Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst places to live in Massachusetts.
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Massachusetts is, by all accounts, a very special place in this country. You've got a ton of history and culture. Its residents are proud Americans with a rich sense of passion and purpose. Avid sports fans, and true-blood, die-hard folks, without whom, this nation wouldn't be the same.
Boston just might be America's finest city.
And then you have places like Brockton and Taunton. Some real pits.
Like all states, Massachusetts has its share of issues. We're not here to get into a debate with Massholes in terms of which city you think is best. We'll leave that to the comments. Instead, we'll approach this from another standpoint.
We're going to use science to tell us where the really bad places in the Bay State are to live. Because, data never lies, does it?
After analyzing the 39 most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Massachusetts:
Here are the 10 worst places to live in Massachusetts for 2020:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.
We understand there's a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Massachusetts? That would be Springfield.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
Population: 154,596 Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1) Median Home Value: $152,400 (2nd worst) Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (1st worst) More on Springfield:Data | Photos
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Massachusetts, Springfield came in 1st. Let's see why.
When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Massachusetts residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Massachusetts, you can see some really big differences. In Springfield, the number of people out of work is 9.9%
In Massachusetts, that's the highest in the state.
The residents in Springfield have the lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Springfield average $36,730 a year. Which isn't too shabby in comparison to the other 'lowest' income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $152,400 on average. That's the 2nd lowest in the state.
Population: 89,339 Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1) Median Home Value: $238,100 (12th worst) Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (5th worst) More on Fall River:Data | Photos
Fall River has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 10th-highest in the state of Massachusetts. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 8.7%.
Additionally, 19.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The economy of North Adams is based on drug trafficking, abetted by proudly corrupt city administrators and a few bad apples among the State Police commanders of Berkshire County. At least half the people walking the streets are junkies, and most of the North Adams police officers above patrol rank are in the business of protecting organized crime.
Soon after a multiagency bust in November 2015 disrupted the Latin Kings leadership around Springfield, MA, hordes of Latin Kings from Springfield began pouring into North Adams to establish a lucrative new base for their narcotics trade. Around the same time, the police director issued a taxi license to two business partners who had been previously convicted of operating a taxi service to distribute narcotics in the Philadelphia area. This taxi service - whose employees range from shady to scary - keeps busy 24/7 ferrying customers, dealers, and bag men to and from drug houses all over the city, with no fear of police intervention.
Meanwhile, the NAPD and Berkshire Narcotics Task Force make headlines for their drug busts - chiefly targeting the UNPROTECTED players in the local drug scene who dare compete with the Latin Kings. This serves the purpose of making local law enforcement look proactive against narcotics even while protecting a major faction of criminals.
The Latin Kings have a history of corrupting public officials in several states, and even of infiltrating police departments. Presto, in late 2017 the North Adams police director was bold enough to appoint a full-time police officer whose shoddy personal history would disqualify him even from civilian duties with any police department upholding minimal standards. This person's pattern of bad driving, failing to pay bills, defaulting on court appearances, falsifying job applications, obtaining Taser training under false pretenses, and being dismissed from previous part-time police positions, makes a mockery of every respectable police officer on the force.
Woe to any citizens who complain about this state of affairs. If you don't like the network of Latin Kings drug operators colonizing entire apartment buildings near your home, or the noise and menace emanating from one of their crack dens, forget about seeking assistance from the police. They will ignore all demands for investigation or intervention. If the thugs start to burglarize and vandalize your home in retaliation, the police will ignore it, all the while denying the existence of any crimes, failing to take reports even of felonies, and filing false reports to support their crooked agenda. If you complain too persistently, the police may target you, trying to silence you with name-calling and threats, gaslighting you as crazy, and even encouraging the criminals to lay siege to your home.
Don't expect help from the mayor, either. Although the City Charter mandates oversight of the police department as one of his duties, Thomas Bernard has no intention of changing the status quo of corruption and abuse. His concerns don't include crime victims, or the more abstract notion of justice as a crucial underpinning of civilized society. As a petty bureaucrat, his instinct is not to lead, but to dodge responsibility while groveling to appease his masters higher up in the Berkshire County political food chain. Which brings us to the former mayor Richard Alcombright, the former district attorney David Capeless. and the recently retired police director Michael Cozzaglio. It was on their watch that the Latin Kings swarmed into North Adams,and it was those crooked officials who stood by for years, refusing to intervene as an 86-year-old woman and her middle-aged daughter suffered hundreds of crimes ranging from prowling to felony burglaries, home invasions, and relentless vandalism of their home.
