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 on 4-6-2018 with a video. Article continues below video.

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

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:

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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’.

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.

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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.

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1. Newton

Newton, Massachusetts

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

2. Melrose

Melrose, Massachusetts

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

3. Woburn

Woburn, Massachusetts

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

4. Newburyport

Newburyport, Massachusetts

Source: Public domain

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

5. Waltham

Waltham, Massachusetts

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

6. Beverly

Beverly, Massachusetts

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

7. Cambridge

Cambridge, Massachusetts

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

8. Medford

Medford, Massachusetts

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

9. Gloucester

Gloucester, Massachusetts

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

10. Peabody

Peabody, Massachusetts

Source: Public domain

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

  1. Forestdale (Pop. 4,888)
  2. Hanscom AFB (Pop. 1,943)
  3. Topsfield (Pop. 3,435)
  4. Dover (Pop. 2,453)
  5. The Pinehills (Pop. 1,275)
  6. Cordaville (Pop. 2,847)
  7. Nahant (Pop. 3,471)
  8. South Duxbury (Pop. 3,684)
  9. Duxbury (Pop. 1,498)
  10. West Falmouth (Pop. 2,021)

Best Small Towns To Live In Massachusetts

  1. Seabrook (Pop. 413)
  2. Seconsett Island (Pop. 21)
  3. Siasconset (Pop. 183)
  4. Popponesset Island (Pop. 10)
  5. Popponesset (Pop. 195)
  6. Mashpee Neck (Pop. 877)
  7. New Seabury (Pop. 900)
  8. Monomoscoy Island (Pop. 125)
  9. Madaket (Pop. 307)
  10. Edgartown (Pop. 649)

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

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

For more Massachusetts reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Massachusetts

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

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

  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 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, 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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