10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019

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

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the best places to live in Massachusetts.

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There's more to Massachusetts than Boston. There's Martha's Vineyard, Harvard, the Boston Red Sox, as well as some of the best cities in America. Lucky for you, HomeSnacks took the guessing out of Massachusetts' places to live and created a list of the top ten best places in Massachusetts for Newton based on science.

Ask any Bay Stater and they will tell you that there's definitely more to their best cities than just numbers. However, to put the best of the best Massachusetts cities into perspective, we measured household income, home prices, education, and safety. The competition was wicked fierce to say the least. The best cities in Massachusetts really brought their A-game.

So not surprising, many of our top ten cities house global leading companies in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, and finance. All Fortune 500 companies and fancy islands aside, Massachusetts is the sixth oldest state in the country. We think that's all the more reason that they should have the best cities. They've had some time to perfect them. And that's just what the Massachusetts' cities on our top ten best places to live list have done

So grab yourself a bowl of baked beans, a frosty Cape Cod, and read on.

Massachusetts' cities are known for their quirky 'we discovered America' eastern culture with amazing local flare and out-of-this-world 'chowdah' carts. Needless to say, it was difficult to narrow down Massachusetts' best cities to a list of ten.

So, what city is the best place to live in Massachusetts for 2019? Well according to the UC Census and FBI data we crunched, Newton is the best place to live in the Baked Bean State.

To see a list of Massachusetts' other best cities, take a look below. And if you don't see your favorite city there, head to the bottom.

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:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019

Newton, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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

Newton 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 Newton has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 4.4% and lowering. And the Newton police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 1st lowest in the state here.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place like this?

Melrose, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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 is another gem in Bay State. The unemployment rate here is 1st lowest in the entire state at 4.3%. Other factors that make Melrose so desirable is the solid education and home prices.

Homes are valued at $437,100, and parents earn a combined $87,712 a year

There's nothing like the American dream.

Woburn, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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

If you want to live in Massachusetts, you can't go wrong if you decide to make the Woburn 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 $83,872 median income will do that).

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

Newburyport, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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 had the 11th lowest unemployment of any place in our research (6.3%) and the 5th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.

Newburyport is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it's like to live there.

Waltham, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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 is another great city in Massachusetts with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.

Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: " We feel incredibly safe in Waltham. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it's wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things."

Enough said.

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.

Beverly, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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

Who doesn't want to live in Beverly? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 5.7%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.

Expect to see more of Beverly in the news in the coming months.

Cambridge, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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

Cambridge's unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 5th highest, making Cambridge a great place to work and settle down if you're look for a stable job with a stable income.

Additionally, Cambridge has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.

Medford, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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

Medford ranks 8th on our list of best places to live in Massachusetts thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Massachusetts that we examined.

People have been flocking to Medford over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Gloucester, MA

Overall SnackAbility


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

Gloucester has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($63,917). And the crime is really, really low (4th lowest in Massachusetts).

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

Peabody, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

Perhaps what makes Peabody so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.

However, quality education isn't all that makes Peabody great. They also have the 13th highest median income and the 18th shortest commute time.

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 Cities 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.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Massachusetts? That would be Newton.

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.

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 the best place to live in Massachusetts for 2019.

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:

Where Are 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

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.

9 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019

    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.

    1. Not really, lived in some of these towns and they are awful! Newton is nice, but Peabody, Beverly, Merose and Marlborough/Marlboro…some nice parts, but crappy places to live.

  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

  4. No talk about schools? Diversity? Sensible affordable housing? These stats are indeed elitist. Obviously there will less poverty if it’s all rich people living there!!! Unemployment rate???

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