So you want to move to Massachusetts? Wise choice! Massachusetts is bordered by one of the most popular states in the U.S. (i.e. New York) and by some other incredible places from the New England region (Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island).
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts — this is the state’s official name — is home to the Greater Boston area, which is widely known for its historical and academic influence in the States. To this day, Massachusetts is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to science.
With incredible views, a great economy, and a lot to offer in terms of education, Massachusetts is one of the top places Americans want to move to. If you’re moving/relocating to Massachusetts, this guide will show you everything you need to know about the Bay State!
Pros and Cons
When you move to a new place, it’s essential that you weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of this new place. Are you considering moving to Massachusetts but still don’t know if it’s a good idea? Here are the pros and cons of living in Massachusetts!
- Best educational institutions: if you’re a student or if you’re a parent, education is something that you prioritize. Massachusetts is home to some of the best educational institutions in the world, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- Best hospitals: when it comes to health, Massachusetts is among the top states in disease prevention rankings. In addition to that, the Bay State is home to the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, two of the best institutions in the country.
- Wealthy state: among all fifty states, Massachusetts ranked #4 out of the 10 richest stats as of 2019. The median income per household was more than $77,000!
- A safe place to live in: in general, crime in America is slowly decreasing. But Massachusetts is already one step further and is the #4 state in terms of public safety and corrections.
- Minimum wage: costs of living aside, Massachusetts offers one of the best minimum wages in the country, at $12.75. Better yet, that number is set to increase to $13.50 in 2021!
- Tons of history: if you’re a history lover, Massachusetts offers a bunch of activities for you. From museums to historic towns, you won’t be disappointed to live here!
- Surrounded by nature: the Bay State borders the Atlantic Ocean, it has mountains, and there’s plenty of forests. In other words, if you want to live in a place filled with nature, you’ll find Massachusetts a perfect option!
- Cost of living: considering that Massachusetts is one of the richest states in America, it’s only natural that its cost of living is also up there. In 2018, the Bay State was the third most expensive place to live in America.
- Decisive weather: the weather in Massachusetts is known for being pretty straightforward. When it gets cold, it gets truly cold. It can also get very, very hot out there.
- Not so active: if you like partying, you’ll be disappointed to find that, in some areas of Massachusetts, the nightlife isn’t that active.
- Insane traffic: if you’re thinking of moving to the Greater Boston area, be prepared to face a lot of traffic every day of the week. And let’s not talk about how drivers behave in this region!
- Not so friendly: if you’re from a country area, you’re probably used to people being nice and friendly. In Massachusetts, people are not so friendly, and that may be a shock for you at first.
- Infrastructure: even though Massachusetts is the seventh smallest state in America, it still leaves much to be desired in terms of infrastructure, ranking #44 among all states.
- Population: while Massachusetts is a pretty small state, the Bay State is the third most densely populated in the U.S. It is also home to the most populous city in the New England region: Boston. In other words, Massachusetts may feel suffocating if you’re not used to living around a lot of people.
It would be an understatement to say that Massachusetts has one of the richest histories among the fifty states of the USA. We picked ten fun and interesting facts about the Bay State that you may not know about!
- Home of presidents: Massachusetts is the home state of not one, but four former presidents of the United States: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush were all born in Norfolk County, MA!
- Same-sex marriage: The Bay State was the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriages back in 2004.
- A land of firsts: Massachusetts has a remarkable history and, naturally, they were the pioneers in many things. This state had the first public park in America, the first American university, the first telephone, the first computer, and many other firsts!
- Celebrities per square mile: Lots of American celebrities were born in the state of Massachusetts, including Bette Davis, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Conan O’Brien, John Krasinski, and Uma Thurman!
- A Christmas Ban: Back in the 1600s, people were still deciding what was moral and immoral. For some Massachusetts citizens, Christmas was immoral and so they banned people from celebrating this holiday!
- A 45-letter name: Lake Chaubunagungamaug, located in the town of Webster, Massachusetts has a 45 letters-long name: Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. We’re aware that it looks like a typo, but that’s actually the official name of this lake!
- Fig Newtons: Have you ever had one of these delicious treats? Well, they weren’t named after Sir Isaac Newton, but rather after the city of Newton, Massachusetts.
- Paper House: If you make a short trip just north of Boston, you’ll get to see a house made entirely out of paper!
- Home of Basketball: Back in 1891, Mr. James Naismith invented one of the world’s most popular sports: basketball. He did that at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.
- First postal code in America: although Germany had the first zip code in the world, Agawam, Massachusetts had the first postal zip code in America!
Funny State Laws
Let’s face it: every state in America has that one law that we all laugh about. In some cases, there is even more than just one funny state law. Massachusetts had quite a few funny laws. Let’s check them out!
- Legalized duels: if you’re in Boston and you want to duel someone to death, you can do that. The law just says you have to wait until next Sunday and the governor has to be present.
- Bird protection: in the entire state of Massachusetts it is illegal to scare pigeons, even if they’re scaring you!
- No fiddling: if you’re moving from a Southern city, keep in mind that it’s illegal to play the fiddle in Boston.
- License for facial hair: in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is illegal for people to wear goatees in public — unless you apply for a license!
- No lions in the movies: if you’re a pet owner, please be mindful of your pet lion when going to the movies: they’re not allowed to enter movie theaters in Massachusetts.
Weather and Climate
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is widely known for its harsh weather. The climate is mostly considered ‘humid continental’, which means that it has warm summers and cold winters. When we say ‘warm summer’, we mean a really hot summer — with an average of 82 °F (or 27 °C). The good news is that the nights are much cooler than the days during summertime, which means you can take a breather before facing another day in the sun. As to the winter, things get really snowy from November to February — with temperatures reaching as low as 16 °F (-8 °C). Snowfall is pretty severe and can range from 25’’ to 80’’, and at least one snowstorm occurs every winter.
Whether you’re more of a beach person or a forest person, Massachusetts has it all! From mind-blowing ocean views to beautiful lakes to dramatic and exciting gorges, this state has plenty to offer in terms of nature. If you want to check out some of Massachusetts top destinations, the list below may help you choose:
- Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard
- Glacial Potholes, Shelburne Falls
- Chesterfield Gorge, Chesterfield
- The Cape Cod National Seashore
- Mount Greylock, Adams
- Doane’s Falls, Royalston
- Boston Harbor Islands, Boston
- Cochituate lake, Cochituate
- The Connecticut River Valley
- Monument Mountain, Great Barrington
While Massachusetts is not one of the most dangerous places in terms of natural disasters, it still ranks #25 among all fifty states — basically, the Bay State has a 50/50 chance of experiencing natural disasters. However, you shouldn’t be too worried about this, as the state government offers safety tips and has different protocols for any situation that may occur.
- Earthquakes: while not everyone knows this, Massachusetts is not free of earthquakes. In fact, the northeastern region of the state experiences frequent earthquakes, though they are of a smaller proportion.
- Flooding: unfortunately, floods are not that unusual in the United States. Given the amount of rainfall in Massachusetts, as well as the large volume of snow during the winter, floods can occur slowly or within a few minutes.
- Severe weather: as we mentioned before, wintertime in Massachusetts can be pretty cruel. Each winter, residents in the Bay State have to deal with winter storms that can last for days and that are accompanied by extremely cold temperatures.
- Hazardous materials: being a leader in science and technology has its pros and cons. One of the cons is that Massachusetts is likely to experience hazardous materials incidents each year due to the amount of chemical material that circulates within the state.
Moving Prices from Major Cities
If you’ve moved homes before, you know exactly how the moving process works. It all can become very complicated, very quickly — unless you plan everything ahead. Moving from a major city is usually pricey, and that’s why it’s important to calculate moving costs in order to avoid straying from your budget. Below are a few estimated prices for a 2-bedroom move generated using our website calculator:
- New York City, NY to Massachusetts: $1713 – $2856
- Houston, TX to Massachusetts: $3906 – $6510
- Los Angeles, CA to Massachusetts: $5454 – $9091
- Chicago, IL to Massachusetts: $2718 – $4636
- Seattle, WA to Massachusetts: $5504 – $9173
- Atlanta, GA to Massachusetts: $2868 – $4780
Moving to Massachusetts is an incredibly smart and advantageous choice, but it does come at a price. Due to the massive number of top-rated schools (both public and private) and prestigious hospitals located across the Bay State, some of its cities have the top 5 highest real estate prices in America. In 2018, the median single-family home price in Boston was $615,000. As for rentals, the average rent price for a 1-bedroom apartment in the same region is somewhere between $1700 – $3000 per month!
Price of Living
The average cost of living in the United States is 100. Believe it or not, the cost of living index for Massachusetts is almost twice that number: 176.4. This number confirms that the Bay State is one of the most expensive places to live in all of America. Check out the estimated cost of living for a family (2 adults and 2 children) in 5 different counties in Massachusetts, according to the Family Budget Calculator provided by the EPI.
Essex County, MA
Suffolk County, MA
Norfolk County, MA
Hampden County, MA
As of 2019, Massachusetts had a population of approximately 6,89 million people, according to the census. Out of that number, 17% of the residents were 65 years or older, while 19,6% were 18 or under. Interestingly enough, more than half (51,5%) of the population was female. Out of the entire population, this was the racial composition of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2019:
- White: 80,6%
- Black or African American: 9%
- Asian: 7,2%
- Two or more races: 2,6%
- Hispanic: 12,4%
When it comes to education, it should be no surprise that Massachusetts is the first place in the ranking of best states for education. The Bay State is home to the first university in the United States, as well as the first public secondary school, the first free public school, and the first public library. Here are the top educational institutions in Massachusetts:
Elementary & Middle Schools
- Martha Jones School
- Spring Street School
- Weston Middle School
- Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School
- Thomas Prince School
- Boston Latin School
- Sturgis Charter Public School
- Hopkinton High School
- Dover-Sherborn Regional High
- Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Amherst College
- Boston University
- Wellesley College
Healthcare and Medical Institutions
After the health care reform that took place in 2006, it was established that every Massachusetts resident should have a minimal level of health insurance coverage. They also have MassHealth, which is a program that combines Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). In addition to that, Massachusetts is ranked second (losing to Hawaii only) in terms of healthcare. Here are the top 5 medical institutions in this state:
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
- Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
- Baystate Medical Center
Tourism / Attractions
Given its extensive history and privileged location, Massachusetts has quite a lot to offer to both American and international tourists. In the Bay State, you’ll find historical towns, beautiful beaches, amazing islands, breathtaking mountains, and gorges — in addition to the thick snow that falls from the sky from November through April! Here are some of the top attractions in Massachusetts:
- Martha’s Vineyard
- Fenway Park
- Cape Cod Beaches
- Plimoth Plantation
- Salem’s Historic Houses
- Old Sturbridge Village
Some of the United States’ most famous cities are located in Massachusetts. Smaller cities, bigger cities, modern cities, cities that have preserved most of their historical elements; whatever type of city you’re most comfortable with, Massachusetts probably has it! Here are the top 5 cities in the Bay State.
- Boston: the capital of Massachusetts is also the most populous city in the entire New England region. Some of the top-rated attractions in Boston include Fenway Park and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
- Cambridge: named after the University of Cambridge, this city is one of the most popular locations in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to being the home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world (Harvard and MIT), Cambridge is also a great place for startups who want to become successful.
- Springfield: the third-largest city in the Bay State, Springfield is considered the “City of Firsts”, as a lot of important inventions were developed here (including Basketball).
- Worcester: the “Heart of the Commonwealth”, Worcester is located in Central Massachusetts (hence the nickname) and is the second-most populous city in the New England region.
- Amherst: this picturesque town in Hampshire County is known for its ‘bookishness’. The townspeople are famously politically active and literate. This town is also the home to one of the greatest poets in American history, Emily Dickinson.
Massachusetts, especially the Greater Boston area, is a great place in terms of job opportunities. There are plenty of rising startups in this region, most of which are focused on technology, biotechnology, and science. Careers in Leisure and Hospitality, Education, Health Services, and Other Services are on the rise in Massachusetts. You can search for jobs using the MassHire JobQuest tool powered by the government of Massachusetts. Below are the top hiring companies in the Bay State:
- Mass General Brigham
- Dell Technologies
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals
- Akamai Technologies
- Sun Life Financial
- Rockland Trust
- Foundation Medicine
Massachusetts is home to almost a dozen Fortune 500 companies, making it one of the top states for business ventures. There are different sectors that boost the state’s economy and that help Massachusetts rank #11 of 50 in terms of Gross Domestic Product per State. Here are the top industries leading the Bay State’s economy today:
- Information Technology (IT)
- Higher Education
- Health care
Things to do in Massachusetts
Massachusetts offers attractions that will please basically every visitor. From sports to literature, you’re likely to find something fun to do in this beautiful and culturally-rich state. Here are the top 8 attractions in Massachusetts!
- Fenway Park: whether you’re a Red Sox fan or not, you’ll love to see the oldest and one of the most well-known active ballparks in baseball today.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: this museum is regarded as one of the top museums in the United States. If you’re into art, you’ll love to see the many French Impressionist paintings for which the Museum of Fine Arts is known.
