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slides: Central Massachusetts’ Best Communities 2013: #72-#1

Friday, June 21, 2013

 

What's the best community in Central Massachusetts? What is the best place in the region to live, whether you're a young single, a starting family, or empty-nesters? What city or town combines affordability, safety, schools, arts, culture and recreation and nightlife in the very best balance? GoLocalWorcester's 2nd Annual Central Massachusetts' Best Communities extracts from our Massachusetts' Best Communities 2013 survey, which takes a close, analytical look at all 72 cities and towns in the region to come up with that very answer. After more than 100 hours of analyzing thousands of data points, we have the answer for 2013.

A special focus all week on Central Massachusetts' Best Communities 2013

With updated data, GoLocalWorcester will reveal a special ranking of just the 72 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts, showing how they compare just to each other in overall quality as well as in each of GoLocal's ranking categories.  Monday begins the countdown at #71, and every day we'll reveal more communities, moving up the list toward the Top 10, which will appear on Thursday. What day will your town make the list? And at what ranking? Which towns ranked lower than yours? Which ones higher? Compare the rankings every day, as we move toward the #1 town in Central Massachusetts.

Check the slides, below, for the latest rankings.

On Friday, GoLocal will reveal its Central Massachusetts' Best Communities 2013 Chart, with the latest data on each city and town, so you can compare results across the state, from housing costs to MCAS scores, from crime rates to arts and culture sites.

How GoLocal ranks Central Massachusetts' communities

To translate "great community" into a quantifiable assessment, we went to the data. With rankings created nationally by leading media sources like Kiplinger's and Money Magazine, we created our own set of criteria for what makes a community great. 

Our researchers spent hours poring over measures from public sources that help define a great place to live. We gathered and assessed housing prices, tax rates, median household incomes, crime statistics, and school performance on standardized tests in elementary, middle, and high schools. We counted places to go out and have fun, from bars and restaurants, to theaters, historic sites and museums, and golf courses. We even counted libraries. (For a full explanation of our methodology and sources, go here.)

New for 2013: Take our poll

Get ready to vote, Central Massachusetts. Today, let us know which aspect of community matters most to you. On Thursday, vote on what are the best things in the Top 10 towns in special town polls.

New for 2013: Voices from the communities

GoLocal will speak with local officials, as well as experts on communities and urban life throughout the week, sharing their insights on what makes our cities and towns more or less livable. Read what they have to say about how communities are changing and how that affects our lives right here in Central Mass.

What the rankings mean... to you

This is Central Massachusetts, remember, and we're expecting to hear from you. How do you feel about your town's ranking? What do the measures we use tell you about your community? Join the conversation about Best Communities here in comments, on your town's profile, and on Facebook, here. Share the piece, talk to your friends and neighbors, and enjoy the biggest backyard conversation Central Mass. has ever seen.

And stay tuned all week.

Research by Sean Quinn, Stephanie Hayes, E-Soo Kim, Ben McKay, Karen Mills, Michelle Johnstone, and Kalena Crafton. Photography by Caitlin Gill. 

 

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