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Most Americans have never been to Massachusetts. However, as the people who live there know, Massachusetts is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Massachusetts has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Bay State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 101 of Massachusetts's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Massachusetts where you'd never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in Massachusetts for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Shelburne Falls is the worst small town to live in Massachusetts.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Massachusetts has its stuff figured out.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In Massachusetts For 2022
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $235,600 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (13th worst)
More on Shelburne Falls: Data
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $179,200 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (11th worst)
More on Millers Falls: Data
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $276,700 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.5% (worst)
More on Onset: Data
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $212,400 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (14th worst)
More on Monson Center: Data
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $159,200 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (5th worst)
More on Orange: Data
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $199,800 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (25th worst)
More on Winchendon: Data
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $342,200 (44th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.0% (3rd worst)
More on North Plymouth: Data
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 19)
Median Home Value: $250,300 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (69th worst)
More on Townsend: Data
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Massachusetts, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn't a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we determined the worst small towns to live in Massachusetts for 2022
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The lower the worse)
- Highest Unemployment Rates
- Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (Number of high school dropouts)
- High Crime
We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 101 to be exact.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In Massachusetts
If you're analyzing teeny places in the Bay State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you're curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in Massachusetts, according to science:
- The Pinehills (Pop. 4,531)
- Cordaville (Pop. 2,884)
- Hanscom AFB (Pop. 2,119)
For more Massachusetts reading, check out: