The 10 Worst Boston Suburbs For 2022

We used science and data to determine which Boston suburbs are the real pits.

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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Boston.

So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?

Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Boston 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Boston area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Boston proper, although Newton certainly tries.

Of course, not all suburbs of Boston are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..

We examined the 24 biggest suburbs of Boston to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Massachusetts lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Boston in terms of quality of life.

Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Boston for 2022:

  1. Lawrence
  2. Brockton
  3. Chelsea
  4. Southfield
  5. Lynn
  6. Lowell
  7. Taunton
  8. Revere
  9. Malden
  10. Everett

What's the worst suburb of Boston? Lawrence ranks as the worst suburb of Boston for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

Read on to see how we determined the places around Boston that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

Or, if you're thinking of moving to elsewhere in Massachusetts check out the best places in Massachusetts overall or the worst.

And remember, there are some good places to live around Boston too.

Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Boston Suburbs To Live For 2022

We'll get the ball rolling with Lawrence, the absolute worst place to live around Boston according to the data.

And in the world of worst rankings, Lawrence beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the Boston area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 4th worst when it comes to home values.

But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Lawrence.

You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 80,022
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $45,045 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 11.0% (highest)
Median Home Value: $280,800 (4th lowest)
More on Lawrence:  Data | Photos

Lawrence, MA

Source: Public domain

Welcome to Brockton. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.

This city is 17.2 miles to Boston. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $62,249 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.

But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 95,740
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $62,249 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $279,600 (3rd lowest)
More on Brockton:  Data | Photos

Brockton, MA

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Boston suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Chelsea on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.

In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Boston suburbs.

But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 39,878
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $60,370 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $369,900 (9th lowest)
More on Chelsea:  Data | Photos

Chelsea, MA

Source: Public domain

4. Southfield

If you live in Southfield, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 2nd lowest Boston suburb when it comes to residents making money.

Not only that, but this is the 3rd worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Boston. Remember, we looked at 24 cities for this study.

Southfield is about 13.4 miles to downtown.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 72,966
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $58,076 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $164,800 (lowest)
More on Southfield:

Lynn has the distinction of being a Boston suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.

All snarkiness aside, Lynn has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Boston area, where the median price is $354,400. To put that into perspective, in Newton, the median income is $154,398, which is the best in the area.

Lynn has an unemployment rate of 6.35% which ranks 6th worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 94,201
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $61,329 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $354,400 (7th lowest)
More on Lynn:  Data | Photos

Lynn, MA

Lowell has 111,311 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)

Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 17.31001941784002%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 111,311
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Income: $62,196 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $285,200 (5th lowest)
More on Lowell:  Data | Photos

Lowell, MA

Ah, Taunton. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Boston.

It's the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Boston metro area (5.8%).

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 57,327
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $63,433 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $291,100 (6th lowest)
More on Taunton:  Data | Photos

Taunton, MA

Source: Public domain

Revere is a city about 6.3 miles from Boston, but Boston probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.

You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Revere has the 5th most uninsured people, 9th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (7.0%) in the entire Boston metro area.

Homes only cost $388,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Boston standards.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 53,400
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $68,331 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $388,900 (11th lowest)
More on Revere:  Data | Photos

Revere, MA

If you absolutely have to live near Boston, then Malden might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Boston suburb.

About 6.66% of residents are out of work.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 60,710
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $73,399 (11th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $447,000 (15th lowest)
More on Malden:  Data | Photos

Malden, MA

Rounding out the ten worst Boston suburbs to call home is Everett.

Located 5.4 miles outside the city, Everetts is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 10th highest unemployment rate (5.61%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 46,275
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $70,627 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $434,300 (13th lowest)
More on Everett:  Data | Photos

Everett, MA

Source: Public domain

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Boston for 2022

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 threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, this is the criteria we used:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Low median household incomes
  • Low population density (no things to do)
  • Low home values
  • A lot of high school drop outs
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Boston.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 4,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 24 suburbs to evaluate around Boston.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 24 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Boston." We're lookin' at you, Lawrence. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.

Summary: The areas around Boston where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022

Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Boston with Lawrence casting itself ahead of the pack.

As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Boston aren't all bad. Newton takes the cake as the best place to live around Boston.

  • Newton
  • Cambridge
  • Melrose

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Boston Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lawrence 80,022 $45,045 $280,800
2 Brockton 95,740 $62,249 $279,600
3 Chelsea 39,878 $60,370 $369,900
4 Southfield 72,966 $58,076 $164,800
5 Lynn 94,201 $61,329 $354,400
6 Lowell 111,311 $62,196 $285,200
7 Taunton 57,327 $63,433 $291,100
8 Revere 53,400 $68,331 $388,900
9 Malden 60,710 $73,399 $447,000
10 Everett 46,275 $70,627 $434,300
11 Marlborough 39,663 $83,469 $365,200
12 Salem 43,350 $66,428 $379,400
13 Gloucester 30,291 $76,260 $435,200
14 Quincy 94,389 $80,462 $453,100
15 Peabody 53,004 $80,681 $419,500
16 Watertown 4,473 $94,922 $236,400
17 Waltham 62,597 $95,851 $574,000
18 Woburn 40,297 $92,084 $486,600
19 Beverly 42,062 $84,354 $463,000
20 Medford 58,290 $101,168 $551,900
21 Somerville 81,175 $102,311 $709,800
22 Melrose 28,054 $114,604 $599,600
23 Cambridge 117,822 $107,490 $843,100
24 Newton 88,322 $154,398 $952,100

How Is Your Town In ?

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 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst suburbs around Boston.