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:
- North Adams (Photos)
- Springfield (Photos)
- Holyoke (Photos)
- Fall River (Photos)
- New Bedford (Photos)
- Brockton (Photos)
- Fitchburg (Photos)
- Lawrence (Photos)
- Lynn (Photos)
- Revere (Photos)
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 North Adams.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Massachusetts
How we determined the worst places to live in Massachusetts for 2019
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
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 — North Adams. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Massachusetts.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
If you want cheap housing, move to North Adams. If you want high crime, no jobs and meager salaries, move to North Adams.
There isn’t a place in Massachusetts that has cheaper homes. Which means no one wants to live there. Including you, perhaps?
If you’re one of the thirteen thousand people who lives in North Adams, at least you have one another. And two Dunkin Donuts.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Springfield is the 2nd worst place you can live in the state of Massachusetts. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Springfield, located in Hampden County, have the 3rd most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $148,600, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Massachusetts, that is.
Holyoke is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and “fun”. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Holyoke residents earn the 2nd-lowest salaries in the state. At $37,954 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $182,700, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.
Crime is the 1st highest in Massachusetts per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 4th highest in the state, at 10.2%.
Fall River has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 11th-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 10.2%.
Additionally, 20.2% of the population lives below the poverty line.
According to science, New Bedford is by far the worst place to live in the state of Massachusetts.
The unemployment rank is the third-highest in the state and residents here earn the sixth-lowest salaries in Massachusetts.
Plus, the big black eye for New Bedford: Crime. There are only three other cities in the state with a higher crime rate (Holyoke has the worst crime).
If you live in New Bedford, you can brag to your buddies at the bah that you have it rough, and they should buy you a bucket of Sam Adams.
Anyone who has been to Brockton will tell you it’s not the most inspiring place to be. If you live in Brockton, you probably expected that your city would be somewhere high up on this list.
The schools are overcrowded, and the crime is sky high. Is there a worse combination?
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 54.9 chance of being robbed. So be aware.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Lawrence. The only real difference is Lawrence is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Lawrence is at 10.8%, which is the 2nd worst in Massachusetts. And households earn a combined $39,627 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Lawrence is merely $238,200.
Lawrence is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
Lynn needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Lynn. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Lynn. Of the 39 cities considered in this ranking, Lynn had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Lynn have Massachusetts’s 19th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 18th and 17th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in Massachusetts.”
If you know anyone in Lynn, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Revere’s situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Revere has the 18th worst crime index of any place in Massachusetts, and has the 16th lowest income.
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, North Adams ranks as the worst city to live in Massachusetts for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Massachusetts:
- Cambridge (Pop. 110,893)
- Melrose (Pop. 28,132)
- Newton (Pop. 88,479)
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Massachusetts
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Massachusetts
- 10 Safest Places In Massachusetts
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Massachusetts
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Massachusetts