These 10 Cities in Massachusetts Think They Are Better Than You


We used science and data to determine which cities in the Bay State have the bragging rights for the next year.

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If you could click your heels and move anywhere else in Indiana, where would you go? To a bigger city? Or out in the country? A recent poll said that more than two-thirds of Americans wished they lived somewhere else. You might be one of them, whether or not you admit it.

But some people in Indiana don’t want to go anywhere, because they know where they call home is the best. Face it. There are some great spots in Indiana, but some are just better than others. And the the people who live there know it.

Of course, science doesn’t measure beauty and friendly smiles. All we look at are the hard numbers.

After analyzing 224 of the state’s most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 cities that have it made, and therefore, think they are better than you:

  1. Weston
  2. Concord
  3. Wayland
  4. Lexington
  5. Bedford
  6. Lincoln
  7. Wellesley
  8. Sudbury
  9. Marblehead
  10. Sharon

I know what you’re probably thinking. If you live in one of these cities, you agree with the reasoning, and if your ‘wonderful’ city isn’t on this list, you think we’re nuts. Well, buckle up and read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. It will make sense. I promise.

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How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?

In order to rank the best places to live in Massachusetts, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The higher the better. Meaning there’s lots to do.)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
  • Low Crime
  • Highest Cost of Homes in the area

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from best to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart. And if you’re wondering where Boston fared, it was somewhere in the middle of the pack. Larger cities typically do trend that direction when we run this data.

The worst city in Massachusetts? That’d be New Bedford. More on that later.

An additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. We simply did a calculation to determine the chances a person has of being the victim of a crime, based on number of violent crimes and property crimes per capita.

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1. Weston

Source: Town of Weston on Facebook

Population: 11,430
Median income: $176,875
Crime: 9th lowest in the state
Unemployment rate: 3.4%
Average home cost: $1.2 million

Let’s just put this to rest right now. No matter how passionate you are about where you live in Massachusetts, the town of Weston is by far the best place to live. At least according to science. And they’re probably aware of this fact.

The residents of Weston are the wealthiest, most employed, and just about safest of anyone in the state. Plus, their kids go to some of the best-funded schools. The get the benefits of living in the Boston area without having to rub elbows with the Massholes.

You know what they say: Money doesn’t buy happiness. Yes it does. And it also buys safety and peace of mind.

If you live here, you probably won’t brag about this ranking. So secretly already knew.

2. Concord

Source: Concord Rotary Club on Facebook

Population: 18,081
Education: 20th best in terms of student support
Household income: $131,507
Unemployment rate: 3.8%

We’re going to see a pattern here, so if you want to skim, we understand. The Town of Concord is a wealthy Boston suburb with great schools and low crime.

The difference: Concord residents are far less wealthy than those in Weston. Instead of a boatload of money, people in Concord make only piles of money.

3. Wayland

Source: Wayland MA Police Department on Facebook

Population: 13,041
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
Median household income: $124,702
Crime: 2nd lowest in the state

Seems like the further away you get from Boston, the safer it gets. At least that’s the case with the Town of Wayland. There’s only one other city in the state that’s statistically safer. Anyone want to guess?

It’s Pinehurst, a tiny blip of 7,000 people that isn’t even considered a city. It’s a village south of Lowell.

In any event, consider yourself lucky if you live in Wayland, where there were only five violent crimes in all of 2013. They were all aggravated assaults. Probably some jokers upset about the loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game. Nothing personal.

4. Lexington

Source: Town of Lexington on Facebook

Population: 31,527
Household income: $138,095
Average home cost: $748,700
Unemployment rate: 3.5%

The Town of Lexington has the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in Massachusetts. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Lexington is 128% higher than the national average. That seems to be pretty standard in these Boston suburbs.

5. Bedford

Source: Town of Bedford on Facebook

Population: 13,407
Average home values: $564,100
Unemployment rate: 4%
Median household income: $104,623

The town of Bedford has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and some of the most successful residents. Scientifically, it’s one of the best places to live in the state, and quite, frankly, the entire country.

6. Lincoln

Source: Lincoln Massachusetts Police Department on Facebook

Population: 6,442
Unemployment rate: 3.9%
Education: 10th best in the state for student support
Median household value: $888,300

The town of Lincoln is the smallest of the Boston suburbs to top our list. It can make a case that it has the smartest students (or at least the most nurtured students). Its education is ranked 10th best in terms of student support, and the student-teacher ratio is second best in Massachusetts.
There are 9.9 students per teacher in Lincoln schools. Talk about some real attention.

7. Wellesley

Source: Town of Wellesley on Facebook

Population: 28,188
Unemployment rate: 3.5%
Average home price: $994,200
Median household income: $155,000

If you don’t have a job in the Town of Wellesley, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get. 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.

8. Sudbury

Source: Flickr user Paul Wyman

Population: 17,712
Median household income: $164,337
Average home cost: 654,600
Crime: 5th lowest in the state

The only crimes happening in Sudbury are when people make off with the china or silverware during fancy get togethers. Or, perhaps when a trust fund kid takes his dad’s boat out without permission and wrecks it at Martha’s Vineyard.