- The Freedom Trail: this iconic 2.5-mile trail leads to more than 15 historically-significant sites in Boston — including sites that are important to tell the story of the American Revolution. The trail is easily spotted because it is marked by red bricks on the floor!
- Historic Houses of Salem: it’s safe to say that Salem is one of the most popular places in the world, due to the infamous Salem Witch Trials. If you want to dive into the past, this is the perfect place.
- Old Sturbridge Village: this village counts on the presence of actors dressed in costumes and acting like they are still in the 19th century. The guided tour to the village allows visitors to take a glimpse at how life was like in past centuries.
- New England Aquarium: one of the top attractions in Boston, MA is the New England Aquarium, which attracts over a million tourists every year. The Giant Ocean Tank at the aquarium simulates a coral reef and is one of the most popular attractions.
- Harvard University: given its national, and international, prestige, it’s not hard to guess why Harvard is one of the most-visited sites in Massachusetts. You can go on a free tour (guided by a current Harvard student) and visit this amazing place that is rich in history.
- Martha’s Vineyard: this attraction is one of the most popular islands in the United States and is especially popular during summertime thanks to the weather and its amazingly beautiful beaches.
As modern and innovative as it is, Massachusetts still lacks in terms of public transportation, ranking #40 out of the 50 American states. The most expressive complaints made by residents is that commute time is exceptionally high and road quality is below average. Below are some of the means of transportation you’ll find in Massachusetts:
|Commuter Rail||One-way: $2.40 – $13.45|
|Subway||One-way: $2.40 (or $1.10 with reduced fare card)|
|Ferry||One-way: $3.70 – $9.75|
|MBTA Local Bus Service||One-way: $1.70 (or $0.85 with reduced fare card)|
|MBTA Inner Express Service||One-way: $4.25|
|MBTA Outer Express Service||One-way: $5.25|
|The RIDE||Local ADA: $3.35 / Premium non-ADA: $5.60|
|GATRA||One-way: $1.50 (or ($0.75 with reduced fare card)|
Crime and Safety
Everything crime and safety-related in Massachusetts is collected by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). According to the Crime and Corrections Rankings provided by U.S. News, Massachusetts ranks at #4, based on the state’s success at modernizing prisons and their efficient correctional system. From 2015 to 2018, crime rates in the Bay State had been declining, but increased by 0.63% in 2019, with 2,913 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The number of arrests in 2019, on the other hand, decreased by 4.17% when compared to the number of arrests in 2018. More than half of the arrestees were taken into custody for minor offenses, such as DUI, trespassing of real property, disorderly conduct, and family offenses.
Acquiring a New Driver’s License
When you move to Massachusetts, one of the first things you have to do is transfer your out-of-state license or get a new one. Below are some steps on how to proceed to acquire a new driver’s license in Massachusetts:
- Decide if you’ll get a REAL ID driver’s license (this document is valid for federal purposes) or a Standard Massachusetts driver’s license (this document is not valid for federal purposes);
- Start your application online at this website;
- Gather the
following required documentation (all documents have to be
- U.S. citizenship or lawful presence;
- Social Security number;
- Massachusetts residency.
- Find the nearest RMV Service Center and bring the required documentation plus the online application forms.
In case your current driver’s license has been expired for over a year, you’ll also need to undergo a written and road test, in addition to an eye test. For Class D and Class M driver’s licenses, you’ll pay a $115 fee. If you have a Class D and M driver’s license, it will be $130 to transfer your license to Massachusetts.
Road Safety, Highways, and Routes
Massachusetts’ road system is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and they have state-numbered routes, U.S. highways, and Interstate Highways. None of the island counties have state or federal highways, and can only be accessed by water or by air. This state has 45 airports open to the public, in addition to 27 ports and harbors that receive passenger ships. Below are the main primary and auxiliary highways, and routes in Massachusetts:
|U.S. Highways||Primary Interstate Highways||Auxiliary Interstate Highways|
|US 6||I-93||I-291 (Springfield Expressway)|
Massachusetts is a culturally-rich state and, as such, it has a large number of museums displaying artwork and historically-significant pieces. From natural history to fine arts to open-air museums, we list the top 7 museums in the Bay State:
- John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
- Salem Witch Museum
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA)
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- The Harvard Museum of Natural History
- Old Sturbridge Village Museum
- Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
In the end, is moving to Massachusetts worth it?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is, for sure, one of the best states in America — even more so if you don’t mind living in packed places. While it does lack in terms of transportation, this state ranks first in terms of education, has some of the best medical institutions in the country, is one of the best places to start a new business, and is one of the top 10 safest states to live in the United States. One of the biggest downsides of living in the Bay State is that some of its cities are considered the most expensive places to live in America. However, if you’re in academia, or biotechnology, or information technology, you’ll easily find a job in Massachusetts, especially in the Greater Boston area.
How to Move to Massachusetts
Moving to a new place is not a simple thing to do, and it can give you quite a headache if you don’t know where to start. We know that moving can seem overwhelming at times, and that’s why we want to help you. Here are 10 tips to consider before you move to Massachusetts. Alternatively, you can also check our handy downloadable moving checklist.
- Plan ahead. Naturally, the first step you should take before moving to a new place is to plan ahead. You need to set some time aside to consider all the pros and cons of moving, as well as writing down everything you’ll need to do before, while, and after the moving process.
- Downsize. While it may hard to let go of things at first, you must downsize before you move somewhere else. We’re pretty sure you won’t need to take 100% of your belongings with you when you move to Massachusetts. Plus, downsizing will save you money.
- Get moving quotes. Moving can be quite expensive, especially when you move to long distances. Naturally, you’ll want to spend as little as possible when moving to a new place, that’s why it’s important to get as many quotes from movers as possible. You can get free quotes on our website.
- Book movers. Much like last-minute Christmas shopping can be tiresome and expensive, so can moving to a new place at a short notice. If you don’t book a mover ahead of the date you’re meant to leave, you’ll pay a lot more than you usually would.
- Visit your new area. Leaping into the unknown can be quite scary and that’s why we recommend that you visit your new area ahead of moving. This way, you’ll get to familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood and check if you’ll have any problems moving into the new house.
- Start packing. Now that you’ve found a new place and a moving company, it’s time to start organizing your belongings in moving boxes. Always keep in mind: downsizing is the secret to a successful move!
- Create an Essentials box. Regardless of what the word ‘essential’ means to you, it’s important to keep an essential box where you’ll store things like documents, snacks, water, and other things you’ll need easier access to.
- Say farewells. Unless you live in a secluded place and work from home, you’ll probably have a lot of people to whom you’ll need to say goodbye. Our recommendation is that you start doing this step even before you start packing, as you’ll need a lot of time saying farewells to your loved ones.
- Get some rest. Moving is probably one of the most stressful things in life — even when you plan ahead and have everything seemingly ready. That’s why it’s important that you take some rest before the big day and save all of your energy!
- Enjoy the move! As stressful and heartbreaking it may be to leave everything behind and start a new life in a new place, try to remain as cheerful as possible. Keep in mind that this is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of your life!
Moving services to help you relocate to Massachusetts
If you’re not familiar with the moving industry, you’ll find that it can be overwhelming to see the lists of services that are offered by a moving company. Before you reach out to a mover, check this list of moving services that will help you relocate to Massachusetts:
- Furniture Transportation: This is the most common type of moving service. If you’ll move furniture to Massachusetts, look for moving companies that specialize in transporting furniture efficiently and safely.
- Residential Movers: If you’re moving from a house to another, residential movers will help you with everything you need to get your moving process started and finished as quickly as possible.
- Piano Transportation: Not every moving company offers piano transportation services. If you want to move a piano to Massachusetts, make sure that your movers are trained to do that.
- Art and Antiques Movers: If you’re an art and/or antique collector, you’ll want your belongings to be transported as safely as possible so as not to damage anything. For such, you have to make sure to call a moving company that specializes intransporting art and antiques.
- Hot Tub Movers: Buying a new hot tub is way more expensive than transporting your current one to your new home. If you want to take your hot tub with you, look for moving companies that have trained professionals for that.
- Pool Table Movers: Pool tables are larger and heavier than most furniture in our homes, and that’s why you have to call a moving company that specializes in transporting pool tables safely and efficiently.
- Office Movers: Moving is not exclusive to residences — sometimes you want to relocate to a new office, and you need to contact a moving company that will help you move your office furniture to Massachusetts safely and as quickly as possible.
- Long Distance Movers: If you’re moving long-distance (i.e. out of state), your search for moving companies will narrow, as not all movers work with long-distance moving.
- Last Minute Movers: In case something comes up (e.g. a natural disaster strikes your city) and you need to move immediately, hiring a last-minute mover will help you transport your belongings as quickly as possible.