The 10 Worst Boston Suburbs

The worst Boston suburbs are Lawrence and Chelsea based on Saturday Night Science. Find out where your town ranks.

More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Boston to avoid all the hustle and bustle.

So the question arises: what suburbs of Boston are the worst?

Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Boston ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Boston area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Boston proper, although Newton certainly tries.

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.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 worst suburbs around Boston for 2024

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

Now don’t freak out.

What’s the worst suburb of Boston? Lawrence ranks as the worst suburb of Boston for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.

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.

The 10 Worst Boston Suburbs To Live For 2024

Lawrence, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 88,067
Median Income: $53,977 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (highest)
Median Home Value: $436,042 (4th lowest)
More on Lawrence: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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.

Chelsea, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 39,890
Median Income: $71,051 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $483,659 (7th lowest)
More on Chelsea: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

This city is 4.5 miles to Boston. Income levels here are the 4th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $71,051 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.

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

Brockton, MA

Source: Wikipedia User John Phelan | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 104,713
Median Income: $74,016 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $455,030 (5th lowest)
More on Brockton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Back up the highway we go for the third worst Boston suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Brockton 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 dropout rate is poor compared to other Boston suburbs.

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

Lowell, MA

Source: Wikipedia User Emw | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 114,737
Median Income: $73,008 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $435,128 (3rd lowest)
More on Lowell: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

If you live in Lowell, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 6th lowest Boston suburb for median household incomes.

Not only that, but this is the 11th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Boston. Remember, we looked at 24 cities for this study.

Lowell is about 26.2 miles to downtown.

Lynn, MA

Source: Wikipedia User Jameslwoodward | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 100,653
Median Income: $70,046 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (12th highest)
Median Home Value: $511,699 (8th lowest)
More on Lynn: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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 8th lowest home values in the metro Boston area, where the median price is $511,699. The median income is $176,373.

Lynn has an unemployment rate of 5.69% which ranks 12th worst.

Everett, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 48,685
Median Income: $77,796 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $567,525 (12th lowest)
More on Everett: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Everett has 48,685 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 14.386709813055218%.

Taunton, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,436
Median Income: $72,782 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (13th highest)
Median Home Value: $455,672 (6th lowest)
More on Taunton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

It’s the place with the 13th most out of work residents in the Boston metro area (5.55%).

8. Southfield

Southfield Location In Michigan

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 76,107
Median Income: $63,980 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $234,297 (lowest)
More on Southfield:

Southfield is a city about 13.4 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. Southfield has the 10th most uninsured people, 2nd worst incomes, and has the 9th highest unemployment rate (6.49%) in the entire Boston metro area.

Homes only cost $234,297 for a reason. That’s cheap for Boston standards.

Revere, MA

Source: Wikipedia User User:Magicpiano | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 60,577
Median Income: $78,968 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $558,745 (11th lowest)
More on Revere: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

About 7.33% of residents are out of work.

Malden, MA

Source: Wikipedia User John Phelan | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 65,463
Median Income: $90,295 (12th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $609,995 (13th lowest)
More on Malden: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

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

Located 7.0 miles outside the city, Maldens is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 7th highest unemployment rate (6.64%), and poverty is far above the area average.

Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Boston for 2024

To figure out how bad a Boston suburb is to live in, we used Saturday Night Science to identify the kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.

Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2018-2022, 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 dropouts
  • High poverty
  • High rate of uninsured families

We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Boston.

We also limited the analysis to places with 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 looking at you, Lawrence.

We updated this article for 2024, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Boston.

Summary: The areas around Boston where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2024

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

The worst suburbs of Boston are .

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
  • Melrose
  • Cambridge

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Boston Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Values
1 Lawrence 88,067 $53,977 $436,042
2 Chelsea 39,890 $71,051 $483,659
3 Brockton 104,713 $74,016 $455,030
4 Lowell 114,737 $73,008 $435,128
5 Lynn 100,653 $70,046 $511,699
6 Everett 48,685 $77,796 $567,525
7 Taunton 59,436 $72,782 $455,672
8 Southfield 76,107 $63,980 $234,297
9 Revere 60,577 $78,968 $558,745
10 Malden 65,463 $90,295 $609,995
11 Marlborough 41,391 $94,199 $521,510
12 Quincy 100,981 $90,668 $617,826
13 Gloucester 29,830 $84,465 $684,078
14 Salem 44,541 $79,196 $556,514
15 Peabody 54,204 $91,125 $628,178
16 Watertown 4,712 $101,667 $352,082
17 Woburn 40,992 $104,780 $670,017
18 Beverly 42,414 $99,525 $671,453
19 Waltham 64,711 $113,443 $747,940
20 Medford 61,748 $114,863 $753,975
21 Somerville 80,464 $120,778 $878,789
22 Cambridge 117,962 $121,539 $946,296
23 Melrose 29,477 $126,305 $819,404
24 Newton 88,453 $176,373 $1,367,720
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

22 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Boston Suburbs

  1. Dude this is total Bullcrap, how can you have a town like Stoneham in this list. Interestingly enough Stoneham is on the top 10 best suburbs to live in Boston so where are you getting your information? Stop posting fake shit! Do more research buddy.