9. Marblehead

Marblehead Chamber on Facebook

Population: 19,898
Median household income: $105,090
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
Average household cost: $529.000

The only real difference between Marblehead and the cities above is that Bedford residents make less money and the crime is slightly higher. In fact, of all of the cities at the top of this list, Marblehead is statistically the most dangerous.

But who are we kidding here? It’s still really safe in Marblehead.

10. Sharon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,856
Median income: $123,942
Home cost: $450,500
Crime: 7th lowest in Massachusetts

Sharon is a really awesome place to live when you look at the numbers. The crime is extremely low across the board. And you can bet that the people who live here think they’re smarter than everyone else who lives in downtown Boston because they don’t have to deal with the parking, crowds and crime.

There You Have It

This is the first state that we’ve analyzed in which all top 10 ‘best’ cities are essentially a suburb of a major city, and whose numbers are so identical. Let’s be honest here. The only real way the residents of these cities can argue about who has it better off is by comparing whose kids have better tutors and which family has closer seats at the Sox game.

If you’re analyzing places in Massachusetts with the best economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Click here to access the full data file for all of the cities.At the top you can choose between worst and best scientific data in Massachusetts.

We also ran the data on the worst cities to live in Massachusetts. Click here to read that story.

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

  1. New Bedford (Pop. 94,952)
  2. Fall River (Pop. 89,049)
  3. Gardner (Pop. 20,250)
  4. North Adams (Pop. 13,725)
  5. Fitchburg (40,314)

