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Worcester Ranked 77th in U.S. for Families

Thursday, September 08, 2016

 

Worcester has been ranked 77th in the country for families out of 150 cities included in the study. 

"The average American can expect to move anestimated 11.7 times during his or her lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Moving can be a sign of opportunity — perhaps a new job or long-term wealth accumulation — or of instability such as foreclosure or job loss. The key in either case — whether you’re a newly married couple or a victim of America’s economic transition — is to choose an area conducive to economic prosperity and the overall pursuit of happiness," said WalletHub.

WalletHub says that Worcester ranks 119th for family fun, 94th for health and safety, 6th for education and child care, 117th for affordability, and 107th for socioeconomic environment. 

The Rankings 

Worcester ranks 77th behind Yonkers, New York and Fayetteville, North Carolina at 75 and 76 respectively, while ranking ahead of Chicago, Illinois and Honolulu, Hawaii at 78 and 79 respectively. 

Birmingham, Alabama is ranked as the worst city for families, while Overland Park, Kansas is ranked as the best city. 

See the map below for complete rankings. 

Source: WalletHub

The Method 

To identify the cities that are best for families, WalletHub compared the 150 U.S. cities across five dimensions including, family fun,  health and safety, education and child care, affordability,and socioeconomic environment.

WalletHub evaluated the categories using 36 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale with 100 being the best score. 

They then calculated overall scores for each city using the weighted average across all metrics, which they then used to construct the final rankings. 

The 150 cities were selected based on population size and the availably of reliable data. 

Family Fun – Total Points: 20

  • Number of Playgrounds per Capita: Full Weight (~1.60 Points)
  • Number of Ice Rinks per Capita: Half Weight (~0.80 Points)
  • Number of Skate Parks per Capita: Half Weight (~0.80 Points)
  • Parkland Acreage per Capita: Half Weight (~0.80 Points)
  • Walkability: Full Weight (~1.60 Points)
  • WalletHub “Sports Fans” Ranking: Double Weight (~3.20 Points)
  • WalletHub “Recreation” Ranking: Double Weight (~3.20 Points)
  • Number of Attractions (e.g., zoos, museums, theaters): Full Weight (~1.60 Points)
  • WalletHub “Weather” Ranking: Full Weight (~1.60 Points)
  • Percentage of Families with Children Aged 0 to 17: Double Weight (~3.20 Points)
  • Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~1.60 Points)

Health & Safety – Total Points: 20

  • Air Quality: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Water Quality: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Number of Pediatricians per Capita: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Percentage of Children (Aged 0 to 17) Lacking Health-Insurance Coverage: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Public Hospitals Ranking: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Infant Mortality Rate: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Violent-Crime Rate per Capita: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Property-Crime Rate per Capita: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)

Education & Child Care – Total Points: 20

  • WalletHub “School Systems” Ranking: Double Weight (~8.00 Points)
  • High School Graduation Rate: Half* Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Day-Care Quality: Half* Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Child-Care Costs: Half* Weight (~2.00 Points)

 

Note: This metric was adjusted for the median family income.

  • Number of Child Day-Care Services per Capita: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • “Parental Leave Policy” Score: Half* Weight (~2.00 Points)

Affordability – Total Points: 20

  • Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)

 

Note: This metric was calculated by dividing median annual family income by housing costs and accounts for both rent and home sales prices.

  • Cost of Living: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)

 

Note: This metric was calculated by dividing median annual family income by the cost-of-living index.

  • WalletHub “Wallet Wellness” Ranking: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)

Socioeconomic Environment – Total Points: 20

  • Separation & Divorce Rate: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Percentage of Two-Parent Families: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Percentage of Families Living Below the Poverty Line: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Percentage of Families Receiving Food Stamps: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Wealth Gap: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
  • Foreclosure Rate: Half Weight (~1.33 Points)
  • “Social Ties” Ranking: Full Weight (~2.67 Points)
 

Related Slideshow: Massachusetts’ Best Communities 2015: #100-#1

Prev Next

#100 Northampton

Lovingly nicknamed "The Paradise City," Northampton has long been a progressive, politically liberal community.  From Northampton's strong abolitionist presence in the mid-1800's, the Clarke School for the Deaf (the first of its kind) in 1867, all the way up to today's artistic and counter-culture staples in society, Northampton always has a way of being ahead of the times.

Northampton by the numbers

Established: 1884
Population: 28,549
Median household income: $57,991
Median housing price: $284,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 100
Affordability ranking: 275
Education ranking: 206
Economic Condition ranking: 280
Safety ranking: 252
Arts & Culture ranking: 31

Famous people

Northampton has churned out famous political voices on both sides of the spectrum. U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, a conservative Republican, worked his way up the political ladder by starting as mayor of Northampton.  Conversely, Rachel Maddow, one of the leading liberal political commentators in media today, also is a Northampton resident.

Prev Next

#99 Aquinnah

Aquinnah is a town located on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. It is known for its beautiful clay cliffs and quiet natural serenity. Below the clay cliffs is Jungle Beach, named to reflect its reputation as one of the few nude beaches left in the U.S.

Aquinnah by the numbers

Established: 1870
Population: 311
Median household income: $76,667
Median housing price: $940,500

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 100
Affordability ranking: 348
Education ranking: 3
Economic condition ranking: 160
Safety ranking: 
Arts & Culture ranking: 259
 

Prev Next

#98 Seekonk

Established in 1812 after years of border disputes among nearby towns, Seekonk was largely an agricultural community before the industrial revolution brought manufacturing to the northeast.  Farming reigned supreme for decades in Seekonk, but in modern times the town has been developed and modernized into a suburuban community. One unique attraction to seekonk is the "Seekonk Speedway" fast track, which has been bringing residents and visitors together since 1946.

Seekonk by the numbers

Established: 1812
Population: 13,722
Median household income: $70,966
Median housing price: $303,100

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 98
Affordability ranking: 173
Education ranking: 141
Economic Condition ranking: 201
Safety ranking: 238
Arts & Culture ranking: 67

Prev Next

#97 Milton

Milton is the birthplace of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and architect Buckminster Fuller. Milton also has the highest percentage of residents citing Irish heritage of any town in the United States; 38%. In 2007, 2009, and 2011, Money Magazine listed Milton 7th, 5th, and 2nd, respectively, on its annual list of the "Best Places to Live" in the United States.

Milton by the numbers

Established: 1662
Population: 27,003
Median household income: $111,071
Median housing price: $484,000

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 97
Affordability ranking: 193
Education ranking: 75
Economic condition ranking: 36
Safety ranking: 143
Arts & Culture ranking: 179

Famous people

Dana Barros, former NBA player
Jonathan Belcher, governor of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and New Jersey Provinces
Josiah Bent, manufacturer
Tim Bulman, NFL player, Houston Texans
George H. W. Bush, 41st president of the United States
Ken Casey, bassist and co-lead vocalist of Celtic punk rock group Dropkick Murphys
Chris Cleary, former professional soccer player
Hal Clement, science fiction Grand Master, Hugo Award
Jill Ker Conway, Australian-born novelist
Stephen Davis, music journalist and biographer.
T. S. Eliot, poet, student at Milton Academy
William Ralph Emerson, "Father" of the Shingle Style form of architecture
Jim Fahey, NHL player, NJ Devils
Thomas Flatley, real-estate developer
Elbie Fletcher, All-Star first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates
John Ferruggio, led the evacuation of Pan Am Flight 93 in 1970
John Murray Forbes, American railroad magnate, merchant, philanthropist and abolitionist.
Robert Bennet Forbes, Sea captain, China merchant, ship owner, and writer.
Buckminster Fuller, architect and futurist
George V. Higgins, attorney, writer
Rich Hill, pitcher for the Washington Nationals
Thomas Hutchinson (governor)
Abigail Johnson, President of Fidelity Investments, 5th richest woman in the world according to Forbes magazine
Howard Deering Johnson, restaurateur, founder of Howard Johnson's franchising
Trish Karter, entrepreneur
Jordan Knight, singer New Kids on the Block
Janet Langhart
Johnny Martorano, Winter Hill Gang member
Charles Munch, Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1949 to 1962 
Kate O'Neill, long distance runner
William Ordway Partridge, sculptor, poet, and author
Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts
Everett P. Pope, Medal of Honor recipient born in Milton
Mike Ryan, NHL player, Buffalo Sabres
Jenny Slate, comedian on Saturday Night Live.
Luis Tiant, former Boston Red Sox pitcher
Steve Trapilo, former NFL player for New Orleans Saints
Ronan Tynan, Irish tenor [30]
John Valentin, former Boston Red Sox infielder
Mark Vonnegut, writer, son of American author Kurt Vonnegut
Roger Vose, United States Representative from New Hampshire
Keith Yandle, NHL player, New York Rangers

Prev Next

#96 Upton

Settled in 1728, Upton was originally an agrarian society but, with a late 19th century industrialization, became home to the world's largest women's hat factory, Knowlton Hat Factory, in 1872. A century later, Aerosmith played their first gig at what was the Nipmuc Regional High School, today the Miscoe Hill Middle School. It is also home to Upton State Forest where people hike, walk dogs, and ride horses, other parks, and a variety of stores and restaurants.  

Upton by the numbers
Established: 1735
Population: 7542
Median household income: $105,729
Median housing price: $390,100

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 96
Affordability ranking: 94
Education ranking: 67
Economic condition ranking: 51
Safety ranking: 57
Arts & Culture ranking: 224
 
Famous residents  
Guylan Qudsieh, CBS reality show (Kid Nation) participant

Prev Next

#95 Norwell

Originally an agricultural community, Norwell developed a strong shipbuilding industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. In present times, Norwell is a modern community with cultural attractions like the South Shore Natural Science Center, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the natural environments of the South Shore.

Norwell by the numbers

Established: 1849
Population: 10,506
Median household income: $113,944
Median housing price: $551,500

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 95
Affordability ranking: 261
Education ranking: 65
Economic Condition ranking: 31
Safety ranking: 115
Arts & Culture ranking: 167

Famous people

Jan Brett, children's author/illustrator
Jennifer Coolidge, actress
Jeff Corwin, naturalist, television show host on Animal Planet
Les Sampou, folk singer and songwriter
Susan Tedeschi, blues musician
Dan Wetzel, sportswriter

Prev Next

#94 Attleboro

Re-incorporated as a city in 1914 after over 200 years as the town of Attleborough, Attleboro's community draws from its place in both the Boston and Providence, RI metropolitan areas.  Attleboro was known as "The Jewelry Capital of the World" in the early 20th century and continues to be a hub for jewelry manufacturing to this day.

Attleboro by the numbers

Established: 1914
Population: 43,593
Median household income: $67,039
Median housing price: $276,200

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 94
Affordability ranking: 166
Education ranking: 131
Economic Condition ranking: 224
Safety ranking: 225
Arts & Culture ranking: 63

Famous people

Roger Bowen, comedic actor most famous for his portrayal of Lt. Col. Henry Blake in M*A*S*H
George Bradburn,  politician known for his support for abolition and women’s rights
Geoff Cameron, professional soccer player who played on the U.S. national team in the 2014 World Cup.
Horace CapronUnion Army officer during the Civil War,  agricultural advisor to Japan- his methods revolutionized Japanese agriculture.
David Cobb, major general of the Continental Army, speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts
Paul G. Gaffney II, President, Monmouth University, US Navy Vice Admiral, former Chief of Naval Research, President of National Defense University
William Manchester (1922–2004), historian and biographer, author of The Death of a President
Jonathan Maxcy (1768–1820), Baptist clergyman and president of Brown University[38]
Daniel Read, composer
Ken Ryan, former pitcher for the Red Sox

Prev Next

#93 Hingham

Approximately 15 miles south of Boston lies the town of Hingham. The immaculately kept antique houses - one of which includes the "Old Ordinary" on Lincoln Street - define the community's past colonial history. And as a town located on the South Shore of Massachusetts, the 21 miles of shoreline is a perfect site for recreational activities. The harbor provides safe anchorage for pleasure boats and World’s End reservation area provides unsurpassed views from its hills to Boston and beyond. Lower Main Street near Hingham Square is home to The Old Ship Church – a church fashioned by Hingham’s shipwrights in 1681 and still serves as a Meeting House, and is National Historic Landmark. It is the only Meeting House built in the 17th century in the United States that still exists.

Hingham by the numbers

Established: 1635

Population: 22,157
Median household income: $106,854
Median housing price: $712,500

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 93
Affordability ranking: 319
Education ranking: 102
Economic condition ranking: 46
Safety ranking: 178
Arts & Culture ranking: 55

Famous people

Bobby Allen, Providence Bruins AHL player
Tony Amonte, National Hockey League (NHL) player
John F. Andrew, 19th century United States Congressman
Issachar Bates, prominent Shaker composer and church leader, was born in Hingham in 1758
Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots professional football team
Brian Boyle, New York Rangers NHL player
Andy Brickley, former NHL player
Marc Brown, children's author known primarily for the Arthur series of picture books (and related TV show)
Prescott Bush Jr., brother of 41st President George H.W. Bush and Uncle of 43rd President George W. Bush
Fox Butterfield, wrote for the New York Times
Ken Casey, bassist and co-lead vocalist of the Irish punk rock group Dropkick Murphys
William Orcutt Cushing, Unitarian minister and hymn writer
Herbert L. Foss, recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Spanish-American War
Bob Graham, former U.S. senator from Florida
Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern University women's lacrosse coach, 5-time NCAA champions
Capt. Joshua Hobart, Hingham representative to the Massachusetts General Court and Deputy for 25 years, Speaker of the House, member, Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company
Rev. Peter Hobart, founding minister, Hingham's First Parish Church, later Old Ship Church[
Elisha Leavitt, Tory whose invitation to British forces to use his Grape Island sparked early Revolutionary War skirmish
John Leavitt, early Hingham settler, deacon, Old Ship Church, namesake of Hingham's Leavitt Street
Josiah Leavitt, physician and inventor
General Benjamin Lincoln, Revolutionary War general, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Levi Lincoln, Sr., United States Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Samuel Lincoln, weaver's apprentice, ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln
Mary Hawke Thaxter, descendant of Hingham settlers, born in Hingham and mother of John Hancock
Sean McDonough, TV sportscaster
Marty McInnis, NHL player
Suzanne Parsons, player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Rev. Robert Peck, clergyman, and was a founder of the town of Hingham, Massachusetts.
Judson Pratt, actor
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe sports writer and editor
David Silk, NHL player
Frank Spaziani, former head coach of the Boston College Eagles football team
Isaac Sprague, the best-known American botanical illustrator in the 1800s
The Unseen, punk rock group
Tim Wakefield, knuckleball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox baseball team
Roger Noble Burnham, sculptor. He designed and sculpted the Tommy Trojan statue for University of Southern California
Caroline Blake, WNBA player

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#92 Boxborough

On October 16, 2005, the Boxborough Historical Society opened the Boxborough Museum. The museum is located at 575 Middle Road and is open several Sundays a year. Boxborough is also known for Steele Farm, a popular location for sledding and hikes.

Boxborough by the numbers
Established: 1783
Population: 4,996
Median household income: $101,502
Median housing price: $492,700

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 92
Affordability ranking: 273
Education ranking: 15
Economic condition ranking: 56
Safety ranking: 32
Arts & Culture ranking: 286

Famous people

Allen Bourbeau, Harvard University, played with Team USA at the 1988 Winter Olympics
Ted Crowley, NHL professional hockey player; grew up on Guggins Lane
Dr. Adil Najam, member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Bill Rodgers, runner, winner of the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon.
Dr. Isadore Singer, mathematician, recipient of the Abel Prize.
Bob Sweeney, NHL professional hockey player and brother-in-law of Madeline Amy Sweeney.
Madeline Amy Sweeney, flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11 when it was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She was the first person to report the hijacking.
Fred Wesley Wentworth (1864-1943), architect known many buildings in Downtown Paterson, New Jersey

Prev Next

#91 Boxford

Boxford is a rural community with minimal commercial development. Geographically large but comparitively small in population, Boxford has numerous lakes, streams, forests, and other places where wildlife can thrive.

