Massachusetts Ranks in Best (and Worst) Small Cities in America

Northampton and Lawrence are on opposite ends of the list.

massachusetts best small cities

Illustration by Madeline Bilis

Small town life is the good life, or the not-so-good life, depending on where you live.

In Massachusetts, it could be either. According to a WalletHub report, we rank high in the best small cities in America, and pretty low, too. The personal finance website compared 1,268 cities in four categories: affordability, economic health, education and health, and quality of life. The study considered cities and towns with populations between 25,000 and 100,000, analyzing everything from number of restaurants, museums, and coffee shops, to quality of schools and housing costs.

Northampton, Mass. came out on top for the state as the eighth best small city in the country. The progressive college town ranked high in the categories of education and health, and quality of life. Milton took the next spot in the top 20 as 14th best, and Lexington ranked 26th. The number one spot in education and health went to Lexington, scoring highest in factors like school-system quality and number of pediatricians per 100,000 residents.

Lawrence, as a contrast, is listed as the worst small city in Massachusetts. Clocking in at number 1,154 on the list, it ranked low in economic health, which encompasses metrics like unemployment rates, median household income, and population growth.

Other interesting findings? Somerville ranks number five in the highest number of millennial newcomers, and Portland, Maine made the list of most coffee shops per capita.

You can read the complete list of WalletHub’s best and worst cities in America here.