Poorest Cities In Massachusetts For 2023

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

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 Massachusetts 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 poorest places in Massachusetts.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 52 places in Massachusetts with more than 12,000 people.

Here are the ten poorest places in Massachusetts for 2023:

  1. Springfield
  2. Lawrence
  3. Holyoke
  4. Southbridge Town
  5. Fall River
  6. New Bedford
  7. Chelsea
  8. Fitchburg
  9. Worcester
  10. Pittsfield

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.

What’s the poorst city in Massachusetts? According to the facts, Springfield is the poorest place in Massachusetts for 2023.

Rich people more your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the best 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:

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 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Massachusetts.

The 10 Poorest Cities In Massachusetts For 2023

1. Springfield

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

The city of 155,770 people averages the lowest median household income in Massachusetts and the 2nd 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 155,770
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,308 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.3% (2nd highest)
More on Springfield:  Data | Photos

Springfield, MA

Source: Public domain

2. Lawrence

The second poorest city in Massachusetts is Lawrence.

The city ranks as having the 6th highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the highest in the Bay State.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 87,798
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $47,542 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.2% (6th highest)
More on Lawrence:  Data | Photos

Lawrence, MA

Source: Public domain

3. Holyoke

Placing as the third poorest city, Holyoke’s median income ranks as the 2nd 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 26.476953907815627% 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,480
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $45,045 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (10th highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.5% (highest)
More on Holyoke:  Data | Photos

Holyoke, MA

4. Southbridge Town

Southbridge Town ranks as the fourth poorest place in Massachusetts.

The town ranks as having the 6th lowest median household income and the 4th 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,643
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $50,414 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.2% (4th highest)
More on Southbridge Town:  Data | Photos

Southbridge Town, MA

5. Fall River

The fifth poorest city in Massachusetts is Fall River.

The city ranks as having the 5th 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 7th highest in Massachusetts.

Still not the best news for Fall River.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 93,339
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $49,613 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.0% (7th highest)
More on Fall River:  Data | Photos

Fall River, MA

Source: Public domain

6. New Bedford

New Bedford ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Bay State.

It ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and the 7th highest unemployment rate.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 100,309
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $50,581 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 18.7% (8th highest)
More on New Bedford:  Data | Photos

New Bedford, MA

7. Chelsea

Chelsea places as the seventh poorest city in Massachusetts.

The city of over 40,025 ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 40,025
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $64,782 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (8th highest)
Poverty Rate: 22.5% (3rd highest)
More on Chelsea:  Data | Photos

Chelsea, MA

Source: Public domain

8. Fitchburg

Fitchburg ranks as the eighth poorest city in Massachusetts.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 6th highest in the state.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 41,796
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $60,466 (13th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 14.6% (14th highest)
More on Fitchburg:  Data | Photos

Fitchburg, MA

9. Worcester

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

While the median income is the 10th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Worcester ranks as having the 5th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Massachusetts.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 203,867
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Income: $56,746 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (22nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 19.3% (5th highest)
More on Worcester:  Data | Photos

Worcester, MA

10. Pittsfield

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

The city of 43,890 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Bay State.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 43,890
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Income: $59,522 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (9th highest)
Poverty Rate: 12.7% (2highest)
More on Pittsfield:  Data | Photos

Pittsfield, MA

Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Massachusetts for 2023

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 2017-2021 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 52 places with more than 12,000 people in Massachusetts, we ranked each place from 1 to 52 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 2023”.

Summary: The Poorest Places In Massachusetts For 2023

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: Braintree Town
    3rd Richest: Melrose

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Massachusetts

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Springfield 155,770 26.3%
2 Lawrence 87,798 19.2%
3 Holyoke 38,480 26.5%
4 Southbridge Town 17,643 20.2%
5 Fall River 93,339 19.0%
6 New Bedford 100,309 18.7%
7 Chelsea 40,025 22.5%
8 Fitchburg 41,796 14.6%
9 Worcester 203,867 19.3%
10 Pittsfield 43,890 12.7%
11 Gardner 21,183 14.1%
12 Chicopee 55,636 14.6%
13 Brockton 104,216 11.5%
14 Lowell 114,804 17.5%
15 Boston 672,814 17.6%
16 Lynn 100,233 14.9%
17 Revere 60,720 13.0%
18 North Adams 13,024 14.2%
19 Malden 65,602 14.7%
20 Everett 48,368 12.8%
21 West Springfield Town 28,814 9.7%
22 Haverhill 67,093 10.8%
23 Taunton 59,076 13.5%
24 Salem 44,452 14.9%
25 Quincy 100,544 10.8%
26 Methuen Town 52,536 9.7%
27 Palmer Town 12,434 9.6%
28 Northampton 29,379 11.4%
29 Leominster 43,478 7.9%
30 Gloucester 29,814 9.3%
31 Attleboro 46,146 9.1%
32 Easthampton Town 16,120 7.2%
33 Winthrop Town 19,088 8.3%
34 Woburn 40,967 6.4%
35 Marlborough 41,505 8.3%
36 Watertown Town 35,171 7.2%
37 Agawam Town 28,715 7.0%
38 Westfield 40,922 6.9%
39 Weymouth Town 57,217 6.0%
40 Peabody 54,200 8.1%
41 Cambridge 116,892 12.3%
42 Newburyport 18,282 5.8%
43 Beverly 42,448 10.0%
44 Barnstable Town 48,556 7.9%
45 Somerville 80,608 10.4%
46 Waltham 64,655 8.8%
47 Medford 60,708 7.6%
48 Amesbury Town 17,286 5.8%
49 Franklin Town 33,057 5.5%
50 Melrose 29,567 3.4%
51 Braintree Town 38,712 4.2%
52 Newton 88,647 4.2%