These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Massachusetts For 2019


We used science and data to determine which places in Massachusetts are basically dead broke.

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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 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the poorest places in Massachusetts.

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Massachusetts brings to mind images of Boston, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Massachusetts has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Massachusetts that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 53 places in Massachusetts with more than 12,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Bay State for 2019:

  1. Springfield (Photos)
  2. Holyoke (Photos)
  3. Lawrence (Photos)
  4. Fall River (Photos)
  5. New Bedford (Photos)
  6. North Adams (Photos)
  7. Lowell (Photos)
  8. Worcester (Photos)
  9. Fitchburg (Photos)
  10. Southbridge Town (Photos)

Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.

And according to the facts, Springfield is the poorest place in Massachusetts for 2019.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Massachusetts or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Massachusetts for 2019

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the “poorest places”. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2013-2017 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The “median household income adjusted for the cost of living” attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 53 places with more than 12,000 people in Massachusetts, we ranked each place from 1 to 53 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Poor Score” with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Springfield, crowned the “Poorest Place In Massachusetts For 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 53 places.

Springfield, MA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 154,613
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $37,118 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (1st highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.7% (1st highest)
More on Springfield:  Data | Photos

Springfield, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Massachusetts thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 154,613 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Massachusetts and the 1st highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

Holyoke, MA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 40,362
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $37,954 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 28.6% (2nd highest)
More on Holyoke:  Data | Photos

The second poorest city in Massachusetts is Holyoke.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 3rd highest in the Bay State.

Lawrence, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 79,497
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $39,627 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.8% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.2% (3rd highest)
More on Lawrence:  Data | Photos

Placing as the third poorest city, Lawrence’s median income ranks as the 5th lowest.

And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 24.2% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Bay State.

Fall River, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 89,258
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $39,328 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.2% (8th highest)
More on Fall River:  Data | Photos

Fall River ranks as the fourth poorest place in Massachusetts.

The town ranks as having the 4th lowest median household income and the 8th highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

New Bedford, MA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 95,125
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,626 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 23.1% (4th highest)
More on New Bedford:  Data | Photos

The fifth poorest city in Massachusetts is New Bedford.

The city ranks as having the 6th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 4th highest in Massachusetts.

Still not the best news for New Bedford.

North Adams, MA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,211
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $38,774 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.8% (13th highest)
More on North Adams:  Data | Photos

North Adams ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Bay State.

It ranks as having the 13th highest incidence of poverty and the 5th highest unemployment rate.

Lowell, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 110,964
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $48,581 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.4% (5th highest)
More on Lowell:  Data | Photos

Lowell places as the seventh poorest city in Massachusetts.

The city of over 110,964 ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Worcester, MA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 184,743
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $45,869 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 21.8% (6th highest)
More on Worcester:  Data | Photos

Worcester ranks as the eighth poorest city in Massachusetts.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 14th highest in the state.

Fitchburg, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 40,666
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $51,412 (14th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 17.9% (12th highest)
More on Fitchburg:  Data | Photos

Fitchburg couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Massachusetts; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 14th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Fitchburg ranks as having the 12th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Massachusetts.

Southbridge Town, MA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,858
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $50,202 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.5% (10th highest)
More on Southbridge Town:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Massachusetts is Southbridge Town.

The city of 16,858 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Bay State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Massachusetts For 2019

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Massachusetts, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Massachusetts.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Massachusetts, according to data:

    Richest: Newton
    2nd Richest: Melrose
    3rd Richest: Watertown Town

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Massachusetts

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Springfield 154,613 28.7%
2 Holyoke 40,362 28.6%
3 Lawrence 79,497 24.2%
4 Fall River 89,258 20.2%
5 New Bedford 95,125 23.1%
6 North Adams 13,211 17.8%
7 Lowell 110,964 22.4%
8 Worcester 184,743 21.8%
9 Fitchburg 40,666 17.9%
10 Southbridge Town 16,858 18.5%
11 Pittsfield 43,289 15.1%
12 Brockton 95,161 16.8%
13 Chicopee 55,778 14.4%
14 Boston 669,158 20.5%
15 Lynn 93,069 18.2%
16 Palmer Town 12,237 14.1%
17 West Springfield Town 28,671 12.1%
18 Gardner 20,496 16.7%
19 Chelsea 39,272 19.5%
20 Everett 45,212 13.9%
21 Revere 53,864 13.0%
22 Taunton 56,826 13.8%
23 Malden 61,212 15.9%
24 Easthampton Town 16,051 10.7%
25 Greenfield Town 17,474 13.2%
26 Leominster 41,446 13.4%
27 Northampton 28,548 15.0%
28 Salem 43,146 15.3%
29 Haverhill 62,943 12.6%
30 Westfield 41,667 8.5%
31 Attleboro 44,326 9.2%
32 Methuen Town 49,575 9.4%
33 Gloucester 29,858 8.5%
34 Quincy 93,824 10.5%
35 Peabody 52,610 9.8%
36 Weymouth Town 55,890 6.6%
37 Agawam Town 28,748 9.4%
38 Cambridge 110,893 13.5%
39 Barnstable Town 44,325 9.1%
40 Newburyport 17,890 7.0%
41 Winthrop Town 18,391 8.2%
42 Beverly 41,431 8.3%
43 Somerville 79,983 12.4%
44 Waltham 62,832 9.8%
45 Braintree Town 37,082 5.0%
46 Medford 57,700 10.3%
47 Marlborough 39,771 6.5%
48 Woburn 39,500 6.0%
49 Amesbury Town 17,218 4.9%
50 Franklin Town 32,843 4.3%
51 Watertown Town 34,553 8.4%
52 Melrose 28,132 3.9%
53 Newton 88,479 4.3%

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