The 10 Best Counties To Live In Massachusetts For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Massachusetts have the most for people looking to make the move to Massachusetts.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best counties to live in Massachusetts.

Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Massachusetts a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes... if you know where to locate the best places to live in Massachusetts.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Bay State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn't our first rodeo -- we've been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of Massachusetts, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 14 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Bay State for 2021.

Norfolk County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Massachusetts. And you might want to avoid Hampden County if you can -- at least according to the data.

So if you're thinking of making the move Massachusetts, we've got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Massachusetts and the cheapest places to live in Massachusetts.

The Best Counties To Live In Massachusetts For 2021

1. Norfolk County

Quincy, MA

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Quincy

Population: 700,437
Median Income: $103,291 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $470,800.0 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 424.5% (5th best)
More on Norfolk County: PhotosData

2. Nantucket County

Madaket, MA

Biggest Place: Nantucket

Population: 11,168
Median Income: $107,717 (best)
Median Home Price: $1,084,700.0 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 291.9% (best)
More on Nantucket County: PhotosData

3. Middlesex County

Cambridge, MA

Biggest Place: Cambridge

Population: 1,600,842
Median Income: $102,603 (3rd best)
Median Home Price: $500,700.0 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 376.9% (3rd best)
More on Middlesex County: PhotosData

4. Essex County

Beverly, MA

Biggest Place: Lynn

Population: 783,676
Median Income: $79,263 (5th best)
Median Home Price: $409,900.0 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 485.4% (7th best)
More on Essex County: PhotosData

5. Plymouth County

Brockton, MA

Biggest Place: Brockton

Population: 515,303
Median Income: $89,489 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $370,300.0 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 500.1% (9th best)
More on Plymouth County: PhotosData

6. Barnstable County

Barnstable Town, MA

Biggest Place: Barnstable Town

Population: 213,496
Median Income: $74,336 (7th best)
Median Home Price: $393,500.0 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 409.9% (4th best)
More on Barnstable County: PhotosData

7. Hampshire County

Northampton, MA

Biggest Place: Northampton

Population: 161,032
Median Income: $70,876 (9th best)
Median Home Price: $283,100.0 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 545.5% (12th best)
More on Hampshire County: PhotosData

8. Dukes County

Edgartown, MA

Biggest Place: Vineyard Haven

Population: 17,312
Median Income: $71,811 (8th best)
Median Home Price: $699,500.0 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 344.0% (2nd best)
More on Dukes County: PhotosData

9. Franklin County

Greenfield Town, MA

Biggest Place: Greenfield Town

Population: 70,577
Median Income: $60,950 (12th best)
Median Home Price: $232,100.0 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 494.1% (8th best)
More on Franklin County: PhotosData

10. Worcester County

Fitchburg, MA

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Worcester

Population: 824,772
Median Income: $74,679 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $280,600.0 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 500.1% (10th best)
More on Worcester County: PhotosData

How do you determine which Massachusetts county is the best?

To give you the best county in Massachusetts, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what's a "best county" and what isn't. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you'd make at a bar using facts, don't take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Massachusetts across each of the criteria from one to 14, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the "Best County To Live In Massachusetts".

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Bay State.

Read on to see why Norfolk County is the best county, while Hampden County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Massachusetts.

There You Have It - The Best Counties In Massachusetts To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Massachusetts can vary from one part of the state to the next -- who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that's why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here's a look at the worst counties in Massachusetts according to the data:

  1. Hampden County
  2. Suffolk County
  3. Bristol County

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Massachusetts

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Norfolk County 1 700,437 $103,291 $470,800.0
Nantucket County 2 11,168 $107,717 $1,084,700.0
Middlesex County 3 1,600,842 $102,603 $500,700.0
Essex County 4 783,676 $79,263 $409,900.0
Plymouth County 5 515,303 $89,489 $370,300.0
Barnstable County 6 213,496 $74,336 $393,500.0
Hampshire County 7 161,032 $70,876 $283,100.0
Dukes County 8 17,312 $71,811 $699,500.0
Franklin County 9 70,577 $60,950 $232,100.0
Worcester County 10 824,772 $74,679 $280,600.0
Berkshire County 11 126,425 $59,230 $216,100.0
Bristol County 12 561,037 $69,095 $299,800.0
Suffolk County 13 796,605 $69,669 $496,500.0
Hampden County 14 467,871 $55,429 $207,800.0

Talk To A Relocation Expert

Need help figuring out where to move? Email YouTube star Nick Johnson at [email protected].

It's $200 for a phone consultation, and you'll go over politics, weather, cost of living, schools, culture and more to discover which city is the PERFECT place for your family to move to.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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