Boxford by the numbers

Established: 1685
Population: 7,965
Median household income: $125,833
Median housing price: $572,900

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 
Affordability ranking: 91
Education ranking: 46
Economic Condition ranking: 21
Safety ranking: 14
Arts & Culture ranking: 258

Famous people

Boxford has been home to a number of star athletes,most notably former Red Sox outfielder Carl Yaztrzemski and former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque.

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#90 Wrentham

Wrentham was first settled by the English in 1660 and officially incorporated in 1673. It was burned down during King Philip's War 1675-1676. For a short time, it was the residence of the educational reformer Horace Mann. It is also known as one of the residences of Helen Keller.

Wrentham by the numbers
Established: 1673
Population: 10,955
Median household income: $100,574
Median housing price: $406,900

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 90
Affordability ranking: 147
Education ranking: 74
Economic condition ranking: 58
Safety ranking: 228
Arts & Culture ranking: 166

Famous people

Scott Brown - former Republican United States Senator of Massachusetts lived in Wrentham.
Lofa Tatupu - National Football League Linebacker drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2005.
Gail Huff - Former News Reporter for WCVB-TV and wife of Scott Brown.
Garth Snow - former NHL goaltender and current GM of the New York Islanders.
John Cena-WWE wrestler. Owns seasonal home on Lake Archer
The Zoellner Quartet maintained its summer residence in Wrentham until moving to California in 1922.

Prev Next

#89 West Bridgewater

West Bridgewater was first settled in 1651 as a part of Olde Bridgewater. The town separated from Bridgewater, Massachusetts and was officially incorporated in 1822, the second of the three communities to separate from Bridgewater (after North Bridgewater, now Brockton, and before East Bridgewater) over the span of three years. 

West Bridgewater by the numbers
Established: 1822
Population: 6,916
Median household income: $80,347
Median housing price: $301,900

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 89
Affordability ranking: 116
Education ranking: 71
Economic condition ranking: 134
Safety ranking: 222
Arts & Culture ranking: 151

Famous people

Cyrus Alger (1781–1856), inventor, owner of the shop which produced the first rifled gun
Spike Feresten, talk show host on Fox
Jack Gallagher, Nationally known comedian

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#88 Pembroke

Most notable of the town's resources are its water resources, which include the North River and Indian Head River; its ponds, Oldham, Furnace, Great Sandy Bottom, Little Sandy Bottom, and Stetson Ponds; and Silver Lake. The town's ponds, streams and marshes are the home of herring that were prized so much that in 1741, the town began regulating the taking and preservation of the fish. The herring are celebrated each year at the town's annual "Grande Old Fish Fry"

Pembroke by the numbers
Established: 1712
Population: 17,837
Median household income: $86,887
Median housing price: $348,100

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 88
Affordability ranking: 136
Education ranking: 108
Economic condition ranking: 101
Safety ranking: 86
Arts & Culture ranking: 105

Famous people

Gleason Archer, Sr., founder of Suffolk University, author
Meg Lee Chin, singer & songwriter
Thomas Humphrey Cushing, Revolutionary War officer and Adjutant General of the U.S. Army
Ben Edlund, creator of The Tick and TV producer
Eric Flaim, Olympic silver medalist in speed skating
Stephen N. Gifford, politician and longtime Clerk of the Massachusetts Senate
Duane Joyce, professional hockey player
Joseph Leavitt, Revolutionary War conscientious objector
Alexander Parris, architect
Dwight E. Sargent, journalist
Pat Seltsam, Olympic speedskater, 1990 national champion and World Cup medalist in 1989
Dave Shea, former Boston Bruins play-by-play announcer
Josiah Smith, United States congressman
Kevin Stevens, National Hockey League All-Star left winger
Buddy Teevens, football coach for Dartmouth College
Harry Irving Thayer, United States congressman
Luke Vercollone, professional soccer player
Niki Cross, professional soccer player
Harry M. Woods, lyricist and composer of "When the Red Red Robin Comes Bobbin' Along" and "Try a Little Tenderness"

Prev Next

#87 Reading

Reading provides a small town atmosphere with close proximity (12 miles) to downtown Boston, so residents can get the best of both worlds.  This community has long been a leader on education, dating back to 1693 when the town first voted to fund pubic schools.  Famous residents include Celtics' great Bill Russell and Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford. 

Reading by the numbers

Established: 1644
Population: 24,747
Median household income: $105,459
Median housing price: $438,100

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 87
Affordability ranking: 159
Education ranking: 114
Economic Condition ranking: 52
Safety ranking: 44
Arts & Culture ranking: 119

Famous people

Brad Whitford, guitarist for Aerosmith, a member of the RMHS class of '70
Bill Russell, professional basketball player and coach
Thomas Parker, founder of Reading
Jess Brallier, award-winning publisher, best-selling author, and web publisher
Mark Erelli, folk musician
William M. Fowler, U.S. naval historian, professor at Northeastern University and former director of the Massachusetts Historical Society
Fred Foy, radio and television announcer for the Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, and Dick Cavett shows
Lennie Merullo, MLB player and scout
John Doherty, Major League Baseball player
Moses Nichols, officer during the Revolutionary War
Eddie Peabody, banjo player

Prev Next

#86 Manchester by the Sea

For its first 200 years Manchester by the Sea thrived as a fishing community until 1845 when  it became the summer home destination of choice for Boston’s wealthy elite. This trend was bolstered by the efforts of famous architects, who constructed homes in the area. One mile from the town center is Singing Beach, so named because of the squeaking symphony the sand makes when walked upon. Also on this beach is “Eaglehead” a massive rock that is a focal point for rock climbing and other recreational activities.

Manchester By The Sea by the numbers

Established: 1645

Population: 5,136
Median household income: $115,650
Median housing price: $801,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 86
Affordability ranking: 320
Education ranking: 28
Economic condition ranking: 31
Safety ranking: 39
Arts & Culture ranking: 232

Famous people

Nat Faxon, comedian and Oscar winner for adapted screenplay for The Descendants at the 84th Academy Awards
Josh Gates, host of Destination Truth—former resident
Sprague Grayden, actress
Henry Northey Hooper, a founder of the sugar industry in Hawaii
William Northey Hooper, manufacturer and Boston politician
Joe Lloyd, professional golfer
James McMillan, Michigan senator instrumental in the design of the Washington Mall, died (1902) at his summer home in Manchester
Susan Minot, author
Ray Ozzie, software entrepreneur
George Putnam III, trustee of Putnam Investments
Gardner Read, composer (1913–2005)
Jay Severin, radio talk show host
Josiah Spaulding, businessman, attorney, and politician; chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party from 1965-1970

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#85 Marblehead

The Marblehead Lighthouse, Wildlife Sanctuary, and several parks and beaches make Marblehead a destination community.  Like Beverly, Marblehead claims to be the birthplace of the Navy, and the community also has strong industries in fishing and yachting.

Marblehead by the numbers

Established: 1649
Population: 19,808
Median household income: $98,399
Median housing price: $565,200

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 85
Affordability ranking: 292
Education ranking: 81
Economic Condition ranking: 64
Safety ranking: 58
Arts & Culture ranking: 124

Famous people

From Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story to Nobel Prize winner Eugene O'Neil, there's no shortage of impressive Marblehead natives through the years.

Prev Next

#84 Bedford

First settled in 1640 by the English, Bedford is located between the Concord and Shawsheen rivers. Being a neighbor to Lexington and Concord, Bedford had a lot of involvement in the early parts of the Revolutionary War.  Located just 14 miles away from Boston, Bedford is a mostly residential town. 


Bedford by the numbers
Established: 1729
Population: 13,320
Median household income: $107,705
Median housing price: $540,400

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 84
Affordability ranking: 274
Education ranking: 43
Economic condition ranking: 43
Safety ranking: 24
Arts & Culture ranking: 163

Famous people

Joe Bellino, Heisman Trophy - 1960, Naval Academy
Doug Ardito, rock musician[18]
Doug Coombs, professional skier[19]
Taecyeon, member of South Korean pop group, 2PM[20]
Wilbur Wood, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and other MLB teams
Kaan Zoroglu, Internet Mogul and Owner of Bigfoot Marketing

Prev Next

#83 Groveland

Groveland was originally the East Parish of Bradford, which was originally part of the town of Rowley. Before Bradford was separated from Rowley in 1672, it was called "Rowley on the Merrimack", or just "Merrimack". Bradford in turn was annexed by Haverhill in 1897. Groveland officially incorporated as a separate town on September 9, 1850. Groveland residents celebrate the anniversary of this date as Groveland Day.

Groveland by the numbers
Established: 1667
Population: 6,459
Median household income: $97,463
Median housing price: $354,200

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 83
Affordability ranking: 71
Education ranking: 58
Economic condition ranking: 66
Safety ranking: 3
Arts & Culture ranking: 231

Famous people

John G. B. Adams, American soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the American Civil War.
Pat Badger, bassist for the Boston band Extreme
Larry Dorr, lifelong resident. Manager of Blood Sweat & Tears for 26 years, as well as many other musicians

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#82 Essex

They say that the river calls you, but the town keeps you, and this beautiful Cape Ann small town on the river that bears its name has a legacy of shipbuilding and the beautiful architecture that stems from it.

Essex by the numbers

Established: 1819

Population: 3,504

Median household income: $74,211
Median housing price: $349,400
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 82
Affordability ranking: 251
Education ranking: 27
Economic condition ranking: 174
Safety ranking: 49
Arts & Culture ranking: 171

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#81 Lancaster

As the oldest town in all of Worcester County, Lancaster has a deeply rooted and rich history. There are old houses scattered throughout the town and a historic church on the Town Green. With historic sites, apple orchards, beautiful ponds and parks, there is something for every adventure seeker in Lancaster. Located just off of Route 2, near Route 495, the town continues to  experience significant development from large parcels of available undeveloped land.

Lancaster by the numbers

Established: 1653
Population: 8,055
Median household income: $77,575
Median housing price: $295,800

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 81
Affordability ranking: 153
Education ranking: 12
Economic Condition ranking: 153
Safety ranking: 90
Arts & Culture ranking: 241

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#80 Paxton

Originally part of Leicester and Rutland, Paxton is making plans for the town's 250th anniversary celebration in 2015.  The town has agricultural roots, but has developed into a rural bedroom community. Paxton is home to Anna Maria College and Moore State Park, which has walking trails and an old grist mill, and Treasure Valley Scout Reservation, owned by the Boy Scouts Mohegan Council. A bell, still in use, made by Paul Revere can also be found in the town.  

Paxton by the numbers
Established: 1765
Population: 4,806
Median household income: $103,375       
Median housing price: $285,000

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 80
Affordability ranking: 3
Education ranking: 73
Economic condition ranking: 47
Safety ranking: 25
Arts & Culture ranking: 270

Famous people
Ralph Earl, Painter

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#79 Mendon

Southwick’s Zoo, Massachusetts’s largest zoo, and Twin Drive-In, one of only three drive in theaters in the state, are the top attractions found in “Mother Mendon.” Although it primarily serves as a commuter town, Mendon has experienced significant commercial development along Route 16. It is also the home of America's first legal woman voter--Lydia Chapin Taft.

Mendon by the numbers
Established: 1667
Population: 5839
Median household income: $105,389
Median housing price: $372,200

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 79
Affordability ranking: 61
Education ranking: 66
Economic condition ranking: 54
Safety ranking: 81
Arts & Culture ranking: 202

Famous people
Ezra T Benson, Mormon pioneer
Alexander Scammel, Revolutionary War officer
Lydia Taft, First US female voter
Eli Thayer, Abolitionist Congressman

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#78 Newburyport

A small coastal city in Essex County, Newburyport is known for its historic seaport that cultivates a significant tourist population. Annual events like Waterfront Concert Series and Newburyport Literary Festival attract the attention of residents and tourists alike. The Yankee Homecoming festival held every summer celebrates the coming home of natives to Newburyport and is the second oldest homecoming festival in the United States.

Newburyport by the numbers

Established: 1764

Population: 17,416
Median household income: $78,638
Median housing price: $429,000
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 78
Affordability ranking: 295
Education ranking: 113
Economic condition ranking: 144
Safety ranking: 109
Arts & Culture ranking: 54

Famous people

Raymond Abbott, author
John Quincy Adams, U.S. president
Caleb Cushing, diplomat and politician
"Lord" Timothy Dexter, eccentric
Andre Dubus III, novelist
William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist
Adolphus Greely, polar explorer
Charles Tillinghast James, mechanical engineer, designer, senator
Rufus King, diplomat and politician
Thomas B. Lawson, artist
Francis Cabot Lowell, manufacturer
John Lowell, congressman and federal judge
John P. Marquand, author
Donald McKay, shipbuilder
Johnny Messner, actor
Robert S. Mulliken, recipient of 1966 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Theophilus Parsons, jurist
James Parton, biographer
Edmund Pearson, librarian and true crime writer
Jacob Perkins, early American inventor
Timothy Pilsbury, congressman from Texas
Harriet Prescott Spofford, writer
Charles A. Spring, influential Presbyterian leader in Iowa and Illinois
Rev. Gardiner Spring, author of the Gardiner Spring Resolutions, which gained Abraham Lincoln the support of the Presbyterian Church
Rev. Samuel Spring, religious leader, chaplain in Benedict Arnold's army
Matthew Thornton, signer of the Declaration of Independence
William S. Tilton, Civil War brigade commander at the Battle of Gettysburg
Peter Tolan, television/film producer and writer
William Wheelwright, sea captain, US consul in Chile, steamship and railroad promoter in South America

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#77 Woburn

Woburn got its name from Woburn, Bedfordshire. Woburn was first settled in 1640 near Horn Pond, a primary source of the Mystic River, and was officially incorporated in 1642. At that time the area included present day towns of Woburn, Winchester, Burlington, and parts of Stoneham and Wilmington. In 1730 Wilmington separated from Woburn. 

Woburn by the numbers
Established: 1642
Population: 38,120
Median household income: $74,431
Median housing price: $363,100

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 77
Affordability ranking: 229
Education ranking: 250
Economic condition ranking: 171
Safety ranking: 164
Arts & Culture ranking: 24

Famous people

Samuel Warren Abbott, an American physician.
Col. Loammi Baldwin, Revolutionary War engineer, builder of the Middlesex Canal.
Eric Bogosian, actor, playwright and novelist.
John Carter, former Boston Bruins player.
Edward Convers, founder of Woburn
Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber
John Martyn Harlow, financier, civic leader, physician to Phineas Gage
Edward Johnson, "Father of Woburn"
Courtney Kennedy, dual Olympic medalist in Women's Ice Hockey
Nancy Kerrigan, figure skater
Charles McMahon, Marine Corporal, one of final two American servicemen killed in the Vietnam War
Julia O'Connor, labor leader
David Robinson, American rock drummer.
Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, scientist and inventor
Lyle R. Wheeler, Academy Award-winning art-director
Philemon Wright, regarded as founder of the Canadian cities Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec

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#76 Littleton

Littleton was first settled by white settlers in 1686 and was officially incorporated by act of the Massachusetts General Court on November 2, 1714. The town was also the location of the sixth Praying Indian village established by John Eliot called Nashoba Plantation, on the land between Lake Nagog and Fort Pond.

