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Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.
There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.
But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.
Of course, not all suburbs of Boston are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...
What's the best suburb of Boston? Newton ranks as the best suburb of Boston for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Newton, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.
We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Boston 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.
Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Feel free to check out some more reading about Massachusetts:
The 10 Best Boston Suburbs To Live For 2022
Newton is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Boston area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Newton."
Everyone here is rich; families average $154,398 a year, which is the highest in the Boston region. And only 3.29% are out of work. Homes average more than $952,100 each.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $154,398
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.3%
More on Newton: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Cambridge is the second best 'burb we looked at near Boston for 2022.
It ranks 3rd for incomes in the area and only 2.28% of residents lack insurance, good for 5th best.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $107,490
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Poverty Rate: 12.0%
More on Cambridge: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Here in Melrose, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Boston metro area.
The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.
But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Melrose.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $114,604
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on Melrose: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Somerville ranks as the 4th best suburb of Boston for 2022.
You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Somerville and the schools are some of the best around.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $102,311
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 11.3%
More on Somerville: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Coming in as the fifth best is Medford.
Medford gets kudos for having the 6th most expensive homes in the Boston area, where houses sell for an average of $551,900. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $101,168
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Poverty Rate: 8.6%
More on Medford: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Beverly is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.
Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 2.58% which is 2nd best in the area.
According to online reports, Beverly is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Boston area, meaning you need to get in soon.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $84,354
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 10.3%
More on Beverly: Real Estate | Data | Photos
The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Woburn.
Woburn schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.
And, it's only 12.8 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $92,084
Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
Poverty Rate: 5.7%
More on Woburn: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Waltham is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.
A solid 3.69% of people lack insurance, good for 13th in the area.
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $95,851
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 9.2%
More on Waltham: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Is 'Everything Better In Watertown?'
It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $94,922
Unemployment Rate: 1.3%
Poverty Rate: 3.3%
More on Watertown: Real Estate
And rounding out the top ten for 2022 is Peabody.
This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $80,681
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 7.7%
More on Peabody: Real Estate | Data | Photos
Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Boston for 2022
Figuring out the best suburbs around Boston was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:
- Low unemployment rate
- High Median household incomes
- Population density (lots of things to do)
- High home values
- A lot of college educated people
- Low poverty
- High rate of insured families
Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2016-2020 to research each suburb.
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 "best.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Boston." We're lookin' at you, Newton. You can download the data here.
Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.
Summary: Welcome to the Best Boston 'Burbs of 2022
We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.
So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Boston, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Massachusetts
- Richest Cities In Massachusetts
- Safest Places In Massachusetts
Detailed List Of The Best Boston Suburbs