These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2018


We used science and data to determine which Bay State cities are the real gems.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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:

  1. Newton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Melrose (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Woburn (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Newburyport (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Waltham (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Beverly (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Cambridge (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Medford (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Gloucester (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Peabody (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Well, it looks like you should check out Newton if you’re thinking of moving to Massachusetts — it’s the best the Bay State has to offer according to the data.

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Massachusetts.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Mapping The Best And Worst 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 13,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 13,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 39 cities, 107 towns, and 14 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 13,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

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.

Newton, MA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 88,317
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $788,500 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (2nd best)
More on Newton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you live in Newton, you probably know how great it is already.

Newton has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($127,402). And the crime is really, really low (1st lowest in Massachusetts).

If we could afford to move here, we probably would.

Melrose, MA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 27,787
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $437,100 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (1st best)
More on Melrose: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Melrose isn’t just the nicest place to live in Massachusetts – it’s also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It’s got the 1st lowest unemployment rate, the 2nd highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you’re looking at science and data, Melrose definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2018.

Woburn, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 39,220
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $374,300 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (6th best)
More on Woburn: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Things can’t get much better than in the town of Woburn. The crime is the 8th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Woburn make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.

The median home costs a cool $374,300 and households make $83,872 which is good for 4th in Massachusetts.

Newburyport, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 17,837
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $461,900 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (11th best)
More on Newburyport: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newburyport takes 4th place on our list of best places in Massachusetts for 2018 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (11th overall) and things to do.

Newburyport 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 $461,900 at the median.

Waltham, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 62,699
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $434,500 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (5th best)
More on Waltham: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waltham comes in at a close 5th. They have the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 6th highest median income as well, which means the people in Waltham are working and getting paid well.

Additionally, the median home value is the 6th best in the state.

Beverly, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 40,967
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $378,100 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (10th best)
More on Beverly: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Taking its place as the 6th best place in Massachusetts is Beverly. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of Massachusetts.

It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.

An unemployment rate of only 5.7% helps thing too.

Cambridge, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 108,757
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $629,700 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (6th best)
More on Cambridge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Say what you want about expensive houses. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Cambridge.

The median home costs a cool $629,700 and households make $83,122 which is good for 5th in Massachusetts.

Add that all up and Cambridge places 7th in our ranking of the best places to live in Massachusetts for 2018.

Medford, MA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 57,180
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $421,200 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th best)
More on Medford: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where there’s low crime and everyone is rich? That’s the case with Medford.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 8th lowest in Massachusetts and the median income comes in at $79,607.

This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Gloucester, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 29,546
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $370,900 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (12th best)
More on Gloucester: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you want to live in Massachusetts, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Gloucester area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.

Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $63,917 median income will do that).

Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Gloucester as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Gloucester.

Peabody, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 52,235
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $345,500 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th best)
More on Peabody: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Peabody.

Peabody ranked impressively high for its crime rate (12th overall) and its short commute times (18th).

We think that’s worth the price of admission.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living 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

  1. Forestdale (Pop. 4,888)
  2. Topsfield (Pop. 3,435)
  3. Dover (Pop. 2,453)
  4. The Pinehills (Pop. 1,275)
  5. Nahant (Pop. 3,471)
  6. Cordaville (Pop. 2,847)
  7. South Duxbury (Pop. 3,684)
  8. Duxbury (Pop. 1,498)
  9. West Falmouth (Pop. 2,021)
  10. Essex (Pop. 1,476)

Best Small Towns To Live In Massachusetts

  1. Seabrook (Pop. 413)
  2. Siasconset (Pop. 183)
  3. Madaket (Pop. 307)
  4. New Seabury (Pop. 900)
  5. Mashpee Neck (Pop. 877)
  6. Edgartown (Pop. 649)
  7. Petersham (Pop. 220)
  8. Cheshire (Pop. 647)
  9. Blandford (Pop. 352)
  10. Brookfield (Pop. 675)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Massachusetts according to the data:

  1. Holyoke (Pop. 40,280)
  2. North Adams (Pop. 13,326)
  3. Springfield (Pop. 153,991)

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Massachusetts

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Newton 88,317 4.4% $788,500
2 Melrose 27,787 4.3% $437,100
3 Woburn 39,220 5.4% $374,300
4 Newburyport 17,837 6.3% $461,900
5 Waltham 62,699 5.3% $434,500
6 Beverly 40,967 5.7% $378,100
7 Cambridge 108,757 5.4% $629,700
8 Medford 57,180 5.5% $421,200
9 Gloucester 29,546 6.6% $370,900
10 Peabody 52,235 5.5% $345,500
11 Somerville 79,507 5.1% $512,500
12 Marlborough 39,545 4.6% $316,500
13 Westfield 41,486 8.1% $222,200
14 Northampton 28,534 6.6% $313,200
15 Quincy 93,349 6.8% $366,500
16 Attleboro 44,121 7.5% $271,000
17 Salem 42,804 6.7% $317,400
18 Malden 60,732 7.6% $339,000
19 Haverhill 62,340 7.5% $264,500
20 Taunton 56,504 7.4% $236,700
21 Boston 658,279 8.0% $423,200
22 Everett 44,636 7.2% $337,800
23 Leominster 41,304 6.7% $227,200
24 Chicopee 56,100 8.4% $173,800
25 Revere 53,165 8.1% $320,400
26 Lowell 109,871 9.6% $234,100
27 Pittsfield 43,632 9.9% $170,900
28 Lynn 92,074 7.8% $263,700
29 Gardner 20,334 7.4% $173,200
30 Worcester 183,677 8.8% $206,500
31 Chelsea 38,244 7.5% $280,900
32 Lawrence 79,337 13.8% $229,500
33 Fitchburg 40,441 10.7% $180,200
34 Brockton 94,813 10.7% $226,800
35 Fall River 88,902 12.3% $227,900
36 New Bedford 94,988 10.3% $204,100
37 Holyoke 40,280 10.7% $188,600
38 North Adams 13,326 11.1% $149,400
39 Springfield 153,991 12.4% $146,400

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6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2018

    1. I had the same question & wondered why the Cape & Islands were left out? I’d be very happy in Wellfleet, North Truro or Provincetown. I assume the “Cape” is not so depressed because they have the tourist trade?…ditto for the islands.

  1. This study really should be titled, “These are the best places for rich people to live in Massachusetts.

    I’d like to see a similar study that examines cities with a median income is close to the state’s median. Then you would see where the best schools money can’t buy are. Where can people get the median-priced home for for the median income.

    For Wellesley you say, “In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work. That’s actually not a bad idea”. Truth be told, those butler and landscaping jobs wouldn’t provide enough money to afford that median $994K house cost – or one within a standard deviation or two lower. These butlers and landscapers would most often live outside of the 495 loop in place like Lowell, for example.

  2. Merrimac is way better than Cambridge (not that I have a problem with Cambridge.) Andover is way better than Brookline or Reading (not that they’re bad at all.) Groveland should be in the top 10, or at least close to it.

  3. First of all, that is not a picture of Sharon, not sure what town that is. Secondly, who has butlers anymore? Yes, cleaning ladies, nanny’s and professional landscapers, but I think that’s it, lol. I just thought I’d give my 2 cents about Sharon since I live nearby and am very familiar with the town and the people living in it. Sharon is conveniently located between Boston and Providence. Sharon is a bedroom community right next door to Foxborough, with high taxes and homes that cost more than the same exact thing in neighboring towns. There is no major benefactor or industry so the high taxes are what keeps the town up to its standards. If you have children, it might seem like a desirable choice. However things are not as they seem. The schools are touted as “excellent” but the truth is the data is based on test scores. The average text scores are high because the parents send their kids off to Kumon right after school. You can see a school bus after school every day in the Shaws Plaza off exit 8 on 95 with kids getting off and entering the testing center https://www.kumon.com/sharon/ Smoke and mirrors. The teachers are not better than any of the neighboring towns and neither are the facilities. The parents have more money, so generally speaking you will have children of more educated people in the schools, so yes, you will have smarter children, or children of parents who value education more compared to a middle/working class town. But when you hear about the “great schools” it’s the test scores that you are really looking at. I have heard from people who work in education that the students in Sharon are under so much stress due to pressure to do well that they break down often. One good thing to note, Sharon is known for having a great program for children with learning disabilities. Highly educated families with disabled children, autism, preemies, etc find that very enticing and are moving there in droves. Sharon is an upper middle class town, so you will deal with some degree of snobbery as well (similar to Swampscott, Concord, Winchester, Weston or Wellesley). A few years back, a friend who just moved to Sharon and had a small child was not happy with the women in the local moms club and asked to be in the neighboring towns moms club. The data says that the town is diverse, but it really isn’t. The town was once a vacation community a long time ago because of beautiful Lake Massapoag. In the 1960’s and 70’s, many Jewish people moved to Sharon due to blockbusting and the busing crisis in Boston. At the time, it was middle class and people lived in split levels or smaller homes. In the 1990’s new developments were built with McMansions. The town then became exclusive and incredibly expensive. Jewish people were the largest ethnic group for over 40 years (however that is changing as they simply cannot afford it anymore and are moving to nearby Mansfield, Foxborough and Easton), All Sharon schools have the most important Jewish holidays off. Sharon now is home to a mosque, Islamic Center of New England, http://icne.net/ which is indicative of the very large Muslim population that moved in during the 90’s when the new developments were being built. The “multicultural” town of Sharon is a relatively new thing because the highly educated Indians and Chinese who have moved in. You will not find Hispanic, Southeast Asian or black people in Sharon. Indians move to Sharon because it’s the place to be for them as their friends and colleagues have moved there. It’s following the same pattern with the Jewish people in the 1960’s and 70’s. The newer ethic groups in Sharon that make the town seem “multicultural” do not assimilate and stay within the confines of their own groups socially. There was an article in 2011’s Money Magazine citing Sharon as the 11th best place to live in the country and that is simply not true. Somebody living in Sharon must have paid someone off at that magazine to raise property values, lol. Sharon has an MBTA commuter rail stop with 2 parking lots owned by the town. Because the lots are owned by the town, the town gets to dictate parking. For example, one lot is for Sharon residents and the other lot is for both Sharon and out of town residents. Sharon residents have been very vocal about not wanting any out of town people parking in the second lot. They feel that since they own the land, and they pay such high taxes, it should all be theirs. Unfortunately there are only enough spots in it’s entirety to fit one third of Sharon residents so the town parking passes sell out within an hour of going on sale. Legally, some spots have to be open to out of town people, so, they gave all the bad spots (and there are not that many) in the second lot to the non-residents. So there is a certain entitlement factor you are dealing with in Sharon. To be clear, Mansfield has an MBTA commuter rail stop and one lot is for the residents of Mansfield, and the other lot is owned by the MBTA. Neighboring Foxborough residents have a lot nearby that they can park in as well which is very convenient when there is bad weather and there are no spots in the Sharon lot for out of town commuters. Kraft is working on getting an MBTA stop in Foxborough. Yes, Sharon is a safe place to live with a beautiful lake and good schools but you can get that in any of the neighboring towns for much less (minus the lake) although Wrentham has Lake Pearl which is beautiful, and don’t forget the outlets. Foxborough is a small quiet town as well with the stadium not being an issue as it is located on the highway. Foxborough benefits financially from having Patriot Place and the stadium technically located in the town. Foxborough Mansfield and Easton are wonderful options as they all have excellent schools. So, I hope I clarified the reality of Sharon and people can make an informed decision on any town they choose to live in based upon those criteria

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