Littleton by the numbers
Established: 1715
Population: 8924
Median household income: $105,455
Median housing price: $382,700

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 76
Affordability ranking: 90
Education ranking: 42
Economic condition ranking: 53
Safety ranking: 99
Arts & Culture ranking: 230

Famous people

Shawn Andrews, actor
Ron Borges, sports writer for the Boston Herald
Levi Conant, mathematician and developer of the Number Concept in 1896
Ed Fletcher, politician who served as California State Senator until 1947
Alonzo Hartwell, engraver and portrait painter; father of Henry W. Hartwell
Henry W. Hartwell, architect with Hartwell and Richardson
Greg Hawkes, keyboard player for the 1970s-1980s New Wave group, The Cars, lived in Littleton during the band's early years before moving to Lincoln.
Erik P. Kraft, author and illustrator
Sean McAdam, sports writer for ESPN and The Providence Journal
Harrison Reed, governor of Florida until 1899
Peleg Sprague, New Hampshire politician who served as a US Senator until 1835 and a US District Court Judge until 1865
Steve Carell, worked as a mail carrier in the town before going to The Second City.

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#75 Hanover

The area of Hanover was first settled by English settlers in 1649 when William Barstow, a farmer, built a bridge along the North River at what is now Washington Street. The land was the westernmost portion of the town of Scituate, and it would officially separate and be incorporated as a town June 14, 1727. 

Hanover by the numbers
Established: 1727
Population: 13,879
Median household income: $99,250
Median housing price: $438,600

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 75
Affordability ranking:213
Education ranking: 101
Economic condition ranking: 60
Safety ranking: 145
Arts & Culture ranking: 78

Famous people

George Washington Carver lived in a small cabin on the North River in Hanover for several months while he worked on his autobiography.
Nichole Hiltz, actress
Faith Salie, the actress lived in town for a few years after her birth.

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#74 Sandwich

Based on the motto “after so many shipwrecks, a haven,” Sandwich is the site of the Cape Cod Bay entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. In addition to the six beaches alongside Cape Cod Bay, historic homes like the Benjamin Nye Homestead and the Benjamin Holway House are prominent features of the town. Other attractions that lure in visitors include the Heritage Museums and Gardens and the Sandwich Glass Museum. The Sandwich town boardwalk is also a popular site for tourists.

Sandwich by the numbers

Established: 1637

Population: 20,675
Median household income: $82,617
Median housing price: $349,900

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 74
Affordability ranking: 174
Education ranking: 90
Economic condition ranking: 119
Safety ranking: 130
Arts & Culture ranking: 91

Famous people

Bobby Orr, Hall of Fame Boston Bruins Hockey Player, owns a home in Sandwich.
Sam Brown, comedian and writer of the sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U Know
Charles H. Bridges, Adjutant General of the United States Army from 1928-1933.
Aimee-Lynn Chadwick, actress and musician
Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman, the star of the Food Network's Ace of Cakes, moved to Sandwich as a child.
James Jackson Jarves, was an American newspaper editor, art critic and art collector
Thornton Burgess, conservationist, and author

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#73 Dedham

Settled in 1635 by people from Roxbury and Watertown, Dedham was incorporated in 1636. It became the county seat ofNorfolk County when the county formed on March 26, 1793. When the Town was originally incorporated, the residents wanted to name it Contentment.

Dedham by the numbers
Established: 1636
Population: 24,729
Median household income: $84,704
Median housing price: $373,700

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 73
Affordability ranking: 214
Education ranking: 140
Economic condition ranking: 110
Safety ranking: 202
Arts & Culture ranking: 51

 

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#72 Watertown

Archeological evidence suggests that Watertown was inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival of settlers from England. Watertown was one of the earliest Massachusetts Bay settlements in 1630. Due to location and good public schools Watertown makes a desirable community for families with children.

Watertown by the numbers
Established: 1630
Population: 31,915
Median household income: $87,401
Median housing price: $432,100

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 72
Affordability ranking: 266
Education ranking: 185
Economic condition ranking: 95
Safety ranking: 151
Arts & Culture ranking: 34

Famous people

Richard Bakalyan (1931–2015), actor[25]
Boston, the Boston-based rock group led by Tom Scholz, recorded the majority of the (17x) Platinum eponymous album Boston at the Foxglove Studio in Watertown.
Charles Brigham (1841–1925), nationally known architect and designer of the Watertown town seal
Benjamin Robbins Curtis (1809–74), American jurist. Dissented in the Dred Scott case and defended Andrew Johnson during the president's impeachment trial.
Frederick C. Crawford (1891–1994), American Industrialist, founder of TRW and Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum
Jeff DaRosa (1982–), Musician, member of Dropkick Murphys and former member of the Exit
James DeMarco (1968–), artist and cartoonist
Eliza Dushku (1980–), film and TV actress, grew up in Watertown and graduated from Watertown High School
Convers Francis (1795–1863), a minister ordained at the Watertown Unitarian Church, who, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and others, had an important role in transcendentalism
Hrach Gregorian (1949–), PhD, grew up in Watertown, 1968 Watertown High School graduate. Faculty member at several universities, business executive, writer and teacher on international conflict management and post-conflict peace-building.
Thomas Hastings (colonist) (c1605–1685), English immigrant ancestor of Rev. Theodore Parker, among others
Drastamat Kanayan, better known as Dro (Դրօ), was an Armenian military commander and politician, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He served as Defense Minister of Armenia in 1920, during the country's brief independence. Dro died in Watertown on March 8, 1956 and was buried at Watertown Memorial Cemetery.
Helen Keller (1880–1968), attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind
Thomas Mayhew, early settler and Governor of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and adjacent islands
Stephen P. Mugar (1901–82), founder of Star Market, philanthropist
Christopher Nowinski (1978–), former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler (maintains a house here).[citation needed]
John Oldham (1592–1636), early Puritan settler
Charles Pratt (1830–91), wealthy oil industry pioneer and philanthropist
Robert Seeley (1602–68), co-founder of Watertown, landowner
Charles Sumner Tainter (1854–1940), inventor, associate and nephew of Alexander Graham Bell
Jerry York (1945–), Boston College Men's head ice hockey coach

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#71 Wakefield

Wakefield was first settled in 1638 as Lynn Village. It officially separated from Lynn and incorporated as Reading in 1644 when the first church and mill were established. This first corn mill was built on the Mill River on Water Street, and later small saw mills were built on the Mill River and the Saugus River.

Wakefield by the numbers
Established: 1812
Population: 24,932
Median household income: $84,011
Median housing price: $407,800

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 71
Affordability ranking: 243
Education ranking: 112
Economic condition ranking: 111
Safety ranking: 137
Arts & Culture ranking: 59

Famous people

Elizabeth Boit, textile manufacturer
Scott Brown, Massachusetts State and US Senator preceded by Ted Kennedy; defeated in 2012 reelection bid by Elizabeth Warren and in 2014 bid in New Hampshire by Jeanne Shaheen
Joe Cannata, Merrimack College goalie and 2009 Vancouver Canucks draftee, current Chicago Wolves goalie
Carleton S. Coon, anthropologist
David Dellinger, radical pacifist and member of the Chicago Seven, born in Wakefield and graduated from Wakefield Memorial High School in 1932
John Galvin, US Army general and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
Kayla Harrison, first ever woman to win Olympic gold in Judo and 2010 World champion in the sport.
Israel Horovitz, playwright and screenwriter born March 31, 1939 in Wakefield. Beastie Boy Adam "Adrock" Horovitz is the son of Israel Horovitz. He completed several plays about Wakefield, collected in a book known as The Wakefield Plays.
Mark Kumpel, member of the 1984 US Olympic ice hockey team and former NHL player with the Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques, and the Detroit Red Wings

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#70 Danvers

Originally knows as Salem Village, Danvers is most widely known for its association with the Salem witch trials.  The most famous case is when Rebecca Nurse was convicted in a trial for witch craft, her house is still standing in Danvers. 

Danvers by the numbers
Established: 1757
Population: 26,493
Median household income: $79,478
Median housing price: $360,800

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 70
Affordability ranking: 224
Education ranking: 184
Economic condition ranking: 139
Safety ranking: 245
Arts & Culture ranking: 37

 

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#69 Springfield

"The City of Firsts" has long been a leader in innovation, from the modern car to sports like basketball and volleyball. The 4th largest city in New England, Springfield is home to Smith and Wesson,the world's largest handgun producer; MassMutual Financial Group, a Fortune 100 company; and the American Hockey League headquarters.

Springfield by the numbers

Established: 1852
Population: 153,060
Median household income: $34,311
Median housing price: $147,000

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 69

Affordability ranking: 262

Education ranking: 350

Economic Condition ranking: 347

Safety ranking: 282

Arts & Culture ranking: 4

Famous people

Among Springfield's hundreds of notable residents, inventors like Milton Bradley stand out, as does childhood folk hero Johnny Appleseed, who was based on Springfield native John Chapman.

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#68 Holliston

At one time, Holliston was known as an agricultural and industrial community, but in present times has developed into a technological economy while still maintaining a small-town community.  Among the community attractions is the famous "Balancing Rock" that many have tried and failed to push off its pedestal over the centuries.

Holliston by the numbers

Established: 1724
Population: 13,547
Median household income: $110,323
Median housing price: $382,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 68
Affordability ranking: 85
Education ranking: 40
Economic Condition ranking: 42
Safety ranking: 34
Arts & Culture ranking: 195

Famous people

Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram
Jeff Taylor, Founder of Monster.com
Adam Green, Director, writer, and actor
Michael Mantenuto, actor
Mike Grier, NHL hockey player
Greg Mauldin, NHL hockey player, played college hockey at UMass
Ken Stone, UFC bantamweight fighter
Mark Sweeney, MLB baseball player
Kara Wolters, Professional basketball player, NCAA champion at UConn, and Olympic gold medal winner
Andrew Natsios, Former director of the United States Agency for International Development
John Sencio, national television personality, motivational speaker 

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#67 Dunstable

The small, rural town of Dunstable is located just south of the Nashua, New Hampshire border. Residents assemble in volunteer groups to produce and uphold the traditional town celebrations like the Memorial Day Parade and Summer Concert Series. Dunstable has a strong education system and partners with Groton to form a regional middle and high school.

Dunstable by the numbers

Established: 1673
Population: 3,179
Median household income: $119,022
Median housing price: $437,200

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 67
Affordability ranking: 78
Education ranking: 36
Economic Condition: 26
Safety ranking: 63
Arts & Culture ranking: 317

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#66 Falmouth

Falmouth is a town well known for its warm water beaches, traditional Main Street village with eclectic boutiques, trendy restaurants, and historic village green. The town’s terminal of Steamship Authority ferries allow visitors to travel to Martha’s Vineyard. The village of Woods Hole boasts several scientific organizations as well: the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, The Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hold Research Center, and the National Marine Fisheries Aquariam.   

Falmouth by the numbers

Established: 1686

Population: 31,531
Median household income: $61,658
Median housing price: $383,000
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 66
Affordability ranking: 305
Education ranking: 130
Economic condition ranking: 257
Safety ranking: 249
Arts & Culture ranking: 49

Famous people

Ben Affleck, actor and director
Casey Affleck, actor
Katharine Lee Bates, author of "America the Beautiful"
Steve Cishek, relief pitcher for the Miami Marlins
Jim Connors, radio personality
Colleen Coyne, 1998 Olympic gold medalist, in US women's ice hockey
Jacob Sloat Fassett, U.S. Congressman from Elmira, NY; Fassett's Point in West Falmouth and the town of Fassett, Quebec are named after him
Melissa Febos, writer and ex-dominatrix
Bill Polian, President of the Indianapolis Colts, spends his summers in Falmouth

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#65 Canton

Home to the headquarters of well-known companies such as Reebok and Dunkin’ Donuts, Canton is about 15 miles southwest of downtown Boston. Accessible and convenient transportation allows residents to Boston, New Hampshire, and Providence through the MBTA, Interstate 93 and 95, and Massachusetts Route 128. The Canton Viaduct built in 1835 is one of the two oldest surviving multiple arch stone railroad bridges and is still in use.   

Canton by the numbers

Established: 1797

Population: 21,561
Median household income: $89,900
Median housing price: $425,800
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 65
Affordability ranking: 228
Education ranking: 83
Economic condition ranking: 89
Safety ranking: 103
Arts & Culture ranking: 81

Famous people

NBA basketball player Dana Barros
Bill Burr, comedian
NBA basketball great Dave Cowens
Commodore John Downes, U.S. Navy officer who fought in the War with Tripoli and the War of 1812 and commanded a punitive expedition to Sumatra in the 1830s
Paul Guilfoyle, actor, CSI:Crime Scene Investigation
Rob Mariano, a.k.a. "Boston Rob", reality TV personality (Survivor/Redemption Island and The Amazing Race)
NFL football player Randy Moss
Paul Revere, Revolutionary
NHL 1986 Stanley Cup Champion Steve Rooney of the Montreal Canadiens
Stephen Schnetzer, actor
James B. Sumner, co-recipient of 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
MLB first baseman and American League MVP Mo Vaughn

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#64 Walpole

Established in 1724 and named for British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, the town emerged as a champion of the saw mill industry and the American Revolution.  Over the years, Walpole grew from a small colonial industrial town into one of Massachusetts' most well-rounded communities.  Walpole has many parks and athletic fields, and is also home to the Massachusetts Correctional Institute Cedar Point maximum security prison. Walpole's Little League team advanced to the Little League World Series in 2007 and got to play in front of over 5,000 fans and a national TV audience.

Walpole by the numbers

Established: 1724
Population: 24,070
Median household income: $93,835
Median housing price: $359,200

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 64
Affordability ranking: 115
Education ranking: 88
Economic Condition ranking: 76
Safety ranking: 128
Arts & Culture ranking: 98

Famous people

Andrew Bacevich, Former director of Boston University Center for International Relations, author of several books
Dayton Duncan, Filmmaker & Producer
Joseph N. Welch, special counsel to the United States Army during the Army-McCarthy Hearings. Also starred in "Anatomy of a Murder" as Judge Weaver
Gene Lavanchy, TV news anchor for FOX 25 in Boston
Joe Morgan, former Red Sox manager
Butch Songin, former quarterback for the Boston College Eagles football team, All-American defenseman for the BC ice hockey team.
Roger Turner, Olympic Figure Skater
Mike Milbury, Former Boston Bruins defenseman and current NHL analyst on NBC
Todd Collins, NFL quarterback
George Arthur Plimpton, publisher and philanthropist

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#63 Medway

Like many Massachusetts towns, Medway originated as a farming community and later added manufacturing to the economic backbone, building mills along the Charles River. Medway stands out for its education scores and modernizaton while still maintaining open town meetings and a small town vibe.

Medway by the numbers

Established: 1713
Population: 12,752
Median household income: $106,132
Median housing price: $364,800

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 63
Affordability ranking: 67
Education ranking: 60
Economic Condition ranking: 49
Safety ranking: 55
Arts & Culture ranking: 158

Famous people

Grizzly" Adams, mountain man, bear trainer
Allie Moulton, MLB player
Pete Carmichael, Jr., offensive coach in the NFL
Alphonso Van Marsh, American journalist and war correspondent for CNN.
Judith Moffatt, Illustrator of 50+ children’s books

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#62 Marshfield

Marshfield takes pride in its education and natural beauty, and events like the Marshfield Fair draw visitors from around Massachusetts.  Marshfield is also known as the settling place of national political figure Daniel Webster in the early to mid-1800's.

Marshfield by the numbers

Established: 1640
Population: 25,132
Median household income: $92,555
Median housing price: $404,900

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 62
Affordability ranking: 182
Education ranking: 97
Economic Condition ranking: 81
Safety ranking: 96
Arts & Culture ranking: 84

Famous people

Aerosmith band members Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford
F. Lee Bailey, attorney
Dicky Barrett, lead singer of Boston band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Steve Carell and his wife Nancy Carell, comedians/actors
Joe Castiglione, Red Sox play-by-play announcer on WEEI
Susan Cooper, writer
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, former U.S. congressman, son of Bobby Kennedy
Sean Morey, NFL player
Sean Morris, pro lacrosse player for the Boston Cannons and Boston Blazers
John Thomas, general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution
David Warsofsky, former Bruins player
Daniel Webster, statesman, orator, senator, Secretary of State to three U.S. presidents

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#61 Bridgewater

Located in Plymouth County, Bridgewater was originally an iron dependent town and then was dependent on the correctional center located in the city. Being centrally located between Boston and Providence, Bridgewater is in a nice location. 

Bridgewater by the numbers
Established: 1656
Population: 26,563
Median household income: $87,115
Median housing price: $265,800

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 61
Affordability ranking: 14
Education ranking: 109
Economic condition ranking: 98
Safety ranking: 198
Arts & Culture ranking: 97

Famous people
 

Nathaniel Ames, (1708–1764), born in Bridgewater, publisher of the first annual almanac[28]
George Leonard Andrews, (1828–1899), born in Bridgewater, noted United States Army officer, engineer, and educator
Drew Bledsoe, NFL quarterback for the New England Patriots, resided in Bridgewater during his time with the team.
Love Brewster, a passenger on the Mayflower and a founder of the town of Bridgewater
Mickey Cochrane, Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, born in Bridgewater in 1903[29]
Marc Colombo, former NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins, resided on Highview Terrace.
Bruce Gray (sculptor), sculptor and artist
Steven Laffoley (1965– ), author of seven books, including the award-winning Shadowboxing: the Rise and Fall of George Dixon (2012) and The Blue Tattoo (2014)
Joe Lauzon, professional MMA fighter, currently fighting in the UFC lightweight division
Enoch Pratt, (1808–1896), merchant, businessman, philanthropist in Baltimore, Maryland - see above.
Louise Dickinson Rich (1903–1991), wrote many books for children and adults. She wrote of her childhood in Bridgewater in Innocence Under the Elms.

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#60 Sherborn

Sherborn is now a major player in the Boston area technology industry, but at its core is a small, rural town focued on a strong public education system.  Over 50% of the land area in Sherborn is open space, and volunteerism is a huge piece of community activities.

Sherborn by the numbers

Established: 1674
Population: 4,119
Median household income: $154,444
Median housing price: $712,700

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 60
Affordability ranking: 265
Education ranking: 18
Economic Condition ranking: 6
Safety ranking: 73
Arts & Culture ranking: 240

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#59 Carlisle

Even today, Carlisle retains a rural look and quaint feel, without a single traffic light, shopping plaza, condominium, and no industrial park . The town hosts a library, a dentist, a small store, an ATM , and numerous residential homes. The two town ice cream stores produce their wares from milk produced at local farms.

Carlisle by the numbers

Established: 1780

Population: 4,852
Median household income: $160,034
Median housing price: $754,700
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 59
Affordability ranking: 259
Education ranking: 13
Economic condition ranking: 4
Safety ranking
Arts & Culture ranking: 269

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#58 Framingham

Founded in 1700, Framingham was placed at # 36 on 'Best Places to Live in US' by CNN Money magazine in 2012. Framingham, sited on the ancient trail known as the Old Connecticut Path, was first settled when John Stone settled on the west bank of the Sudbury River in 1647. 

Framingham by the numbers
Established: 1700
Population: 68,318
Median household income: $67,915
Median housing price: $344,200

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 58
Affordability ranking: 291
Education ranking: 255
Economic condition ranking: 217
Safety ranking: 168
Arts & Culture ranking: 14

Famous people

David Blatt, Israeli-American basketball player and coach (most recently, for the Cleveland Cavaliers)

Carl Corazzini, NHL Hockey Player, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers
Rich Gedman, former Major League Baseball catcher for the Boston Red Sox, 1980 to 1990
Toby Kimball, NBA player for the Boston Celtics, San Diego Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Kansas City Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, and the New Orleans Jazz
Lou Merloni, Major League Baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, 1998 to 2003
John Stagikas, pro wrestler
Mark Sweeney, Major League Baseball player
Pie Traynor, former Major League Baseball player, now in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame
Kevin Nee, Professional Strongman. Youngest man ever to become professional Strongman.
Tal Smith, Baseball Executive, former General Manager of the Houston Astros.
Danny O'Connor, American professional boxer in the Light Welterweight division.

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#57 North Andover

North Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts. The lands south of the Merrimack River around Lake Cochichewick and the Shawsheen River were set aside by the Massachusetts General Court in 1634 for the purpose of creating an inland plantation. 

North Andover by the numbers
Established: 1855
Population: 28,352
Median household income: $96,002
Median housing price: $437,900

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 57
Affordability ranking: 216
Education ranking: 93
Economic condition ranking: 69
Safety ranking: 161
Arts & Culture ranking: 70

Famous people

Clifford Wampler, North Andover High School Teacher, and Local Legend
Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director
Cliff Bleszinski, game designer
Anne Bradstreet, poet
Phillips Brooks, minister of Trinity Church, Boston and great-grandson of the founder of Phillips Academy
Gerry Cheevers, former NHL player
Daniel Dennett, philosopher
Steve DeOssie, former NFL linebacker
Zak DeOssie, current NFL linebacker
George Glennie, former NFL guard
Steve Heinze, former NHL player
Rob Konrad, former NFL running back
Samuel Osgood, first Postmaster General of the United States
James Spader, screen and TV actor (Boston Legal and the Blacklist)
Moses Stevens, textile manufacturer

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#56 Norfolk

Formerly known as North Wrentham, Norfolk broke away to become an independent town in 1870. Norfolk is a rural suburban town on the periphery of metropolitan Boston, located on an upper valley of the Charles River. There were a half dozen small farms in the town after 1669, the result of a determined effort to populate the colonial frontier. 

Norfolk by the numbers
Established: 1870
Population: 11,227
Median household income: $134,104
Median housing price: $443,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 56

Affordability ranking: 38
Education ranking: 57
Economic condition ranking: 12
Safety ranking: 6
Arts & Culture ranking: 229

Famous people
Ezra T Benson, Mormon pioneer
Alexander Scammel, Revolutionary War officer
Lydia Taft, First US female voter
Eli Thayer, Abolitionist Congressman

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#55 Cohasset

With no divided highway running through the town, Route 3A is the longest state route for Cohasset, and it bisects the town to provide a site for various large and small businesses. Cohasset's central village is located around an expansive space that includes small ponds, speciality shops, and St. Stephen's Church, which is known for its Sunday concerts of 56 bell carillon.

Cohasset by the numbers

Established: 1775

Population: 7,542
Median household income: $117,829
Median housing price: $770,800
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 55
Affordability ranking: 314
Education ranking: 35
Economic condition ranking: 28
Safety ranking: 75
Arts & Culture ranking: 138

Famous people

Kate Bosworth, Actress
Michael Kennedy,son of Robert F. Kennedy, nephew of President John F. Kennedy
Brooks Orpik, NHL ice hockey player
Zealous Bates Tower, Union army general
Steve Bowen, US Navy submariner and NASA astronaut
Lincoln P. Bloomfield professor emeritus MIT, Political Science
Larry Eisenhauer, former professional football player
Lance Norris, Actor, writer, director
Walt Sweeney, former professional football player
Albert Augustus Pope, Industrialist, founder of Columbia Bicycles and the Pope-Hartford automobile
Anthony DiPaolo, businessman, entrepreneur, founder of Work 'N Gear
Dr. Robert Sceery, was school physician in Cohasset for more than 40 years. Known for his quiet manner, he made house calls and saw patients regardless of their ability to pay. Although retired for several years, Sceery saw occasional patients and attended weekly rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital. During World War II he joined the Navy, piloting a tank landing ship to Normandy beach on D-Day and participating in assaults on southern France and Japan.

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#54 Wilmington

Settled in 1665, Wilmington has a rich history and played a role in major American historical events. Minutemen were located in Wilmington and responded to the fight at Merriam's corner during the Revolutionary War. Wilmington is also thought to have been a stop along the underground railroad. 

Wilmington by the numbers
Established: 1730
Population: 22,325
Median household income: $99,508
Median housing price: $375,000

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 54
Affordability ranking: 88
Education ranking: 92
Economic condition ranking: 59
Safety ranking: 113
Arts & Culture ranking: 123

Famous people

Jeanne Ashworth, speed skater, bronze medalist in the 1960 Winter Olympics
Jason Bere, former MLB pitcher, who played for 5 MLB teams, and American League All-Star in 1994
Ryland Blackinton, guitarist of Cobra Starship, attended his freshman year at Wilmington High School
Diva Taunia, jazz vocalist, graduated from Wilmington High School
Mike Esposito, running back and kick returner for the Atlanta Falcons in the late 1970s. He also set a number of rushing records at Boston College.
Gen. Henry Harnden, Civil War officer, tracked down Confederate President Jefferson Davis and confirmed his identity.
David G. Hartwell, science-fiction editor
Thomas Holmes, executive with W.R. Grace and Ingersoll Rand
Ezra Otis Kendall, LL.D., 1818–1899 prof. of mathematics and astronomy at University of Pennsylvania. Author of Uranography, a guide to the heavens, with atlas, Philadelphia, 1844.
Asa Sheldon, 19th-century contractor, builder of railroads and bridges, author of the autobiography Wilmington Farmer, reprinted in paperback as Yankee Drover.
Benjamin Thompson, Jr., Count Rumford, taught school in Wilmington 1768–1769
Sears Cook Walker, 19th-century astronomer, brother of Timothy Walker, half-brother of E.O. Kendall
Timothy Walker, noted 19th-century jurist, author of Introduction to American Law, founder of Cincinnati Law School.
Phillis Wheatley, first published African-American poet

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#53 Bolton

Home to the Bolton Fair, which is held in mid August every year, the argricultural heritage of Bolton is shown through the apple orchards and farm stands dispersed throughout the town. Since its incorporation in 1738, the town has remained a rural community, without public water or sewer.  Students attend elementary and middle school at the Florence Sawyer School, and high school at the Nashoba Regional High School, located in town.  

Bolton by the numbers

Established: 1738
Population: 4,897
Median household income: $146,029
Median housing price: $477,300

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 53
Affordability ranking: 56
Education ranking: 31
Economic Condition ranking: 7
Safety ranking: 88
Arts & Culture ranking: 201

Famous people

Bill Ezinicki, NHL Stanley Cup winner
Hal Gill, NHL player
Philip J. Philbin, United States House of Representative
Wilbert Robinson, Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
William C Sullivan, Head of FBI

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#52 Waltham

Walthan is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, and was an early center for thelabor movement as well as a major contributor to the American Industrial Revolution. The original home of the Boston Manufacturing Company, the city was a prototype for 19th century industrial city planning, spawning what became known as the Waltham-Lowell system of labor and production

Waltham by the numbers
Established: 1738
Population: 60,632
Median household income: $74,198
Median housing price: $399,500

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 52
Affordability ranking: 289
Education ranking: 248
Economic condition ranking: 175
Safety ranking: 179
Arts & Culture ranking: 18

Famous people

Aerosmith – During the 1970s Boston area rock band Aerosmith had a studio in Waltham known as The Wherehouse.
Keith Aucoin – hockey forward on the New York Islanders
F. Lee Bailey – lawyer
John A. Bailey - Inventor of the drink-through container lid (US Patent No. 4322015).
Nathaniel Prentice Banks – Union General in the Civil War, 24th Governor of Massachusetts, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Mackenzy Bernadeau – guard for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.
Suzanne Brockmann – Author
Annie Payson Call – author.
JP Dellacamera – play-by-play commentator of Major League Soccer for ABC and ESPN.
Ryan Gallant – Professional Skateboarder
James N. Hallock – Scientist, known for his work on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
John Peabody Harrington – Ethnologist and linguist.
Abbie Hoffman – Bestselling author, radical political activist, founder of the Youth International Party
C. D. Howe – WWII and Postwar Canadian politician; Waltham native
Gail Huff – television reporter for WCVB-TV and the wife of Scott Brown, former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.

Deena (Drossin) Kastor

Deena (Drossin) Kastor – Olympic bronze-medal-winning marathon runner
John Leary – Major League Baseball first baseman and catcher for the St. Louis Browns.
Jeff Lazaro – Former Boston Bruins forward
Samuel Livermore - United States Senator from New Hampshire
Mel Lyman –Musician, film maker, writer and founder of the Fort Hill Community.
John Lynch – Governor of New Hampshire
Joseph MacLean - Graphic designer & drummer.
Tony Massarotti – Boston Globe sportswriter and WBZ-FM radio host. Co-host of "Felger and Mazz" radio show.
Shawn McEachern – Boston Bruins forward
Paul Moody – Inventor, developer of cotton loom. Namesake of Moody St. in downtown Waltham.
Angelo Mosca – former Canadian Football League player and professional wrestler
Richard Thomas Nolan – Episcopal Church Canon, writer, philosophy & religion professor, LGBT advocate
Dave Pino – member of the band Powerman 5000
John Reed – Author of the book, "Another Lousy Day In Paradise" (Trestle 2011), which is set entirely in Waltham. Reed graduated from Waltham High in 1982
Jared Remy – Alleged murderer.
Ida Annah Ryan – First woman to earn a master's degree in architecture (from M.I.T.)
Evelyn Sears – US open (tennis) champion
Fred Smerlas – NFL defensive lineman with Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, and New England Patriots
Sockington – Leader of Socks Army, first feline to surpass 500,000 Twitter followers.
Caroll Spinney – voice of "Big Bird" and "Oscar the Grouch" on Sesame Street.
Antoine Walker – NBA All-Star forward, former captain of the Boston Celtics
Gordon S. Wood – recipient of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History
Franz Wright – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

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#51 Tewksbury

Tewksbury was first settled in 1637 and was officially incorporated in 1734 from Billerica. Like Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, it is named after the town of Tewkesbury, England. One of the oldest sections of town is the area around theShawsheen River. 

Tewksbury by the numbers
Established: 1734
Population: 28,961
Median household income: $89,241
Median housing price: $329,000

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 51
Affordability ranking: 93
Education ranking: 142
Economic condition ranking: 92
Safety ranking: 212
Arts & Culture ranking: 53

Famous people

Adelbert Ames , Medal of Honor recipient; last surviving Civil War general
George D. Behrakis, philanthropist and retired businessman.
John James Nazarian, celebrity private investigator
Anne Sullivan, tutor and companion of Helen Keller
Paul Sullivan former selectman, talk show host on WBZ radio, Boston
John Trull, captain of the Tewksbury minutemen in the Revolutionary War
David Wade, television news anchor, WBZ Boston
Dale Dorman, retired radio personality, WRKO, Kiss 108, Oldies 103
Michael Rock, morning personality on Fun 107 radio, New Bedford/Providence
Bill Catherwood, fly fishing legend

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#50 Holden

Incorporated in 1741, the town was an active farm community. In 1951 Holden became the first town in the Commonwealth to adopt the Selectmen - Town Manager form of government. Today, Holden has developed into a small town that serves as a bedroom community for the city of Worcester. Residents enjoy many community services including a town beach and pool, community center, and library.

Holden by the numbers

Established: 1741
Population: 17,346
Median household income: $95,244
Median housing price: $280,500

2014 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 50
Affordability ranking: 10
Education ranking: 72
Economic Condition ranking: 71
Safety ranking: 23
Arts & Culture ranking: 162

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#49 Beverly

Beverly and Marblehead both claim to be the birthplace of the U.S. Navy, but one thing that can't be denied is Beverly's rich cultural community.  With parks, open spaces, coastal land, and beaches, "The Garden City" is a top notch geographic community.

Beverly by the numbers

Established: 1668
Population: 39,502
Median household income: $70,563
Median housing price: $361,100

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 49
Affordability ranking: 281
Education ranking: 202
Economic Condition ranking: 204
Safety ranking: 159
Arts & Culture ranking: 21

Famous people

Beverly has an impressive range of famous residents, ranging from James F. Cahill, one of the nation's first Navy SEALs, to Jonathan Manzi, the youngest person ever to achieve millionaire status (at age 16).