  2. Stoneham #2 what???? You have to be kidding me it’s so dull here its not even funny I think these numbers are all wrong lol…

  3. This might be the most classist piece of click-bait garbage I’ve ever read. I hope your advertisers pay you well to write this. “Low median income” = a criteria for “the worst”? Really? This is absurd.

  4. OMG! Peabody is so much better than it was in the 50s! My hometown is so much better now, I would move back if I had he chance! The Shopping Center is great! Has plenty of jobs. Home of my ancestors. I will stick up for it.

    Beverly is a lovely North Shore city with much history, a lively downtown, good restaurants, and beautiful beaches.

    Stoneham is close to where I live now , close enough to grocery shop, go out to lunch, utilize the many services, (ex. my tailor, shop at Redstone).

    Revere- the beach area has changed! Nice condos!

    Don’t visit the other towns much but I think you should re-think what you have said about the North Shore, Middlesex/Essex county area. It is home! Beloved by many!

  5. Really Beverly densely populated at 2450 per square mile. Unemployment below state average, crime rate is ACTUALLY the lowest on the list, household income over $70k. This article CLEARLY has no credibility as their “facts” are anything but.

  6. Worst suburbs to live for whom? Rich white families with children? Lower medium income could point to a younger, more diverse population so I’m not sure how they chose that as a criteria for being undesirable. And Marblehead is the second best Boston suburb? 45+ minutes from Boston, with only one way in and one way out, with nothing but boutiques selling disposable income funded boredom, and rich middle aged white folks walking their dogs.

  7. Sam you are what we call a hipster douche who’s parents made hin wear a helmet wheb he rode his bike. Get cancer and die a slow painful death.

  8. Beverly is small town USA! As a visitor I am impressed by the beautiful architecture of the public buildings.The town parks with their gazebos and views of the bay are lovely. The homes,many built by ship captains, are quaint and charming.Lots of good restaurants; like the Depot Inn which is actually in a train station that still serves the public. How cool to eat dinner and have the train wiz by. Great place to raise a family and live!

  9. Beverly’s unemployment rate is 3.8% (state rate is 5.4); household income is $72, 654 (did you use per CAPITA income which IS $35,432? Because we don’t make children/disabled/elderly work in Beverly); crime rate is way off-could only find a chart comparing it to MA as a whole and it’s in the “well below average”; what else? Population density? Was that supposed to be a good or bad thing if it’s high? Boston as a major urban area (>1,000,000) is ranked 38th (very low) so if the fire you gave is the same as Boston (can’t be) than you aren’t using data correctly. We do have 2 colleges so maybe that makes your figure high (but that means FUN, right?). But this is all a joke, right? RIGHT?

  10. This list reads like it was made by a child born somewhere FAR away from the Boston area.
    Zero indication that the “writer” has any idea about the area.

  11. I have lived in the area for almost 20 years and I have to say this article has zero credibility.
    Peabody offers the largest number of AP classes in the area, two working farms owned by the city, several bike paths, a golf course owned by the city and a thriving mall.
    Peabody is an an accepting city toward many which explains why the income level is skewed to the lower levels. Don’t be fooled though. Many wealthy people live in the city.

  12. This is wrong. Massachusetts doesn’t have any WORSE or WORSEST places. We’re a beautiful state. Your article sucks.

  13. This is total bull*hit–& I’d luv to know where the author got his stats??? Give me a break+-that Beverly, Peabody & Dtoneham are on the list! I totally concur with what another person commented re the author must’ve factored students in his stats from the 2 colleges located in Beverly! Additionally, I Gail to learn from this article that Peabody has such a high unemployment rate–(& don’t believe the employees from the Mall have been factored in)! Givee a brea!!! 😉

    1. Give me a break! This article is a bunch of total B.S.! The author should have gotten his facts straight before writing it! That’s a bunch of bull re Beverly, which has so much to offer–& is one of the nicest places in the area to reside! The college students housed in 2 different colleges located there must’ve been factored into their unemployment rate! To boot, the unemployment rate in Peabody is clearly doubtful it’s so high, as the mall employs many of its residents! I also think the author is in denial re the stats on Stoneham!

  14. Are you serious? This is like the fake media everywhere! I grew up in Beverly and my 80 something year old parents still live there happily in the same home my siblings and I grew up in. I see that you comment on the unemployment rate. Every stop to think of why that might be the reason? Like people in treatment at Beverly Hospital needing to live locally? How about because some of the older large homes are no longer affordable as single family so are now more reasonable rentals thsg the unemployed can afford? Maybe people from surrounding places have come to Beverly for more affordable places to live? Maybe because Beverly is surrounded by the ocean and there is not that much in the way of larger companies where people can get jobs? Did you bother to check if there is a substantial parental stay at home with children population?
    Should you stick to snacks maybe?

  15. First of all, there is no suburb of Boston called Southfield. You just took a section of Rockland and decided to call it Southfield.

    Second of all, while Rockland isn’t Lynnfield or Wellesley, it’s not Lawrence or Brockton either. Watertown is even better than Rockland.

    Third of all, you can’t talk about Lawrence without mentioning the crime rate.

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