Per the City Charter, the City Council's role is to represent the people of North Adams in matters concerning the municipality. In reality, most of the councilors ignore their constituents and care little about many serious problems in the city. During my 6+ years here, I have observed that they take their cues from the mayor to ignore major criminal problems and marginalize people whom Alcombright and Cozzaglio wanted to silence.
All the city councilors have enough intelligence to do their job, but they are self-serving and complacent, displaying no curiosity about matters outside their own areas of concern. As long as they feel safe and comfortable, they see no problem with fellow North Adams residents being victimized to the point of ruin. They refuse to hold the mayor accountable for the quality of the police department or to stand up for vulnerable people who are being victimized. The mayor, in his turn, lacks the integrity and brainpower to do his job. Despite an elite academic pedigree and an advanced degree in public administration, he appears unfamiliar with a concept most 12-year-olds encounter in middle school civics class: that ensuring that a justice system that fails to serve everyone fairly ends up serving nobody at all. Here in North Adams, the vacuum of civic leadership has resulted in the police department subverted to serve organized crime, at the expense of all the rest of us.
What stands out in North Adams- Drugs, drugs, and more drugs! The mayor who refuses to do his job of overseeing the police department, and the city councilors who turn their backs on crime victims, can't wait to bring legalized marijuana into town. Farms! Retail stores! Accessories! Edibles! POT POT POT! Medical! Recreational! Warehouses full of it!
Note also: The Porches, an upscale hotel catering to the needs of MassMOCA, is located square in the middle of a major corridor of police-sanctioned Latin Kings activity, with unsavory characters strollingbiking past the hotel day and night. It seems likely that the officials who welcome Springfield gangsters to the neighborhood have worked out some agreement that the criminals are to refrain from menacing The Porches' guests. However, the Porches itself apparently doesn't bother to conduct even rudimentary background checks of its employees. Several young women on the housekeeping staff and at the front desk are local junkies/dealers who work closely with the Latin Kings. They are criminals, with criminal boyfriends who may specialize in home invasions, cat burglaries, identity theft, etc. These are the people who handle your credit card and driver's license when you check in. Then you must trust them to clean your room, with your luggage and expensive possessions sitting there unguarded when you go out to lunch.
Years ago Holyoke was bad, but tor the past 10 years the ghetto n the crime has extremely decreased!! Last 2 years there were no deaths on crime at all and this year 2 and the ones that did the crime were already caught.
Population: 40,737 Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change) Median Home Value: $190,900 (7th worst) Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (3rd worst) More on Fitchburg:Data | Photos
Are we seeing a trend here? Fitchburg is also located in the north-central part of the state, along MA-2. It's looking like if you make the drive east-west from Lowell to Greenfield, you should probably just stay in your car. Unless you need gas. Or a Dunkies.
There were two murders in Fitchburg. And residents have a 1 in 77.4 chance of being robbed. So be aware.
Population: 39,852 Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2) Median Home Value: $323,400 (21st worst) Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (27th worst) More on Chelsea:Data | Photos
Chelsea is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Chelsea is the 14th most dangerous place you can live in Massachusetts.
Residents in Chelsea have a 1 in 68.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you're considering home prices, you can't do much lower than in Chelsea, where average homes are valued at only$323,400. That's the 21st-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Population: 79,841 Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1) Median Home Value: $255,800 (15th worst) Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (2nd worst) More on Lawrence:Data | Photos
When you're looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Lawrence is the 9th worst place in the state of Massachusetts.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Lawrence is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Lawrence are the 15th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can't get much worse in Massachusetts.
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 13,000 people were considered -- leaving 39 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 39 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".
Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Massachusetts -- Springfield. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Massachusetts. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Massachusetts
If you're looking at areas in Massachusetts with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Springfield ranks as the worst city to live in Massachusetts for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Massachusetts: