What do Braintree and Chelmsford have in common? According to Money magazine, they are among the top 50 places to live in America.
To be considered for the honor, communities needed to have at least 25,000 residents, have a low crime rate, and a median income of at least 85% of the state average. They also screened out towns that lacked ethnic diversity.
Once they had complied a list of almost 2,000 communities around the country, the magazine further analyzed the 212,000 data points they had collected. Consideration was given to the cost of living, amenities in the community, how pleasant the weather was, the quality of the local public schools, and how diverse the community is.
Of course, in the age of pandemic, COVID-19 related considerations were also taken into account. Money looked at the number of residents who were facing housing distress and the number of unemployed residents. To ensure geographical diversity, they limited their list of the top fifty to one community per county and only two per state.
Chelmsford came in high at number 14 across. With reasonable housing prices, it is an affordable option with natural beauty and good schools. It's no surprise there. Boston magazine ranked Chelmsford High School the 31st best in Greater Boston this year.
Just below it on the list was Braintree, which ranked 26 nationally. Home of President John Adams and his son, John Quincy, the town boasts easy commutes to Boston and access to the Blue Hills Reservation. While the median home there costs more than the national average, at $427,000 it is still reasonably low in the area.
Massachusetts was not the only New England state to fair well in the survey. South of the border, Cheshire, Connecticut was ranked at number 28. The Nutmeg State can boast that this town of 29,000 has an annual strawberry festival that the editors at Money magazine found simply delightful.
For those traveling north on Route 93, Salem, New Hampshire came in at number 37. With seasonal leaf peeping, plenty of places to hike, and Canobie Lake Park, this border town has much to offer.
If you want the absolute best place to live, according to the personal finance magazine, you will have to keep heading south on Route 95 to the town of Evans, Georgia. With a median home price of just more than $100,000, you gain access to excellent schools, a family friendly community, and a diverse neighbors. Throw in that famous southern charm and it is tough to beat.