The 10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019

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

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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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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.

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:

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 is the best when it comes to overall likeability. According to the data, Newton is a little slice of heaven when it comes to Massachusetts living.

It’s residents have the 1st highest income in the state, and according to government data, the skies are clearer in Median than any other place in the state. The 1st lowest crime in Massachusetts also makes it very appealing.

You can’t argue with large bank accounts and sunshine, can you?

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

The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Massachusetts, as there were only 19 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 1st lowest in Massachusetts (4.3%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.

Additionally, homes are the 5th most expensive in Melrose ($437,100), meaning a lot of people want to live there.

Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $87,712 a year.

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

Woburn has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($83,872). And the crime is really, really low (8th lowest in Massachusetts).

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

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 takes 4th place on our list of best places in Massachusetts for 2019 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


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 has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Waltham had the 6th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $82,188.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

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

Beverly 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 10th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 9th highest median income of any place in our analysis.

However, it only has the 20th shortest average commute time of any place in Massachusetts.

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 is by far one of the best places to live in Massachusetts: the math proves it! This city has the 6th lowest unemployment rate and the 5th highest median income in all of Massachusetts.

Plus, the median home values are the 2nd highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 20th lowest in the state, making Cambridge a safe and great 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

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 Medford.

The median home costs a cool $421,200 and households make $79,607 which is good for 7th in Massachusetts.

Add that all up and Medford places 8th in our ranking of the best places to live in Massachusetts for 2019.

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.

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

In Gloucester, everyone loves to call Gloucester home! The median home value is the 11th highest in Massachusetts.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 12th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Bay State.

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

Peabody is just about as close to a perfect area as you can get. Residents here are gainfully employed, and the schools are some of the best in the state. It’s safe, and residents get to enjoy the benefits of quality at home living.

It’s quite a gem tucked away in Massachusetts.

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 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

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9 thoughts on “The 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 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

  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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