Here’s a complete list of the best cities in Massachusetts

City Population Worst Score Rank
Weston 11,430 33.58 1
Concord 18,081 37.17 2
Wayland 13,041 39.17 3
Lexington 31,527 41.08 4
Bedford 13,407 42.08 5
Lincoln 6,442 43.75 6
Wellesley 28,188 45.42 7
Sudbury 17,712 46.08 8
Marblehead 19,879 49.33 9
Sharon 5,856 50.42 10
Westwood 14,616 50.83 11
Newton 85,177 52.42 12
Winchester 21,437 53.67 13
Cochituate 6,566 53.92 14
Needham 29,005 54.25 15
Reading 24,753 54.33 16
Holliston 13,668 55.75 17
Stow 6,618 55.92 18
Natick 33,071 57.25 19
Pinehurst 7,333 58.08 20
Southborough 9,745 58.33 21
Brookline 58,634 59.92 22
Westford 22,107 60.08 23
Norfolk 11,296 60.42 24
Watertown Town 32,073 61.33 25
Acton 21,977 61.58 26
Boxborough 5,017 62.42 27
Arlington 42,952 63.33 28
West Concord 6,450 64.25 29
Belmont 24,759 64.5 29
Melrose 27,043 65.25 31
Cohasset 7,756 66.42 32
Longmeadow 15,803 67.67 33
Milton 26,954 68.92 34
Medfield 6,468 69.08 35
Andover 9,029 69.25 35
Northborough 6,417 70.08 37
Cambridge 105,026 70.67 38
North Reading 14,919 71 39
Swampscott 13,823 71 39
Hamilton 7,942 73.17 41
Chelmsford 33,931 73.42 42
Newburyport 17,460 73.42 43
Manchester-By-The-Sea 5,158 73.5 44
Waltham 60,836 74 45
Burlington 24,575 74.08 45
Wakefield 25,118 74.08 47
Medway 12,742 74.17 47
Ashland 16,587 74.92 49
Harvard 6,505 75 50
Somerville 75,974 76.42 50
Franklin Town 31,760 77.33 52
Canton 21,596 78 53
Billerica 40,479 78.42 54
Shrewsbury 35,583 79 55
Hingham 5,427 80.33 56
Littleton 8,934 80.42 57
Medford 56,255 80.42 58
North Andover 28,114 82.83 59
Groveland 6,530 83.83 60
Norwood 28,580 83.92 61
Dedham 24,716 84.75 62
Walpole 6,187 85.08 63
Hanover 13,902 85.33 64
Newbury 6,686 85.33 64
Lynnfield 11,628 85.67 66
Maynard 10,151 85.92 67
Upton 7,485 86.33 68
Upton 7,485 86.33 69
Wilmington 22,392 86.33 70
Framingham 68,689 86.92 71
Georgetown 8,203 87.08 71
Middleton 8,992 88.5 73
Norwell 10,501 90.08 74
Easton 23,220 90.67 74
Woburn 38,231 90.75 76
Braintree Town 35,731 91.5 76
Millis 7,905 92.33 78
Stoneham 21,414 93.42 79
Merrimac 6,368 94.33 80
Hudson 15,056 95.67 81
Amherst 38,399 96.08 82
Winthrop Town 17,584 96.58 83
Mendon 5,827 96.92 84
Dracut 29,573 97.75 85
North Attleborough 28,673 98.33 86
North Scituate 5,475 99.83 87
Wrentham 10,960 100 88
Tyngsborough 11,484 100.17 88
Marlborough 38,491 100.92 90
Tewksbury 29,109 101 91
Holden 17,361 102.5 92
Malden 59,388 104.08 93
Berkley 6,411 105.75 94
Danvers 26,568 105.75 95
Mansfield 23,191 105.83 96
East Longmeadow 15,710 105.83 97
Grafton 17,692 106 97
Foxborough 5,524 106.58 99
Weymouth Town 53,933 108.33 100
Boston 619,662 108.42 101
Quincy 92,078 108.75 102
Scituate 5,405 110.5 102
Sutton 8,964 110.92 104
Norton 19,123 111.08 105
Southampton 5,828 111.25 106
Beverly 39,748 112.42 107
Nantucket 7,780 113.5 108
Deerfield 5,107 113.75 109
Deerfield 5,107 113.75 110
Rockport 5,095 114.08 111
Sterling 7,808 114.5 112
Easthampton Town 16,030 114.75 113
Salem 41,641 115.5 114
Uxbridge 13,382 116.58 115
Hampden 5,132 116.67 116
Peabody 51,215 116.75 117
Lancaster 7,935 117 117
Rehoboth 11,570 117.33 119
Hull 10,342 117.67 120
Amherst Center 19,330 117.92 121
Stoughton 27,249 118.75 122
North Amherst 7,611 118.92 123
West Bridgewater 6,907 119.08 124
Saugus 26,761 119.5 125
Clinton 7,685 119.67 126
Rochester 5,229 119.83 127
Milford 25,549 120.33 128
Dighton 7,055 120.83 129
Northampton 28,642 120.83 130
Agawam Town 28,476 121.83 131
West Boylston 7,697 121.92 131
Plainville 8,278 122.08 133
Charlton 12,947 123.33 134
Mattapoisett 6,070 123.42 135
Pembroke 17,831 124.58 136
Mansfield Center 8,288 125.17 137
East Falmouth 5,662 125.58 138
Douglas 8,432 125.75 139
East Bridgewater 13,794 125.92 140
Amesbury Town 16,344 126.33 141
Everett 41,621 126.58 142
Harwich 12,253 126.67 143
Hadley 5,239 127 144
Blackstone 9,030 127.33 145
Somerset 18,231 127.92 146
Yarmouth 23,820 128.17 147
Whitman 14,493 128.5 148
Southwick 9,496 129.33 149
South Yarmouth 11,651 129.5 150
Raynham 13,336 130.58 151
Randolph 32,383 132.58 152
Gloucester 28,937 133.42 153
Northbridge 15,661 134 154
Revere 51,729 134.67 154
South Hadley 17,657 134.83 156
Oxford 6,485 135.17 157
Mashpee 13,950 135.33 157
Lowell 106,739 135.75 159
Westfield 41,162 136.58 160
Barnstable Town 45,170 136.83 161
Whitinsville 6,856 137.42 162
Ludlow 21,146 137.75 163
Abington 15,930 138.5 164
Lakeville 10,674 138.83 165
Bridgewater 7,851 138.83 166
Halifax 7,524 139 166
Plymouth 7,098 139 168
Dartmouth 34,117 139.17 169
Chelsea 35,527 139.25 169
Millbury 13,270 139.92 171
Bliss Corner 6,267 140.5 172
Westminster 7,282 140.83 173
Auburn 16,221 141 174
Greenfield Town 17,543 142.92 175
Smith Mills 5,202 143.5 176
Methuen Town 47,238 143.5 177
West Yarmouth 5,732 143.5 178
Westport 15,499 143.67 179
Templeton 7,965 145.17 180
Dudley 11,401 145.33 180
Lynn 90,392 146.58 182
Carver 11,497 147.42 183
Leicester 10,988 148 183
Haverhill 60,953 148.08 185
Rockland 17,518 148.25 186
Attleboro 43,603 148.67 187
Freetown 8,867 148.83 188
Monson 8,580 149.5 189
Kingston 5,917 149.67 190
Chicopee 55,326 149.83 191
West Springfield Town 28,411 151 192
Swansea 15,911 151.42 193
Holbrook 10,789 152.83 194
Acushnet 10,302 153.92 195
Middleborough Center 6,790 154.17 195
Seekonk 13,785 154.5 197
Dalton 6,750 154.5 197
Worcester 181,473 154.75 199
Middleborough 23,037 154.92 200
Montague 8,446 155.25 201
Ashburnham 6,077 155.42 202
Adams 5,344 155.92 203
Springfield 153,278 157.5 204
Fairhaven 15,893 158.08 205
Palmer Town 12,159 159 206
Spencer 5,471 159.58 207
Webster 11,729 161.17 208
Pittsfield 44,542 161.92 208
Lawrence 76,331 162.08 208
Holyoke 39,996 163.5 211
Leominster 40,879 165.75 212
Wareham 21,928 165.75 213
Southbridge Town 16,775 166.5 214
Taunton 55,951 168.92 215
Fall River 89,049 169.75 216
New Bedford 94,952 170.67 217
Brockton 93,916 171 218
Fitchburg 40,314 172.25 219
Ware 6,030 173.67 219
Gardner 20,250 177.5 221
North Adams 13725 177.67 222
Athol 7772 177.92 223

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