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#48 Middleton

Located on the Ipswitch River , Middleton started as a small farming community and later developed an ironworks industry to supplement its agricultural economy. Middleton is presently one of the fastest growing communitites in Massachusetts, and it has been a popular vacation community for centuries.

Middleton by the numbers

Established: 1728
Population: 8,987
Median household income: $104,248
Median housing price: $407,300

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 48
Affordability ranking: 105
Education ranking: 62
Economic Condition ranking: 55
Safety ranking: 65
Arts & Culture ranking: 147

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#47 Hopkinton

Hopkinton, home of the Boston Marathon’s starting line since 1924, has its roots in agriculture, with the shoe and boot industries taking root in town in the mid-1800s. Today EMC, a data storage provider, has its world headquarters in town. The town is home to two state parks, Hopkinton State Park and Whitehall State Park, which are popular recreation areas.

Hopkinton by the numbers

Established: 1715
Population: 14,925
Median household income: $129,578
Median housing price: $515,200

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 47
Affordability ranking: 154
Education ranking: 26
Economic condition ranking: 16
Safety ranking: 33
Arts & Culture ranking: 194

Famous people

Walter Brown, Founding owner of Boston Celtics, Basketball and Hockey Hall of Fames
Richard Egan, EMC Corporation founder
Mike Grier, NHL player
Daniel Shays, Leader of Shays' Rebellion
Steve Nicol- Coach of the New England Revolution soccer team

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#46 Groton

Groton is a small town community with a strong education system and a classic Open Town Meeting system of government. Groton is also home to a pair of elite prep schools: Groton School (Franklin Delano Roosevelt is a graduate) and St. Lawrence Academy are among the best in the region.

Groton by the numbers

Established: 1655
Population: 10,646
Median household income: $117,127
Median housing price: $435,000

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 46
Affordability ranking: 101
Education ranking: 34
Economic Condition ranking: 29
Safety ranking: 56
Arts & Culture ranking: 186

Famous people

Groton is home to dozens of notable people, from Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessey to Elizabeth Knapp, "the witch of Groton"

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#45 North Reading

North Reading's creeks, rivers, and parks make it a beautiful destination for tourists.  It's an industrial community that began as an agricultural economy before saw mills and shoemaking bolstered the economy in the 1800's leading up to the Civil War.  North Reading is proud to be one of the top education communities in the entire state.

North Reading by the numbers

Established: 1853
Population: 14,892
Median household income: $110,852
Median housing price: $429,100

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 45
Affordability ranking: 125
Education ranking: 50
Economic Condition ranking: 38
Safety ranking: 68
Arts & Culture ranking: 137

Famous people

Jonathan Bird, Emmy-winning TV producer
Jon Favreau, speechwriter for Barack Obama
Ryan Fitzgerald, Former Boston College and Boston Bruins hockey player
Tom Fitzgerald, Assistant General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins[15][16]
Art Kenney, retired principal of North Reading High School, former MLB player
George Frederick Root, songwriter

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#44 Duxbury

Until the mid-nineteenth century, Duxbury was a center of shipbuilding for its proximity to the Atlantic coast in Plymouth County. Today, along with being famous for its oysters, the town is the sixth largest cranberry producer in the state. Its coastal location creates a vibrant character for the community with recreational spots like Duxbury beach and Snug Harbor on Duxbury Bay, one of the most charming boat basins on the Massachusetts coast.  

Duxbury by the numbers

Established: 1637

Population: 15,059
Median household income: $118,272
Median housing price: $556,300
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 44
Affordability ranking: 248
Education ranking: 33
Economic condition ranking: 27
Safety ranking: 9
Arts & Culture ranking: 136

Famous people

Ichabod Alden, officer in the American Revolution
John Alden, a Mayflower immigrant and one of the founders of Duxbu
Love Brewster, a founder of the town of Duxbury
Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony and a passenger on the Mayflower. He was also and one of the founders of Duxbury.
Bill Curley, former NBA center for San Antonio Spurs basketball team
Captain Amasa Delano, Captain of the 19th century merchant ship Bachelors Delight
Bobby Farrelly, screenwriter, director; with brother Peter wrote and directed popular films including Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, and Shallow Hal
Juliana Hatfield, indie rock singer
Pat Leahy, NHL hockey player for the Boston Bruins
Philip Parlier, Major League Baseball Former player for the Cincinnati Reds
George Partridge, representative to Continental Congress and the First United States Congress
Joe Perry, guitarist for Aerosmith
George Soule, a Mayflower Pilgrim, signer of the Mayflower Compact and one of the founders of Duxbury
Captain/Deputy Governor Myles Standish, Mayflower settler and founder of Duxbury
Mike Sullivan, former coach of the Boston Bruins
Don Leeroy Webber, All-American Wide Receiver
Zack Lenhardt, NASA

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#43 Lynnfield

Initially composed of two separate towns with one central governing body, Lynnfield was incorporated in 1842. The small town experienced a post WW2 population surge with the birth of the U.S. Route 1 freeway. From their beginnings, as a town with two inns, a carbonated beverage bottler, and a handful of food producers, Lynnfield became one of the most prosperous towns in the state.

Lynnfield by the numbers

Established: 1814

Population: 11,596
Median household income: $110,980
Median housing price: $547,900
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 43
Affordability ranking: 258
Education ranking: 17
Economic condition ranking: 37
Safety ranking: 106
Arts & Culture ranking: 170

Famous people

Eddie Andelman, former sports talk show host, TV personality and founder of the Hot Dog Safari
Garnet "Ace" Bailey, former Boston Bruins player, killed on 9/11
Johnny Bucyk, former Boston Bruin
Anson Carter, former Bruins player who lived in town while with the team
Jon Casey, former Boston Bruins goaltender
John Connolly, former FBI agent, depicted in the movie The Departed
Billy Costa, host of Boston radio station Kiss 108's morning show Matty in the Morning, also host of New England Cable News TV Diner and of the annual Federal Reserve Cup of Boston
Hank Finkel, former Boston Celtics center
Chris Ford, former Celtics coach and player
Kevin Gamble, former Boston Celtic and director of player development at Providence College
Ken Harrelson, Boston Red Sox outfielder and sportscaster

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#42 Winchester

Just 8 miles north of Boston, Winchester offers a traditional New England lifestyle. With its charming downtown center, the town is largely a residential community for people who work in Boston and Cambridge. In the summer, the Winchester Boat Club is a popular spot of local residents and their families to relax at the Mystic Lakes and enjoy the sun. In the past the boat club was popular for canoeing, but it now has more casual sailing outings and competitive regattas.   

Winchester by the numbers

Established: 1640
Population: 21, 374
Median household income: $131,000
Median housing price: $676,800

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 42
Affordability ranking: 264
Education ranking: 49
Economic Condition ranking: 14
Safety ranking: 64
Arts & Culture ranking: 133

Famous people

Winchester boasts more than 30 famous residents, including Edward Everett, former Governor of Massachusetts and President of Harvard University.  Robert Brown, President of Boston University.

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#41 Harvard

In the past, Harvard was home to many various utopian and new-thought societies. Today, it is home to the Fruitlands Museum, which was originally the Harvard Shaker Village. Originally a farming community, the town remains rural, with woods, small rolling hills, fields and wetlands. Along with its delicious apple orchards, Harvard also has a highly regarded school system.

Harvard by the numbers

Established: 1732
Population: 6,520
Median household income: $137,500
Median housing price: $580,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 41
Affordability ranking: 187
Education ranking: 16
Economic condition ranking: 10
Safety ranking: 30
Arts & Culture ranking: 239

Famous people

Amos Bronson Alcott, teacher, writer and Louisa May Alcott, novelist, daughter of Amos Alcott
Tabitha Babbitt, tool maker
Adam Dziewonski, geophysicist
Jonathan Edwards, musician
Fannie Farmer, cookbook author
Lynn Jennings, Olympic runner
Charles Lane, Transcendentalist
Ann Lee, Shaker founder
Keir O'Donnell, Australian actor
Clara Endicott Sears, founder of Fruitlands Museum
Ted Sizer, educational reform leader

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#40 Scituate

The Scituate Lighthouse, erected in 1810 on the northern edge of Scituate Harbor, is a historic tower for this mid-sized seaside community. Ocean-related recreational activities are abundant and its Town Pier accommodates a working fishing fleet for commercial interests. In addition to its seaside adventures, the town has a strong pride in its history and celebrates its founding every August through "Heritage Days"

Scituate by the numbers

Established: 1636

Population: 18,133
Median household income: $99,034
Median housing price: $466,300

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 40
Affordability ranking: 223
Education ranking: 45
Economic condition ranking: 62
Safety ranking: 54
Arts & Culture ranking: 113


Famous people

Rebecca and Abigail Bates, known as the "American Army of Two," fended off the British army near the Scituate lighthouse with a fife and drum during the War of 1812
George W. Casey, Jr., Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Paul Curtis, shipbuilder known for his clipper ships
William Cushing, one of the original six justices on the United States Supreme Court
Ted Donato, Harvard, NHL hockey player
Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard University, Puritan/Baptist minister
Nick Flynn, writer and poet
Jacques Futrelle, journalist, author, who died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912
Mark Goddard, actor known for his role as "Major Don West" in the series Lost in Space
Mike Hoffman, AHL player for the Chicago Wolves
Inez Haynes Irwin, journalist, author, feminist
Charles Kerins, artist, illustrator, known for Red Sox yearbook covers and paintings of small town American childhood in the 1950s and 1960s.
Bruce Laird, former NFL football player
Thomas W. Lawson, stock promoter, financial reformer
Jim Lonborg, Cy Young Award–winning former Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
Joseph D. Malone, former Massachusetts treasurer
Tom McCall, Governor of Oregon from 1966–1974, born in Scituate
John McDonald, shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays
Scott McMorrow, award-winning playwright and poet
Dave Silk, member of the Miracle on Ice 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal
Scott Snibbe, media artist, grew up in Scituate
Peter Tolan, writer, director
Mike Wankum, weatherman for WCVB-TV News Channel
Ryan Whitney, NHL defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers

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#39 Acton

Incorporated as a town in 1735, Acton is a suburban town that employed the Open Town Meeting form of government. The town has five village centers with the Acton Center establishing itself as a civic center since the revolution. The other four villages centers  - West, South, North, and East Acton - earned their names from the names of their corresponding railroad station.  

Acton by the numbers

Established: 1735

Population: 21,924
Median household income: $110,592
Median housing price: $476,700
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 39
Affordability ranking: 225
Education ranking: 37
Economic condition ranking: 39
Safety ranking: 51
Arts & Culture ranking: 90

Famous people

Tom Barrasso, NHL professional hockey player, graduated from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in 1983
Bob Brooke, NHL professional hockey player
James Brown, co-founder of Little, Brown and Company publisher
Steve Carell, comedic actor, grew up in South Acton
Howie Carr, talk-radio personality
Robert Creeley, poet, grew up in West Acton
Isaac Davis, Captain of the Acton Minutemen at the Old North Bridge in Concord at the Battle of Lexington and Concord; the first officer to die in the American Revolution
Dan Duquette, former general manager of the Boston Red Sox and current general manager of the Baltimore Orioles
Henry Durant, Congregational clergyman, first president of College of California, two-term mayor of Oakland, California
Christian Finnegan, comedian, grew up in the Forest Glen neighborhood of West Acton in the 1980s
Mary Josephine Hannon, maternal grandmother of President John F. Kennedy
Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox
Jesse Lauriston Livermore, famous early 20th century stock trader
Selina Maitreya, international photography consultant and author
Ian Moran, NHL professional hockey player
Bill Morrissey, Folk music singer/songwriter, graduated ABRHS in 1969
Dr. John "Dropkick" Murphy circa 1910–1975 wrestler, boxer, podiatrist, and Bellows Farm Sanatorium owner namesake of the Boston based band Dropkick Murphys.
Jeff Norton, NHL professional hockey player
Caroll Spinney, puppeteer who created the Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch
Evelyn Stevens, professional road cyclist, grew up in Acton, graduated from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in 2001.
Kate Whoriskey, artistic director of Intiman Theatre in Seattle, WA

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#38 Mansfield

The birthplace of Honey Dew Donuts, Mansfield is a major concert destination in the northeast thanks to the Xfinity Center.  Mansfield is also the birthplace of industrialist Benjamin Bates, and the Great Woods Conservation Area is a wildlife attraction for residents and visitors alike.

Mansfield by the numbers

Established: 1775
Population: 23,184
Median household income: $93,539
Median housing price: $310,100

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 38
Affordability ranking: 34
Education ranking: 80
Economic Condition ranking: 78
Safety ranking: 160
Arts & Culture ranking: 96

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#37 North Attleborough

North Attleborough [formerly a part of Attleborough] is an industrial town on the Rhode Island border. In pre-Colonial times, it was the site of the Bay Path, a major Indian trail to Narragansett Bay, the Seekonk River and Boston. John Woodcock and family established a small settlement in North Attleborough in 1669, which subsisted on agriculture, fishing and hunting.

North Attleborough by the numbers
Established: 1887
Population: 28,712
Median household income: $79,289
Median housing price: $323,500

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 37
Affordability ranking: 138
Education ranking: 85
Economic condition ranking: 142
Safety ranking: 135
Arts & Culture ranking: 64

Famous people

Brian Deck, notable public speaker, CNN contributor and former columnist for The Washington Post
Colin Grafton Team USA figure skater, 2012 National bronze Medalist, 2012 Junior World Team Member
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. (1884–1968), Republican US representative, Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1947–1949 and 1953–1955. Publisher of the North Attleborough Chronicle. The J.W. Martin Elementary School is named in his honor.
Anthony Sherman, fullback for the Kansas City Chiefs and formerly of the Arizona Cardinals
Chris Sullivan, former defensive end for the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers
Allen Ripley -A former Boston and Pawtucket Red Sox, his best year as a pro came in 1977 with the Red Sox minor league affiliate in Pawtucket when he had a record of 15 wins and four losses. The next year he was promoted to Boston and went 2-5. He also played for the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs. Upon retirement in 1982 he had a career record of 23-27.
Robert F. Toner - Second lieutenant U.S. Army Air Corp. Second World War co-pilot of the B-24-D Liberator named Lady be Good which was lost in the Libyan desert in 1943. Toner Boulevard is named in his honor.
Commander Lester Seneca Wall Jr., (13 April 1916 - 5 April 1950) U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Second World War naval aviator, sank Japanese battleship Ise with one 500 lb.bomb. Awarded the Navy Cross. Died during flight testing crash of an F8Fat Miramar Naval Air Station.
Frank C. Whitmore (1887–1947), notable organic chemist. Provided evidence for the existence of carbocations. Also, published the first advanced organic chemistry book in the English language.
Aaron Hernandez former tight end for the New England Patriots, convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd.

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#36 Belmont

At first an agrarian town with several large farms, Belmont has developed into a primarily residential suburb that is best known for its mansion-filled Belmont Hill neighborhood. Three major commercial centers of Belmont Center, Cushing Square, and Waverley Square also fill the town with businesses and attractions. Belmont is also home to Belmont Hill School, alma mater of Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Patriots President Jonathan Kraft.

