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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:
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.
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Massachusetts
- Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts
- Most Dangerous Cities In Massachusetts
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2020
If you're looking to live in Massachusetts, Springfield might not be the best choice as it places 1st in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Bay State for 2020.
The average family earns $36,730 a year out here, and 28.6% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 9.9% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it's just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you're in Springfield, every year, you have a 1 in 37.8 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it's an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it's the 4th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
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?
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.
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.
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.
There's probably not many people in Massachusetts that would be surprised to see Holyoke on this list. In fact, if Holyoke wasn't somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Holyoke has the 2nd worst crime rate in Massachusetts. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 391 violent crimes in Holyoke in 2020. Residents here had a 1 in 103 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Holyoke are the 6th cheapest in the state ($188,900), the unemployment rate is the 6th highest (8.4%), and the annual household income is 3rd lowest in Massachusetts, at $40,656. That's basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
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.
Chelsea is the 14th most dangerous place in the state of Massachusetts. That's part of the reason it's the 8th worst place in Massachusetts.
The fact remains, that when you're within Chelsea city limits, you have a 1 in 68.2 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Chelsea also has the 27th highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $323,400?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Chelsea.
Sure, it's in a beautiful area, and there's lots of culture, especially in terms of music. But, if you're measuring desirability, it's the 9th worst in Massachusetts.
Lawrence residents had a 1 in 85.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. Meaning lots of stolen laptops, cell phones and sports jerseys.
The unemployment rate in Lawrence is through the roof, as more than 9.6% of the population can't get a job. At least their mortgages aren't too high; at $255,800, Lawrence has the 15th-lowest home prices in the state of Massachusetts.
Lynn, MA needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 6.1%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 18th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 68.9 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
How we determined the worst places to live in Massachusetts for 2020
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 -- 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:
- Woburn (Pop. 40,298)
- Melrose (Pop. 28,116)
- Newton (Pop. 88,660)
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- Richest Cities In Massachusetts
- Safest Places In Massachusetts
- Best Cities For Singles In Massachusetts
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Massachusetts?