Best counties to live in Massachusetts

Written by:
June 17, 2021
Jameslwoodward // Wikimedia Commons

Best counties to live in Massachusetts

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in Massachusetts using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

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#13. Hampden County

- Population: 467,871
- Median home value: $207,800 (61% own)
- Median rent: $906 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $55,429
- Top public schools: Longmeadow High School (A+), Springfield Preparatory Charter School (A), Glenbrook Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Springfield Commonwealth Academy (A+), Wilbraham & Monson Academy (A+), Pope Francis Preparatory School (A)
- Top places to live: Longmeadow (A+), Wilbraham (A), East Longmeadow (A)
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AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Franklin County

- Population: 70,577
- Median home value: $232,100 (69% own)
- Median rent: $976 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $60,950
- Top public schools: Conway Grammar School (A), Leverett Elementary School (A), Shutesbury Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Deerfield Academy (A+), Northfield Mount Hermon School (A+), Stoneleigh-Burnham School (A+)
- Top places to live: Deerfield (A), South Deerfield (A), Gill (B+)
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Marcbela (Marc N. Belanger) // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Bristol County

- Population: 561,037
- Median home value: $299,800 (63% own)
- Median rent: $901 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $69,095
- Top public schools: Oliver Ames High School (A), Foxborough High School (A), Mansfield High School (A)
- Top private schools: Al-Noor Academy (A+), Bishop Feehan High School (A), Legacy Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Mansfield (A), Easton (A), North Attleborough (A)
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Schlitzer90 // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Plymouth County

- Population: 515,303
- Median home value: $370,300 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,279 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $89,489
- Top public schools: Duxbury High School (A), William L. Foster Elementary School (A), Norwell High School (A)
- Top private schools: Tabor Academy (A+), Notre Dame Academy (A), Calvary Chapel Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Norwell (A), Hingham (A), Scituate (A)
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Protophobic // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Berkshire County

- Population: 126,425
- Median home value: $216,100 (69% own)
- Median rent: $872 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $59,230
- Top public schools: Monument Mountain Regional High School (A), Mt. Greylock Regional High School (A), Lenox Memorial High School (A)
- Top private schools: Berkshire School (A+), Miss Hall's School (A+), Buxton School (A)
- Top places to live: Williamstown (A+), Lenox (A), Lanesborough (A)
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Bobak // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Essex County

- Population: 783,676
- Median home value: $409,900 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,241 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $79,263
- Top public schools: Marblehead High School (A), Summer Street Elementary School (A), Community Day Charter Public School (A)
- Top private schools: Phillips Academy (A+), Brooks School (A+), The Governor's Academy (A+)
- Top places to live: Andover (A+), Marblehead (A+), Hamilton (A)
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Jwgetchell // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Dukes County

- Population: 17,312
- Median home value: $699,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,459 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $71,811
- Top public schools: Tisbury Elementary School (A), West Tisbury Elementary School (A), Chilmark Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Vineyard Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Tisbury (B+), Vineyard Haven (B+), Edgartown (B)
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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#6. Barnstable County

- Population: 213,496
- Median home value: $393,500 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,311 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $74,336
- Top public schools: Nauset Regional High School (A+), Sturgis Charter Public School (A), Eastham Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Cape Cod Academy (A+), Falmouth Academy (A+), St. John Paul II High School (A)
- Top places to live: West Falmouth (A), Orleans (A), Wellfleet (A)
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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Worcester County

- Population: 824,772
- Median home value: $280,600 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,060 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $74,679
- Top public schools: Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science (A+), Westborough High School (A+), Shrewsbury Senior High School (A+)
- Top private schools: St. Mark's School (A+), Cushing Academy (A+), Bancroft School (A+)
- Top places to live: Westborough (A+), Shrewsbury (A+), Northborough (A+)
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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#4. Suffolk County

- Population: 796,605
- Median home value: $496,500 (36% own)
- Median rent: $1,590 (64% rent)
- Median household income: $69,669
- Top public schools: Boston Latin School (A+), Boston Latin Academy (A), William P. Gorman Fort Banks Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Winsor School (A+), Boston University Academy (A+), Commonwealth School (A+)
- Top places to live: Longwood Medical Area (A+), Leather District (A+), Allston (A+)
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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Hampshire County

- Population: 161,032
- Median home value: $283,100 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,119 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $70,876
- Top public schools: Amherst Regional High School (A+), Northampton High School (A), Westhampton Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The MacDuffie School (A+), The Williston Northampton School (A+), The Hartsbrook School (A)
- Top places to live: Pelham (A+), Northampton (A), Amherst (A)
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Jameslwoodward // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Norfolk County

- Population: 700,437
- Median home value: $470,800 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,589 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $103,291
- Top public schools: Brookline High School (A+), Wellesley Senior High School (A+), Medfield Senior High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Noble and Greenough School (A+), Milton Academy (A+), Dana Hall School (A+)
- Top places to live: Brookline (A+), Wellesley (A+), Dover (A+)
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Jellymuffin40 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Middlesex County

- Population: 1,600,842
- Median home value: $500,700 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,636 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $102,603
- Top public schools: Wayland High School (A+), Lexington High School (A+), Hopkinton High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Groton School (A+), Concord Academy (A+), Middlesex School (A+)
- Top places to live: The Port (A+), Cambridgeport (A+), Peabody (A+)

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