Belmont by the numbers

Established: 1864

Population: 24,729
Median household income: $110,584
Median housing price: $638,600
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 36
Affordability ranking: 300
Education ranking: 11
Economic condition ranking: 40
Safety ranking: 84
Arts & Culture ranking: 146

Famous people
Founder of MAPS Rick Doblin
China trader John Perkins Cushing and Denise Lam
Businessman and philanthropist Stephen P. Mugar, founder of the Star Market chain
Sugar Daddy inventor and John Birch Society founder Robert W. Welch, Jr.
Politics and government[edit]
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney
State Senator Will Brownsberger (D-MA)
Painter Winslow Homer
Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted
Musician Seth Justman of The J. Geils Band
Composer Walter Piston
Composer Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Singer-songwriter and guitarist James Taylor
Actress Jean Rogers
Tom Bergeron - Radio and TV personality
David E. Kelley- TV producer and writer
Addison Powell - Actor
Jean Rogers- Actress
Major League pitcher, Red Sox and White Sox Wilbur Wood
Major League catcher/Hall of Famer, Red Sox and White Sox Carlton Fisk
Major League baseball player and two time NL MVP, Dale Murphy
Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee
New York Rangers defenseman Paul Mara
New York Rangers Forward Patrick Rissmiller
Author Leah Hager Cohen
Author Tom Perrotta
Author William Dean Howells
Author/journalist Sebastian Junger
Author and educator Gerald Warner Brace
Author and psychologist William Damon
Author/explorer/photographer Bradford Washburn
MIT systems scientist and entrepreneur VA Shiva Ayyadurai (born 1963). Invented email in 1978 at the age of 14
American professor and legal scholar William P. Alford
Physicist Albert Baez, and his daughters folksingers Joan Baez and Mimi Farina
Harvard Business School professor and author Clayton M. Christensen
Engineer Vannevar Bush
Brigham Young University-Idaho President and Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark
Roman Catholic bishop Thomas Vose Daily
Scientist and photographer Harold "Doc" Edgerton
Professor Martin Feldstein, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
Molecular biologist H. Gobind Khorana, Nobel Prize 1968 - Medicine
Harvard professor Andrew Knoll -- Wollaston Medal 2007
Scientist/inventor/author Nathan Cohen
Theoretical physicist Francis E. Low
Reformationist scholar and novelist Richard Marius
MIT economics professor Franco Modigliani, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, 1985
Philosopher Robert Nozick
Professor Edwin O. Reischauer, East Asia scholar and Ambassador to Japan
Albert Sacco, astronaut and chemical engineer
Economist Paul A. Samuelson, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, 1970
HUAC victim and MIT mathematician Dirk Jan Struik
Computer scientist Leslie Valiant
Mathematician Norbert Wiener
Organic chemist Robert Burns Woodward -- Nobel Prize 1965 - Chemistry
Astronomer Fred Lawrence Whipple
Paul Dudley White, founder of American Heart Association
Bach scholar Christoph Wolff
Jay O. Light, Former Dean of the Harvard Business School

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#35 Dartmouth

Coastal New England town and was the first area of Southeastern Massachusetts settled. The northern part of Dartmouth has the town's large commercial districts with a mall, various retial plazas featuring many chain retail stores and many diverse restaurants. The southern part of Dartmouth borders Buzzards Bay where a lively fishing and boating community thrives; off it's coast, Martha's Vineyard and Cuttyhunk can be seen. 

Dartmouth by the numbers
Established: 1664
Population: 34,032
Median household income: $67,997
Median housing price: $314,300

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 35
Affordability ranking: 197
Education ranking: 123
Economic condition ranking: 216
Safety ranking: 240
Arts & Culture ranking: 48

Famous people

Ezekiel Cornell, (1732–1800) member of Continental Congress 1780-1782.
Philip Sheridan (1831–1888), Union general in the American Civil War who died at his summer home in Nonquitt.
"Colonel" Edward Howland Robinson Green (1868–1936), businessman
William W. Crapo, U.S. House Representative representing Massachusett's 1st District.
Benjamin Tucker, (1854–1939), Individualist anarchist and Egoist; English translator of the works of Max Stirner.
Arthur Golden (b. 1956), author, Memoirs of a Geisha (summer resident).
Téa Leoni (b. 1966), film actress (summer resident).
Brian Rose (b. 1976), former Major League baseball player.
Jordan Todman (b. 1990) American football running back for the Carolina Panthers.
Arthur Lynch (b. 1990) American football tight end for the Miami Dolphins.

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#34 Lowell

Lowell was the "cradle" for the industrial revolution, and the Merrimack River was used to power the textile mills that drove what became the largest industrial complex in the United States.  The Great Depression hit Lowell hard, but the city and its residents persevered and an influx of immigration in the mid-20th century brought cultural and economic changes that turned the tide.

Lowell by the numbers

Established:1836 
Population: 106,519
Median household income: $49,452
Median housing price:  $228,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 34
Affordability ranking: 255
Education ranking: 322
Economic Condition ranking: 319
Safety ranking: 271
Arts & Culture ranking: 5

Famous people

As is to be expected for a city of its size, Lowell has had hundreds of famous residents.

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#33 Somerville

As of 2000, it was the 15th most densely populated city in the country. Somerville was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from Charlestown. Somerville was first settled in 1629 as part of Charlestown. 

Somerville by the numbers
Established: 1842
Population: 75,754
Median household income: $67,118
Median housing price: $437,200

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 33
Affordability ranking: 317
Education ranking: 301
Economic condition ranking: 223
Safety ranking: 215
Arts & Culture ranking: 8

Famous people

Robert A. Bruce, noted cardiologist and professor
Mike Capuano, member of the House of Representatives and mayor of Somerville
Richard Carle, actor
Gosder Cherilus, National Football League player
Hal Clement, author
George Dilboy, Medal of Honor recipient
Nick Gomez, film director and writer
Henry Kimball Hadley, composer and conductor
Henry Oliver Hansen, raised the first flag in the Battle of Iwo Jima
Alan Hovhaness, composer
James Hutchinson (musician)
Jake Kilrain, noted boxer
Jessica Meir, astronaut
Connie Morella, member of the House of Representatives
Randall Munroe. cartoonist and writer
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
Jack Parker, head coach of the Boston University Terriers hockey team since 1973
Bobby Pickett, composer of "Monster Mash"
Harry Nelson Pillsbury, chess champion
Archibald Query, inventor of Fluff
Alex Rocco, actor
John Shea (playwright)
Paul Sorrento, former Major League Baseball player
Daniel Chapman Stillson, inventor of the modern adjustable pipe wrench
Mary Sawyer Tyler, the heroine of Mary Had a Little Lamb, civil war volunteer, historic preservationist, women's suffragist
David Foster Wallace, author 
Winter Hill Gang, noted crime group

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#32 Wayland

Wayland has also developed as a quiet commuter town because of its close proximity to Boston. Established in 1638 as the first settlement of the Sudbury plantation, the town will celebrate its 375th year anniversary starting June 15. It is not only an ideal place to raise a family for its highly regarded school system but also has a beautiful rural setting with forests, marshes, and fields that surround the Sudbury River.

Wayland by numbers

Population: 12,994
Median household income: $137,046
Median housing price: $591,600
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 32
Affordability ranking: 238
Education ranking: 10
Economic condition ranking: 15
Safety ranking: 5
Arts & Culture ranking: 176

Famous people

Sammy Adams, rapper
Amar Bose, founder of Bose Corporation
David Blair, independent electronic cinema director
Lydia Maria Child, 19th-century American abolitionist, novelist, journalist
Tom Conroy, Member of House of Representatives
Archibald Cox, legal scholar, Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Scandal
Jonathan Elias, co-anchor for WBZ-TV News in Boston
David Hackett Fischer, Brandeis Professor of History and author
Tom Hamilton, bass player for Aerosmith
Josiah Johnson Hawes, pioneering 19th-century photographer
Beatrice Herford, actress
Joyce Kulhawik, arts and entertainment anchor for WBZ-TV News in Boston
Allen Morgan, founder and first executive director of Sudbury Valley Trustees
Johnny Most, the radio voice of the Boston Celtics
Tim Murphy, head coach of the Harvard football team
Bobby Orr former Boston Bruins hockey player the MVP of the 1972 Stanley Cup
Jonathan Papelbon, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
Alvaro Pascual-Leone, noted neuroscientist
Peter Rowan, bluegrass musician
Harold Russell, Academy Award winner
Alberto Salazar, marathon runner
Taylor Schilling, actress.
Tom Scholz, guitarist for 70's rock group Boston
Harley Yanoff, actor and founder of Spotlight Productions
Edmund Sears, 1800s Unitarian parish minister, author famous for penning the words to "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear".
Sarah Sewall, lecturer
Ryan Sypek, actor and star of the TV series Wildfire
Steven Tyler, band member of Aerosmith
Gladys Widdiss, tribal historian and potter, President of the Aquinnah Wampanoag of Gay Head

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#31 Norwood

The Town of Norwood, officially formed in 1872, was until that time part of Dedham, known as the "mother of towns", as fourteen of the present communities of eastern Massachusetts lay within its original borders. During the American Revolution, there was a Minuteman company organized in the area.

Norwood by the numbers
Established: 1872
Population: 28,602
Median household income: $75,957
Median housing price: $375,900

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 31
Affordability ranking: 247
Education ranking: 133
Economic condition ranking: 165
Safety ranking: 132
Arts & Culture ranking: 36

Famous people
Ezra T Benson, Mormon pioneer
Alexander Scammel, Revolutionary War officer
Lydia Taft, First US female voter
Eli Thayer, Abolitionist Congressman

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#30 Medfield

A safe, small town community with a traditionally strong education system, Medfield has been home to a slew of local professional athletes that moved to the area. Among the dozens of historical attractions in Medfield are the Peak House, Lowell Mason Museum, and the Medfield Historical Society.

Medfield the numbers

Established: 1651
Population: 12,024
Median household income: $133,931
Median housing price: $493,300

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 30
Affordability ranking: 84
Education ranking: 29
Economic Condition ranking: 13 
Safety ranking: 21
Arts & Culture ranking: 211

Famous people

Hannah Adams, the first female professional writer in America.
Uzo Aduba, Emmy-nominated actress, stars in Orange Is the New Black
Curt Schilling, former pitcher for the Red Sox
Rich Gotham, president of the Boston Celtics
Ron Erhardt, former head coach of the New England Patriots
Raymond Berry, former Patriots head coach
Pete Carroll, former Patriots head coach
John Hannah, former Patriots lineman, NFL Hall of Famer
Randy Moss, former Patriots wide receiver
Drew Bledsoe, former Patriots quarterback
Eric Mangini, former Patriots defensive coach
Ted Johnson, former Patriots linebacker
Donald E. Booth, US Ambassador to Ethiopia.

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#29 Burlington

Burlington takes its name from the English town of Bridlington, Yorkshire. It was first settled in 1641 and was officially incorporated on February 28, 1799; several of the early homesteads are still standing, such as the Francis Wyman House, dating from 1666. 

Burlington by the numbers
Established: 1799
Population: 24,498
Median household income: $94,804
Median housing price: $413,000

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 29
Affordability ranking: 163
Education ranking: 139
Economic condition ranking: 73
Safety ranking: 206
Arts & Culture ranking: 46

Famous people
Ezra T Benson, Mormon pioneer
Alexander Scammel, Revolutionary War officer
Lydia Taft, First US female voter
Eli Thayer, Abolitionist Congressman

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#28 Foxborough

Foxborough was once home of the world's largest straw hat factory, and now is home to the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, and Patriot Place. Foxborough also has fun community recreational activities, and outdoors-y people will love biking or hiking F. Gilbert Hills Forest.

Foxborough by the numbers

Established: 1778
Population: 16,865
Median household income: $91,601
Median housing price: $3186,800

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 28
Affordability ranking: 51
Education ranking: 76
Economic Condition ranking: 85
Safety ranking: 256
Arts & Culture ranking: 80

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#27 Northborough

Despite the major roads that traverse the town, Northborough has remained residential, even as it continues to expand. The town's recently opened Northborough Crossing is a blend of residential and retail establishments, which are providing additional revenue and jobs. Home to to various industries along the Assabet River, including grist and saw mills, iron and brick works and cotton and woolen mills in the past, Northborough is now tied to the electronics industry.  

Northborough by the numbers
Established: 1766
Population: 14,155
Median household income: $108,415
Median housing price: $349,100

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 27
Affordability ranking: 26
Education ranking: 68
Economic condition ranking: 43
Safety ranking: 133
Arts & Culture ranking: 107

Famous people
William Francis Allen, Classical Scholar
Mark Fidrych, Detroit Tigers pitcher
Nathaniel Raymond, Human rights investigator
Luther Rice, Founder of George Washington University
Mike Sherman, Former Head coach of Green Bay Packers

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#26 Westwood

Westwood is not only a convenient location for residents to travel and commute to Boston but also a beautiful suburban community with top quality schools and numerous recreational facilities. Home to over two hundred businesses, retail and service establishments, shopping areas, and corporate offices are located in various commercial areas. The town’s commercial real estate base is being transformed by the University Service Project, a 2.3 million square foot retail, office, and residential area located next to a major railway station.

Westwood by the numbers

Established: 1897

Population: 14,618
Median household income: $128,984
Median housing price: $607,000

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 26
Affordability ranking: 237
Education ranking: 8
Economic condition ranking: 17
Safety ranking: 61
Arts & Culture ranking: 169

Famous people

Dicky Barrett - lead singer of the ska-core band the Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Bishop Christopher Coyne - Served as parish priest of St. Margaret Mary Church
Jon Finn - guitarist, rock musician
Kenny Florian - Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter
John Harrington - former CEO of the Boston Red Sox
Matt Hasselback - NFL quarterback
Peter S. Pezzati - portrait painter
Barry Reed - American trial lawyer and bestselling author
Robert B. Rheault - American military officer and commander of all US Army Special Forces in Vietnam in 1969
Milt Schmidt- former Boston Bruin and hockey hall of famer
Fern Flaman - former Boston Bruin and Toronto Maple Leaf. Stanley Cup winner and Hall of Famer
Robert Steele (drum major) - drummer boy for the Continental Army during the Battle of Bunker Hill of the Revolutionary War; buried in the Old Westwood Cemetery.
Mike Woicik - Strength and conditioning coach for the New England Patriots, and the only person with six Super Bowl rings

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#25 Chelmsford

At its inception, Chelmsford's economy was based around lumber and limestone.  The local militia played a big role in American victories in the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill.  Another claim to fame is the Canada Dry Ginger Ale brand, which acquired Chelmsford Ginger Ale in the ealy 1900's.

Chelmsford by the numbers

Established: 1655
Population: 33,802
Median household income: $96,336
Median housing price: $337,700

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 25
Affordability ranking: 87
Education ranking: 70
Economic Condition ranking: 68
Safety ranking: 142
Arts & Culture ranking: 60

Famous people

Josiah Gardner Abbott, U.S. Rep. from Massachusetts
Keith Aucoin, NHL player
Phil Bourque, NHL player
Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald sports columnist and radio host on WEEI.
George Condo, painter who has worked with Andy Warhol and Kanye West
Gururaj Deshpande, social entrepreneur
Steve Hunt, jazz pianist
Ulysses John "Tony" Lupien, MLB player
Jon McKennedy, NASCAR driver
Jon Morris, NHL player
Peter Torkildsen, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party 
Lance Wilder, background design supervisor for The Simpsons
Liz McCartney, Broadway actress

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#24 Andover

Perhaps most known for having one of the oldest and most prestigious independent secondary "prep" schools in the U.S. - Phillips Academy, Andover prides itself for its high quality schools and active community life. The town doesn't fall short in cultural attractions like canoeing along the Shawsheen River and horseback riding in Harold Parker State Forest. The town has truly evolved into a highly desirable community for anyone who enters its borders.

