9 Pros and Cons of Living in Massachusetts

Living in Massachusetts offers great employment opportunities and natural scenery—with downsides of a high cost of living and harsh weather patterns.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
You can delve into plentiful and rich US history, explore nature and the great outdoors, and feel good about your healthcare, education, and employment opportunities living in Massachusetts—but beware of the high cost of living, poor road conditions, and harsh winter weather. 
Before moving anywhere, you should take some time to seriously consider the pros and cons of living in that place. Massachusetts has a lot of pull factors that draw many people to it, but not everything about the Bay State will appeal to everyone. 
Will a strong emphasis on education and rich US history be able to outweigh the high cost of living and the harsh winters? Let’s go over nine pros and cons of living in Massachusetts so you can decide. 
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Pro: Dive into US history 

History buffs fall in! Massachusetts, officially named the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has a long and early history with the US and became its sixth official state way back in February 1788. 
The Bay State was the site of many major historical events, like the Boston Tea Party and Salem Witch Trials, and has 191 historic landmarks that could take you years to get through. Massachusetts is ranked second for the number of historic sites in a US state (behind only New York). It’s likely you’ll gain plenty of US history knowledge when living here whether you actually set out to do that.  

Con: Pay more for, well, everything 

The cost of living in Massachusetts may be the hardest pill to swallow for some. In 2022, Massachusetts was the third most expensive state to live in behind Washington D.C. (second) and Hawaii (first), and you’ll feel the added pressure on your wallet for everything from groceries to daycare to a movie ticket. 
But perhaps where the high cost of living hits the hardest is the home prices. Buying a home can be extremely tough in the state with the fifth-highest average home values in the nation. Of course, the price of a home will depend on the specific area you’re looking to move to, so be sure to do some research if you’re working with a budget. 
If you plan to move to Boston or Harvard, for example, expect to face an average home price of around $800,000. You can find homes closer to $250,000 to $375,000 in areas like Springfield and Worcester. 
MORE: Everything you need to know about buying a house in Massachusetts 

Pro: Massachusetts is green 

The Massachusetts population, in general, is quite environmentally conscious. According to the US News ranking of the “greenest” states in the country in 2021, Massachusetts again came in the top five. Based on markers of environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors, and climate change mitigation contributions, the Bay State was deemed the third greenest state in the US. 
And how could residents not care for the earth when they have such splendid examples of its beauty? Nestled among both mountains and the sea, Massachusetts’s physical environment could appeal to anyone. 
Get to know this slice of New England’s natural beauty through the state’s many
hiking trails
, or don your skis and snowboards to enjoy the
winter months on the MA mountains
. Whatever you do, just be sure to pick up after yourself and adhere to all recycling rules

Con: Harsh winters

Depending on your affinity toward the slopes and other winter activities, this could be a pro or a con. But let it be known that Massachusetts sits along the Atlantic Ocean and thus receives a lot of snow. On average, the Bay State sees 50 inches of annual snowfall
Even if you do pass the time by learning to enjoy snow sports, all that snow certainly impacts how you’re able to get around. Be sure to stock up on your
winter essentials
and consider adding
roadside assistance/towing and labor coverage
to your
car insurance
MORE: How to check for Massachusetts road closures

Pro: Incredible education

You may have guessed this about Massachusetts since it is the home of both Harvard and MIT, but the Bay State’s education opportunities are some of the best in the nation. And not just when it comes to universities! 
Massachusetts has a high school drop-out rate of just 3.8% and more than half of the population holds an associate’s degree or higher. And in another US News list from 2021, the state was ranked #1 most college-educated in the nation! 
Now, if you’re not school-aged or don’t have any school-aged children to worry about, the education factor may not hold much weight in your moving deliberations—but being in the most educated state is still something to brag about! 

Con: Small talk is out

Again, depending on your personal preferences, this could be a pro or a con. Folks coming from areas where warm hospitality is a core value may find the Massachusetts population a little cold. This isn’t to say that you’ll be totally ignored if you say hi to someone in the grocery line, but offering that small talk to fill the silence just isn’t prioritized. 
Of course, that doesn’t describe everyone in MA, so you may find your neighbors downright chatty! Just be sure you’re prepared for a slightly colder shoulder in the culture than your quintessential Southern hospitality, for example. 

Pro: Best-in-class healthcare access 

While there aren’t many examples of absolutely stellar healthcare access in the US, Massachusetts has some of the best available. Healthcare in Massachusetts is considered the second-best healthcare in the country, just behind Hawaii. About 96% of the population has health insurance, which blows most other states’ healthcare stats away. 
If you’re someone who utilizes healthcare services often, Massachusetts may be able to provide you with a better experience.  

Con: You’ll be stuck in traffic and potholes 

Unless you live in major cities, the public transportation in Massachusetts is a little lacking and you’ll need a car to get around. And unfortunately, Massachusetts roads are pretty poorly maintained. 
The intense winter snowfall and the switch of seasons the Bay State is accustomed to prompts freezing and thawing and refreezing of the roads, a recipe for potholes. They can get so crater-like that they could decimate your car’s tire and leave you with a hefty repair bill. 
And as the cherry on top of the poor-driving-conditions sundae, urban area traffic around rush hour is the sixth most congested in the country. It’s recommended that you prioritize a car with good fuel economy when you move here.

Pro: Excellent job market 

If you’ve made it to the end of this list wondering how you’ll pay for the fancy schools, weekend ski trips, and generally expensive cost of living, you may find some solace in the Massachusetts job market! 
According to the US News, Massachusetts has the third-strongest job market of any state. In fact, it’s not uncommon for folks to move to Massachusetts just for the work opportunities! On average, the Bay State’s residents are working with an annual salary of around $65,600, though the actual amount you may make depends on the type of work you do. 
It is worth remembering you’ll be competing for jobs against Ivy League students and graduates, so try to make your resume as standout-ish as possible!  
MORE: Cheap car insurance if you don’t have a college degree

Is Massachusetts a good state to live in?

Yes, Massachusetts can be a great state to live in, but it won’t work for everyone. Before packing up and scheduling with the moving company, take the time to consider all the pros and cons of what life in Massachusetts can offer. 
You may love it in the Bay State if:
  • You’re a history buff
  • You’re a tree-hugging environmentalist or outdoor enthusiast
  • You need good healthcare 
But if harsh winters, poor road conditions, and a high cost of living rank anywhere on your Never List, Massachusetts may not be your ideal home. 
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Yes, Massachusetts can get hit by hurricanes. However, the last hurricane to touch down was in 1991, so it doesn’t seem that they happen too often.
In general, Massachusetts has freezing temperatures and a lot of snow—50 inches a year on average—but the exact conditions you’ll experience depend on where in the state you settle.
Massachusetts is not particularly racially diverse, with 70.8% of the 2018 population identifying as white. But keep in mind that racial diversity varies by locality and big cities are likely to be more diverse than smaller towns.
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