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.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Springfield is the 3rd most dangerous city in Massachusetts, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 33.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s really high for Massachusetts, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 2nd cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Springfield bring in just under $37,118 a year annually.
Holyoke, MA needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 10.2%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 1st highest in the state. You have a 1 in 20.7 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
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.
You might have passed through Lawrence once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Lawrence needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 10.8%, residents earn about $39,627 a year, and home prices are just over $238,200. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn’t anything to do in Lawrence.
The city of Lynn is the 9th worst place you can live in the state of Massachusetts in 2019.
It’s unlucky for Lynn, which has the 18th highest unemployment rate (6.3%), the 15th lowest household incomes ($53,513) and the 19th lowest home prices in the state ($279,400).
Basically, a lot of people in Lynn are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it’s not one of the most dangerous places we’ll look at, it’s in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in Massachusetts.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Revere is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Massachusetts. Let’s see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 18th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Revere had a 1 in 53.3 chance of being robbed in 2018. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Revere, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Revere’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (6.5%) and income levels of its residents ($53,794).
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