Population: 29,546Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Values: $370,900 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (12th best)
Let’s take a look at why Gloucester is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in Gloucester, and the residents here are gainfully employed (6.6% unemployment rate).
You can make Gloucester your home for only $370,900 which won’t be too hard on a $63,917 household salary.
Population: 52,235Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Values: $345,500 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th best)
You might be surprised to see the Town of Peabody so high on the list. Unless you live in Peabody.
The unemployment rate here is really low, and at5.5%, Peabody residents are some of the hardest working in the state of Massachusetts. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Peabody is doing quite well.
Let’s be honest — Peabody is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In Massachusetts
If you’re looking at areas in Massachusetts with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Newton made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Massachusetts
- Forestdale (Pop. 4,888)
- Hanscom AFB (Pop. 1,943)
- Topsfield (Pop. 3,435)
- Dover (Pop. 2,453)
- The Pinehills (Pop. 1,275)
- Cordaville (Pop. 2,847)
- Nahant (Pop. 3,471)
- South Duxbury (Pop. 3,684)
- Duxbury (Pop. 1,498)
- West Falmouth (Pop. 2,021)
Best Small Towns To Live In Massachusetts
- Seabrook (Pop. 413)
- Seconsett Island (Pop. 21)
- Siasconset (Pop. 183)
- Popponesset Island (Pop. 10)
- Popponesset (Pop. 195)
- Mashpee Neck (Pop. 877)
- New Seabury (Pop. 900)
- Monomoscoy Island (Pop. 125)
- Madaket (Pop. 307)
- Edgartown (Pop. 649)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Massachusetts:
- Springfield (Pop. 153,991)
- North Adams (Pop. 13,326)
- Holyoke (Pop. 40,280)
For more Massachusetts reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Massachusetts
- These Are The 10 Worst Cities For Dating In Massachusetts
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Massachusetts
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Massachusetts