Andover by the numbers

Established: 1646

Population: 33,201
Median household income: $112,681
Median housing price: $458,800
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 24
Affordability ranking: 146
Education ranking: 41
Economic condition ranking: 33
Safety ranking: 71
Arts & Culture ranking: 83

Famous people

Abiel Abbot, Massachusetts clergyman and author
Benjamin Abbot, teacher at Phillips Academy
Amos Abbott, United States Congressman from Massachusetts
John Adams, teacher at Phillips Academy from 1810 through 1832
Harriette Newell Woods Baker, authoress, over 200 short stories
Anne Bradstreet, 17th-century poet
Lorraine Broderick, Emmy-award winning writer
Bill Buckner, former Red Sox player
Steven T. Byington, American individualist anarchist
Sumner Carruth, Civil War officer
Mike Mullen, United States Navy Admiral
Michael Casey, poet
Michael Chiklis, actor, The Shield
Andrew Coburn, author
Bill Cunliffe, Grammy Award winning composer, arranger, jazz pianist
Buddy Farnham, wide receiver for the New England Patriots
Barry Finegold, member of the Mass. House of Representatives (served 1996–present)
Dudley Fitts, educator, critic, poet and translator
Abiel Foster, clergyman and United States Congressman from New Hampshire
Joseph Frye, brigadier general in the Continental Army
Kara Hayward, actress known for the movie Moonrise Kingdom
Jeremiah Ingalls, early American folk composer
Martin Johnson, lead vocalist and guitarist for band Boys Like Girls
Priscilla Lane, actress, Arsenic and Old Lace
Jonathan Leavitt, founder, early New York City publishing house
Jay Leno, entertainer, The Tonight Show
Jim Loscutoff, former Boston Celtics player
Paul Monette, prize-winning author
Mary McGarry Morris, prize-winning authoress
Marcus Morton (jurist), Chief Justice(1882–1890) of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Samuel Osgood, United States Postmaster General under President George Washington
Salem Poor, freed slave of Andover and Revolutionary War soldier
Jenny Powers, actress on Broadway
Jim Rice, left fielder for the Boston Red Sox
Blanchard Ryan, actress, Open Water
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, nineteenth-century author
Samuel Francis Smith, wrote America while a student at Andover Theological Seminary
Harriet Beecher Stowe, buried in Andover
George L. Street, III, World War II winner of Medal of Honor
Susan Tucker, recent member of the Mass. House of Representatives the Mass. Senate
Robert Urich, actor known for the TV series Vega$ and Spenser for Hire
Ryan Hanigan, current Cincinnatti Reds catcher

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#23 Southborough

Southborough incorporates the smaller villages of Cordaville, Fayville, and Southville. Known as the home of top private schools St. Mark's and the Fay schools, Southborough also has a strong public education system. The Sudbury Reservoir, which occupies a quarter of the town, enhances the image of a town that was at once a farming community. On Columbus Day, the community celebrates Heritage Day with a parade anchored by youth organizations, the Algonquin Regional High School marching band, and police and fire vehicles. At the end of the parade, vendors and local organizations set up booths with refreshments, food, and crafts. 

Southborough by the numbers

Established: 1727
Population: 9767
Median household income: $143,581
Median housing price: $489,600

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall Ranking: 23
Affordability ranking: 40
Education ranking: 25
Economic condition ranking: 8
Safety ranking: 28
Arts & Culture ranking: 175
 
Famous people

Warner Oland, Actor
Luis Tiant, Former Red Sox pitcher
Michael Weishan, Former PBS host
Mike Port, Former Red Sox third baseman

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#22 Sharon

The town's Central Post Office Square welcomes everyone with the sign "A nice place to live because it's naturally beautiful." Sharon, located 22 miles midway between Boston and Providence, is a charming town with a natural treasure called Lake Masspoag. Residents can enjoy outdoor life through concerts, fireworks, fishing, and swimming on Memorial Beach.

Sharon by the numbers

Population: 17,612
Median household income: $125,362
Median housing price: $368,900

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 22
Affordability ranking: 15
Education ranking: 14
Economic condition ranking: 22
Safety ranking: 12
Arts & Culture ranking: 193

Famous people

Mildred Allen, physicist
Tully Banta-Cain, NFL player
Leonard Bernstein, composer (summer resident)
Etan Cohen, screenwriter
Arthur Vining Davis, industrialist and philanthropist
Tommy Harper, baseball player
Amasa Hewins, portrait, genre and landscape painter
Roland James, football defensive back
Sam Jones, Boston Celtics basketball player
Myron Kaufmann, (NY Times best selling) novelist
Bill Keating, congressman
Henry Way Kendall, physicist, Nobel laureate
Ty Law, football cornerback
Jack Levin, criminologist
Bruce Pearl, basketball coach
Frank Salemme, Italian/Irish mobster and former boss of Patriarca crime family
Deborah Sampson, Revolutionary era heroine
Pete Seibert, ski resort founder
Andre Tippett, football linebacker (Hall of Fame)
Charles Q. Tirrell, congressman
Terrence Wheatley, football cornerback
Nick Zinner, guitarist

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#21 Franklin

Incorporated in 1778, Franklin named itself in honor of U.S. statesman Benjamin Franklin. At the Franklin Public Library, the first public library in America, there are original books donated by Benjamin Franklin. This suburban industrial community on the watershed between Charles and Blackstone Rivers also has a wide spectrum of architectural styles which include High Victorian Gothic buildings seen in Dean College.

Franklin by numbers

Population: 31,635
Median household income: $99,194
Median housing price: $380,900

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 21
Affordability ranking: 100
Education ranking: 47
Economic condition ranking: 61
Safety ranking: 19
Arts & Culture ranking: 76

Famous people

Peter Laviolette, current Head Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, former Head Coach of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes. Coached Team USA in the 2006 Olympics in Italy
Horace Mann, educator
Josh Miller, football player
Jimmy Rodgers, basketball coach
Ed Ronan, hockey player
Andrea Ross, actress and singer
Asante Samuel, football player
Bobby Santos III, NASCAR driver
Vince Wilfork, football player for the New England Patriots
Ilario Zannino, mobster
Ellis Hobbs, former Patriots player
Bob Ward, Fox 25 News reporter/ anchor
Kevin Lemanowicz, WFXT Fox 25 Chief Meteorologist
Eugene Wilson, former Patriots football player

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#20 Dover

A residential town on the south side of the Charles River, Dover has a variety of open spaces, trails, and woods for residents and wildlife to put to good use.  In addition to being a top community for education, Dover also features historical attractions like the Benjamin Caryl House and the Sawin Building.

Dover by the numbers

Established: 1836
Population: 5,589
Median household income: $187,829
Median housing price: $909,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 20
Affordability ranking: 146
Education ranking: 6
Economic Condition ranking: 2
Safety ranking: 36
Arts & Culture ranking: 300

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#19 Weston

Located on a rugged upland plateau, Weston is a suburban town on the perimeter of metropolitan Boston. The town has maintained open spaces and over 60 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, playgrounds, ball fields, golf courses and cross-country skiing areas. Weston boasts a great school system and a quiet, well-kept neighborhood with great homes.    

Weston by the numbers

Established: 1713
Population: 11,261
Median household income: $192,563
Median housing price: $1,000,000

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 19
Affordability ranking: 263
Education ranking: 7
Economic Condition ranking: 1
Safety ranking: 26
Arts & Culture ranking: 223

Famous people

Frederic C. Dumaine, Jr., American business executive and Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party from 1963-1965
Sarah Fuller, author and educator who taught Helen Keller
Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins
Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform
Stephen Pagliuca, managing director of Bain Capital, co-owner of the Boston Celtics
Anne Sexton, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
Robert Winsor, prominent American banker and financier of the early 20th century
Steve Belkin, owner of the Atlanta Hawks and formerly the Thrashers
M. L. Carr, former Boston Celtics player and head coach
John Havlicek, former Boston Celtics player
Cedric Maxwell, former Boston Celtics player and current radio announcer
Bobby Orr, player for Boston Bruins
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox DH/1B
Jerry Remy, former Boston Red Sox player and current TV announcer
Willard Rice, 1924 Olympic hockey player
Kevin Youkilis, former Boston Red Sox player
James Pallotta, owner of the Boston Celtics and AS Roma; Founder of Raptor Capital Management

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#18 Needham

Initially an agricultural town, Needham came to rely on land speculation, housing development, and knitted underwear as the bases of their economy. The development of highway systems allowed the town to turn to industry, and create its first industrial park in 1950. Today, Needham is primarily a residential community, with easy access into Boston.

Needham by the numbers

Established: 1711

Population: 28,886
Median household income: $127,753
Median housing price: $662,500

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 18
Affordability ranking: 157
Education ranking: 32
Economic condition ranking: 18
Safety ranking: 187
Arts & Culture ranking: 79

Famous people

Ananda Coomaraswamy, art historian, philosopher, and Indologist
Nelson Goodman, philosopher
Thomas Huckle Weller, virologist, Nobel Prize winner, died in Needham
Harold Russell, actor
Sarah Saltzberg, actress/singer, star of Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Edmund H. Garrett, prolific 19th- and 20th-century book illustrator
Pietro Pezzati, portrait artist
Michael John Straub, artist
Walter E. Ware, architect
N.C. Wyeth, artist
Ellie Brown, artist
Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com
Joey McIntyre, singer-songwriter and actor
Marissa Nadler, singer
Richard Patrick, Founder of industrial band Filter and former member of Nine Inch Nails
Tiger Okoshi, jazz trumpet musician
Edward T. Barry, ice hockey player and coach
Dave Cadigan, offensive lineman in the NFL
Robbie Ftorek, NHL coach
Mike Milbury, former player of Boston Bruins and now Sportscaster
Tom O'Regan, former forward for the Boston University Terriers and the Pittsburgh Penguins
Aly Raisman, US Women's artistic gymnast and 2-time Olympic Gold medalist and bronze medalist
Karl Ravech, ESPN Baseball Tonight anchor
Derek Sanderson, former Boston Bruins player
Marsha Bemko, executive producer of "Antiques Roadshow"
Lee Eisenberg, writer for The Office
Steve Hely, writer of American Dad!
Ben Karlin, executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report
Molly McAleer, writer for 2 Broke Girls, correspondent for Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, founder of HelloGiggles
Scott Rosenberg, screenwriter
John Slattery, actor on Mad Men
Janet Tashjian, author of The Gospel According to Larry

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#17 Westborough

Westborough has become one of the leading centers for technology and biotechnology in Massachusetts, and even the US on the whole. While more urban than some other Central Mass towns, the Westborough Community Land Trust oversees 15 different sets of walking trails, called the “Charm Bracelet”. When completed, the 28 mile loop around town will connect every open space, recreation area, school and neighborhood. Westborough’s access to the commuter rail and Routes 9 and 495 make it an ideal commuter location. Route 9 provides access to business, industry, shopping and restaurants.

Westborough by the numbers

Established: 1717
Population: 18,272
Median household income: $100,905
Median housing price: $397,300

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 17
Affordability ranking: 164
Education ranking: 23
Economic condition ranking: 57
Safety ranking: 59
Arts & Culture ranking: 66

Famous people

Eli Whitney Blake, inventor of stone crusher, businessman
Jaime Brockett, folk singer
Jim Campbell, hockey player
Andrew Clements, children's author
Henry W. Corbett, businessman and senator
Mark D. Devlin, author
Esther Forbes, author
Tod Griffin, actor
Ashley Hayden, luge athlete
Richard B. Johnson, author
Horace Maynard, politician
Thomas Rice, politician and founding citizen
John Ruggles, politician
Jordan Smotherman, ice hockey player
Nikki Stone, skier
Jeffrey Thomas, science fiction and horror author
Eli Whitney, inventor and industrialist
Jack M. Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts

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#16 Arlington

To honor those buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington was given its new name in 1867. Thriving as a farming community in its early years, the town is quite rich in history. It is not only the site of  Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride to alert colonists during the American Revolution but also the location of Jason Russell House, a yellow colonial that today functions as a museum to remember twelve Americans who were killed in this this dwelling.

Arlington by the numbers

Established: 1807

Population: 42,844
Median household income: $89,841
Median housing price: $498,700
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 16
Affordability ranking: 297
Education ranking: 24
Economic condition ranking: 90
Safety ranking: 122
Arts & Culture ranking: 52

Famous people

Nate "Tiny" Archibald, guard for the Boston Celtics (1978–1983)
Sven Birkerts, essayist and literary critic
Paul Boudreau, current NFL Offensive Line coach for the St. Louis Ram
Michael Bowman, actor Me, Myself and Irene
John Quincy Adams Brackett, Former Massachusetts Governor
William Stanley Braithwaite, writer, poet and literary critic. Won Spingarn Medal in 1918
Christopher Castellani, writer
Andrew Chaikin, space journalist and author of A Man on the Moon, on which HBO based a miniseries
Haroutioun Hovanes Chakmakjian, chemistry professor, Armenian scholar, and father of Alan Hovhaness
Dane Cook, comedian & actor
Robert Creeley, poet
Cyrus E. Dallin, sculptor, best known for the Appeal to the Great Spirit sculpture in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Adio diBiccari, sculptor
Joshua Eric Dodge, Wisconsin Supreme Court
Olympia Dukakis, actress, Academy Award winner
Bob Frankston, co-inventor of Visicalc, the first electronic spreadsheet
Roy J. Glauber, Nobel Prize winner (Physics), 2005
Katy Grannan, photographer
George Franklin Grant, first black graduate of Harvard Dental School and inventor of a type of golf tee
Deborah Henson-Conant, Grammy-nominated harpist
Mike Holovak, former quarterback with the Boston Patriots
Alan Hovhaness, composer
Timothy Hutton, Actor, youngest winner of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
John A. "Johnny" Kelley, Boston Marathon winner, 1935 and 1945, Olympian athlete
Richard Lennon, Roman Catholic bishop
J. C. R. Licklider, computer scientist
William J. McCarthy, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
Eugene Francis McGurl, US Army Air Forces 95th Bomb Sq., 17th Bomb Grp Navigator who flew with Crew 5 in General Jimmy Doolittle's famous "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo" raid in World War II.
Tom McNeeley, Jr., former heavyweight contender who challenged Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title in Toronto in 1961
Eileen Myles, poet, novelist
John Francis Paramino, sculptor, best known for "The Founder's Memorial" in Boston Common, commissioned for Boston's tercentenary
Andy Powers, former Boston College hockey player and minor league hockey player
David Powers, former Special Assistant to US President John F. Kennedy
Herb Reed, vocalist and founding member of The Platters
Ron Rivest, cryptographer
Bill Robertie, backgammon, chess and poker player and author
Dave "Chico" Ryan, bassist of Sha Na Na
Whitney Smith, vexillologist and designer of the flag of Guyana.
Chris Smither, blues guitarist/singer
Mark J. Sullivan, Director of the United States Secret Service
John Townsend Trowbridge, writer
Samuel Whittemore, elderly soldier in the Battle of Lexington and Concord
Alan Wilson (musician), also known as Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson; singer, songwriter, leader of Canned Heat
Samuel Wilson, meat-packer, namesake of "Uncle Sam"
Tom Yewcic, former quarterback with the Boston Patriots from 1961–66, and former catcher for the Detroit Tigers; only person ever to play two professional sports at Fenway Park

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#15 Barnstable

Cape Cod's largest town, Barnstable is an All-America City Award winner with seven distinct villages. This haven is a destination for many, including the Kennedy family, whose family compound is a tourist attraction. During the summer months, tourists frequent the charming streets of Hyannis, line the beach shores, and visit museums such as the John F. Kennedy Museum and U.S. Coast Guard Museum. Cape Cod Pathways offers a heavenly life through the smell of pines and oaks, wildlife sanctuaries, whale watch cruises, and sand dunes.

Barnstable by the numbers

Established: 1638 (town), 1989 (city)
Population: 45,193
Median household income: $60,135
Median housing price: $349,500
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 15
Affordability ranking: 293
Education ranking: 266
Economic Condition ranking: 270
Safety ranking: 257
Arts & Culture ranking: 9

Famous people

More than 50 famous politicans, novelists, actors, athletes and more, have called Barnstable home.

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#14 Concord

Well-deserved for its lovely looks and alluring historic site, Concord has an indisputable transcendent nature. The beautiful woods, fields, streams, and ponds were once home and inspiration to so many Transcendentalists. Henry James called the town “the biggest little place in America” because of its prominent literary figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott.

Concord by the numbers

Established: 1635
Population: 17,668
Median household income: $134,705
Median housing price: $684,200
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 14
Affordability ranking: 268
Education ranking: 2
Economic condition ranking: 11
Safety ranking: 100
Arts & Culture ranking: 104
 
Famous people

Concord's list of famous residents is more than 100 long, and includes the writers/philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau among others.

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#13 Sudbury

The town was incorporated in 1639. One of Sudbury's historic landmarks, the Wayside Inn, claims to be the country's oldest operating inn, built and run by the Howe family for many generations. Sudbury also contributed the most militia during King Philip's War and was the site of a native raid.

Sudbury by the numbers
Established: 1639
Population: 17,659
Median household income: $170,924
Median housing price: $632,800

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 13
Affordability ranking: 97
Education ranking: 9
Economic condition ranking: 3
Safety ranking: 18
Arts & Culture ranking: 140

Famous people
Ezra T Benson, Mormon pioneer
Alexander Scammel, Revolutionary War officer
Lydia Taft, First US female voter
Eli Thayer, Abolitionist Congressman

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#12 Wellesley

Wellesley is home to 3 colleges: Wellesley College, Babson College and Mass Bay Community. Along with the constant flow of ambitious young college students each year, residents continue to be governed via Town Meeting. The Recycling and Disposal Facility, where residents sort, recycle and reuse items, reveals how much Wellesley values community. With woodland, streets lined with grand old trees and beautiful railroad stations, this quaint Boston suburb has proud dedication to education and nature.

Wellesley by the numbers

Established: 1881
Population: 27,982
Median household income: $159,167
Median housing price: $903,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 12
Affordability ranking: 288
Education ranking: 22
Economic Condition ranking: 5
Safety ranking: 43
Arts & Culture ranking: 77

Famous poeple

Wellesley's list of famous residents is long, including professional athletes, poets, and professional poker players, but the community really stands out for its extensive list of Noble Proze winners: Nicolaas Bloembergen (physics), Konrad Bloch (medicine), Peter diamond (economics), Salvador Luria (medicine), Mario Molina (chemistry), Clifford Shull (physics), Robert Solow (economics), and Samuel Ting (physics).

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#11 Quincy

Nicknamed the "City of Presidents," Quincy practically bleeds history.  John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and John Hancock were born and raised in Quincy, where manufacturing has been the backbone of the economy for centuries. Quincy’s granite quarries produced stone from 1825 to 1963, which was used not only to construct the Bunker Hill Monument, but countless buildings in Massachusetts and far beyond. There are too many historic residents to list, but it's safe to say Quincy played a huge role in the birth of America.

Quincy by the numbers

Established: 1792
Population: 92,271
Median household income: 61,328
Median housing price: $341,600

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 11
Affordability ranking: 303
Education ranking: 241
Economic Condition ranking: 259
Safety ranking: 201
Arts & Culture ranking: 7

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#10 Westford

Incorporated in 1729, Westford is a charming town covered by rolling hills, lakes, and apple orchards. Originally famous for its farms and woolen mills, Westford is now mostly a bedroom community committed to the progress of high tech. Every May, the town has an Apple Blossom Festival with a parade and the crowning of an apple blossom queen. In June, the Strawberry Festival features a wonderful craft fair and strawberry shortcake.

Westford by the numbers

Established: 1729

Population: 21,951
Median household income: $124,464
Median housing price: $448,100

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 10
Affordability ranking: 74
Education ranking: 5
Economic condition ranking: 23
Safety ranking: 29
Arts & Culture ranking: 129

Famous people

Joel Abbot, noted naval officer
Pat Bradley, Member of World Golf Hall of Fame
Jackie MacMullan, sportswriter
Lt. Col. John Robinson, Revolutionary War soldier
Aaron Stanford, actor
Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards, creator of the field of home economics, first woman admitted to MIT, co-founder of American Association of University Women
Tommy Severo, Comedian / Winner of television's "Beauty and the Geek"
Michael Fucito, Major League Soccer player, first drafted by the Seattle Sounders FC, currently plays for Sacramento FC.

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#9 Braintree

Braintree has a rich history, as the birth of two U.S. presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The town is currently a mix of established homes, new developments, and condominiums. Braintree boasts one of the largest shopping centers in the northeast: The South Shore Plaza. This primarily residential area is home to numerous recreational spots including its Town Forest, Pond Meadow Park, Sunset Lake, and Smith Beach. Braintree is also home to Thayer Academy, one of the top prep schools in the region.

Braintree by the numbers

Population: 35,744
Median household income: $81,844
Median housing price: $364,300
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 9
Affordability ranking: 179
Education ranking: 56
Economic condition ranking: 124
Safety ranking: 223
Arts & Culture ranking: 35

Famous residents

John Adams, signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the first Vice President of the United States, econd President of the United States.
John Quincy Adams, American diplomat, sixth President of the United States, member of the United States House of Representatives.
John Hancock, signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, fourth President of the Continental Congress, American diplomat and statesman.
Sylvanus Thayer, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, called "the Father of West Point".
Thomas A. Watson, primary assistant of Alexander Graham Bell, assisted in invention of the telephone; founder of Fore River Shipyard.
Joe Amorosino, reporter and sports director for WHDH-TV.
Jim Calhoun, former head coach of University of Connecticut men's basketball team.
Chris Doherty, musician and recording artist from the band Gang Green.
Tiffany Kelly, beauty pageant winner, Miss Massachusetts of 2006.
Peter Kormann, American gymnast and winner of the bronze medal in men's floor competition at the 1976 Olympics
Don McKenney, hockey center, captain of the Boston Bruins 1954–1963.
Jose Offerman, baseball player for the Boston Red Sox
William Rosenberg, creator of the Dunkin' Donuts restaurant chain.
Butch Stearns, sports anchorman, now Chief Content Officer for The Pulse Network.
Mo Vaughn, baseball player for the Boston Red Sox
Donnie Wahlberg, record producer, songwriter, singer, actor; founding member of the musical group New Kids on the Block
Mark Wahlberg, film and television producer, Academy Award nominated actor, former member of the musical group New Kids on the Block, and former lead singer of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

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#8 Shrewsbury

If people turn off busy Route 9, they would see a very different town than what initially meets the eye in Shrewsbury. Once home to Spag’s, a discount store owned by local businessman Anthony Borgatti, Shrewsbury is now a thriving community with a blend of residential and commercial development. The town, which boasts beautiful parks and lakes, is also home to three Nationally Registered Historic Places: The Gen. Artemas Ward Homestead, the Shrewsbury Historic District, and two 1767 Milestones, which marked the route of the old Boston Post Road.

Shrewbury by the numbers

Established: 1727
Population: 35,608
Median household income: $92,132
Median housing price: $363,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 8
Affordability ranking: 96
Education ranking: 20
Economic condition ranking: 83
Safety ranking: 42
Arts & Culture ranking: 62

Famous people

Lillian Asplund, Last American survivor of the SS Titanic
Gregory McDonald, Author
Craig C Mello, Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine
Francis Patrick O'Connor, Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge
Robert Allan Ridley Parker, Director of the NSA Management Office at the Jet Propulsion Lab
Charles P Pierce, Journalist, panelist on NPR.

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#7 Lexington

The "birthplace of American liberty," this patriotic town offers a plethora of historical sites, but also a fair number of galleries and entertainment. Residents can read up on the revolutionary period at Cary Memorial Library, the first tax-supported library in the country, while newbies might tour the Battle Green, visit the National Heritage Museum and discover other fascinations of history. The miles of bikeway paths and trails make Lexington a wholesome place as well.

Lexington by the numbers

Established: 1713
Population: 31,394
Median household income: $139,061
Median housing price: $704,600

2014 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 7
Affordability ranking: 271
Education ranking: 1
Economic Condition ranking: 9
Safety ranking: 45
Arts & Culture ranking: 74

Famous people

Lexington has more than 50 famous residents, including several Nobel Prize winners.

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#6 Natick

Natick takes its name from on its original settlement on South Natick’s hilly landscape. Natick was primarily a farming town before the invention of the sewing machine in 1858. Every year on Patriot’s Day, thousands of residents and visitors come to watch miles 8 through 12 of the Boston Marathon, which run through the town. It is also home to one of the oldest operating ten-stool diners in the U.S. - Casey’s Diner, which is famous for its steamed hot dogs.  

Natick by the numbers

Established: 1781

Population: 33,006
Median household income: $95,202
Median housing price: $424,700
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 6
Affordability ranking: 205
Education ranking: 39
Economic condition ranking: 72
Safety ranking: 170
Arts & Culture ranking: 30

Famous people

Horatio Alger, Jr., minister, author of children's books with a rags to riches theme, settled in Natick in 1860 and built his family home in South Natick
Thomas S. Allen, American composer and lyricist of musicals including Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
James Bamford, author, journalist who writes about the world of United States intelligence agencies
John Carlson, NHL player for the Washington Capitals
William Finn, Tony-winning composer and lyricist of musicals including Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Keene Fitzpatrick, legendary track coach at Yale, Michigan and Princeton, 1890–1932
Jorssen Flurgen, Consultant to NAPI Farm Operations, Discovered largest ever cache of Navaho artifacts, 2012
Darren Flutie, CFL and NFL veteran who attended Natick High School before going to Boston College; 2nd all time in receptions in the CFL. CFL Hall of Famer
Doug Flutie, NFL and CFL veteran who attended high school in Natick, before going to Boston College; retired from the New England Patriots after the 2005–06 season; resides in Natick, 50th Heisman Trophy winner; also played for many other NFL teams, including the Buffalo Bills
Alison Fraser, Broadway performer and two-time Tony Award nominee grew up in Natick; graduated from Natick High School (1973)
Alfred S. Hartwell, commanded the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, sister regiment of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, during the Civil War. He led Union troops into Charleston, South Carolina when it fell and worked for the Freedman's Bureau. Moved to the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1868 and was appointed Chief Justice of the Hawaiian Supreme Court.
Walt Hriniak, briefly a Major League Baseball player and, more notably, a prominent batting coach.
Joseph Keefe, longest serving Natick Public Schools superintendent (1976-1995) and community activist.
Harold Kushner, rabbi and author of many books, especially known for When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
Harvey Leonard, chief meteorologist for WCVB-TV
Meg Mallon, professional golfer on the LPGA Tour and twice winner of the U.S. Women's Open
William Nutt, moved to Natick in 1856, went to Kansas to oppose pro-slave forces there in 1858 and was an organizer of the Natick Shoe Strike in 1860. Served with the 55th Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War and rose to the rank of Colonel.
Michael Owen former principal dancer, American Ballet Theatre
Rob Patterson, former guitarist for Otep, touring guitarist for Korn, currently[when?] the guitarist for Filter (band) and engaged to Carmen Electra
Rene Rancourt, professional singer, sings the national anthem at all home Boston Bruins hockey games.
Jonathan Richman, proto-punk rock icon and founder of The Modern Lovers
Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American author and abolitionist, whose novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) attacked the cruelty of slavery and received world-wide acclaim. Her novel "Old Town Folks" was written while she was living in Natick and tells the story of her husband's family.
Alexander Wheelock Thayer, United States consul at Trieste in 1859 and author of a biography of Ludwig van Beethoven published in 1866
Waban, 17th-century tribal chief
Sara Whalen, Olympic soccer silver medalist
Henry Wilson, the eighteenth Vice President of the United States, lived at 33 West Central Street and worked as a shoemaker at his shoe shop at 181 West Central Street.

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#5 Brookline

Brookline offers residents and visitors alike a charming mix of vibrant urban life and suburban amenities. Cultural institutions such as the Kennedy National Historic site, Allandale Farm, and the Coolidge Corner Theater can be visited as well. The Brookline Village is the place of the town’s earliest restaurants and shops. Coolidge Corner is the town’s bustling commercial hub with a variety of local shops, small boutiques, and delicious restaurants.

Brookline by the numbers

Established: 1705
Population: 57,732
Median household income: $96,488
Median housing price: $702,600

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 5
Affordability ranking: 331
Education ranking: 38
Economic Condition ranking: 67
Safety ranking: 121
Arts & Culture ranking: 16

Famous people

Brookline boasts more than one hundred residents of renown, from President John F. Kennedy to television comedian Conan O'Brien.

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#4 Newton

Settled in 1630, "The Garden City" is made up of fourteen villages, with many different downtowns. The Boston suburb is dedicated to education, open spaces and community life.
Newton is no doubt an intellectual center, home to Perkins School for the Blind and three colleges including Boston College. Residents are also privileged to witness the oldest annual marathon on Patriot's Day, the Boston Marathon, and to read up on their history thanks to the comprehensive Newton Free Library.

Newton by the numbers

Established: 1688
Population: 85,146
Median household income: $119,948
Median housing price: $696,500
 
2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 4
Affordability ranking: 299
Education ranking: 19
Economic condition ranking: 25
Safety ranking: 76
Arts & Culture ranking: 22

Famous people

The list of Newton's famous residents is more than 100 esteemed and fascinating people long.

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#3 Worcester

A five-time recipient of the All-American City Award, Worcester offers its residents the resources and exciting attractions of a metropolis, balanced with the more intimate, livable scale of a mid-size city.  The city's colleges (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Holy Cross, UMass Medical, Clark, and Assumption, among others) contribute to the city's nightlife, vibrant arts community and scientific innovation.  From the Hanover Theatre to the Worcester Arts Museum to Mechanics Hall and the DCU Center, Worcester has cultural options for every taste.  

Worcester by the numbers
Established: 1722
Population: 181,045
Median household income: $45,932
Median housing price: $216,000

2015 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 3
Affordability ranking: 284
Education ranking: 342
Economic condition ranking: 332
Safety ranking: 275
Arts & Culture ranking: 2

Famous people
Albert Abraham Michelson, First American to receive Nobel Prize in Physics
Alivia Witt, Actress on Sopranos
Harvey Ball, Inventor of the smiley face
Alisan Porter Actress
Alva 'Al' Javery, Former MLB player
Andrea Ajemain, Actress
Anthony Molinari, Hollywood stuntman
Arthur Kennedy, Tony Award winner, Academy Award nominee
Bethany Veney, Pianist
Bill Guerin, US Olympic Hockey team member
Bob Cousy, Former Boston Celtics player
Cedric Ball, Former NBA player
Doug Standhope, Comedian
Zara Cully, Actress

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#2 Cambridge

Home to Harvard and MIT, this industrial-turned-intellectual hub is an attractive location for entrepreneurs in technology. The "City of Squares" offers a wide range of restaurants and shopping areas, but when the hum of the city becomes overwhelming, the beautifully landscaped Mount Auburn Cemetery--the first garden cemetery in the nation--offers respite to those looking for rest amongst the flowers and the birds. Cambridge, and particularly the Kendal Square area, have become world-class centers for the Life Sciences and technology industries.

Cambridge by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 105,162
Median household income: $72,529
Median housing price: $532,400

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 2
Affordability ranking: 327
Education ranking: 237
Economic Condition ranking: 188
Safety ranking: 246
Arts & Culture ranking: 3

Famous people

Cambridge boasts more than 100 famous residents.

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#1 Boston

Affectionately known as the “hub of the universe,” Boston is a world class city with a variety of different neighborhoods, including the North End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the South End. Steeped in history, many patriots from America's earliest days are buried in cemeteries along the Freedom Trail. Boston offers many things to do, from art museums to concert halls to professional sports teams, as well as restaurants with cuisine from all over the world.

Boston by the numbers

Established: 1822 (settled in 1630)
Population: 617,594
Median household income: $53,601
Median housing price: $371,000

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 1
Affordability ranking: 328
Education ranking: 332
Economic Condition ranking: 302
Safety ranking: 269
Arts & Culture ranking: 1

Famous people

As one might expect, hundreds of men and women of every sort of renown have lived in Boston, from clergyman Abiel Abbot to musician Rob Zombie.

 
 

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