What's it like to live in Worcester, MA?


Laura Richards

Profile written by local expert:

Laura Richards

A vibrant and diverse community nicknamed The Heart of the Commonwealth, Worcester, Massachusetts, is located approximately an hour's drive west of Boston. More than 935,000 people call the rolling hills of this metro area home.

With its affordable housing, green parks, quality hospitals and proximity to a dozen highly esteemed colleges and universities, there is a unique vitality to this metro area. Worcester provides an excellent cultural life, including amazing restaurants, concert and theater venues, and the Worcester Art Museum, which houses original works by Monet, Gauguin and Degas. You may hear locals refer to their home as "Wormtown," a nod to Worcester's underground music scene.

Similar to most large metro areas, Worcester's diverse neighborhoods yield different experiences. Downtown attracts students and millennials, while families tend to gravitate toward the numerous parks, lakes and playgrounds found in the suburbs. Each neighborhood has its own personality as well, from the Italian restaurants that line Shrewsbury Street to the historic Victorian and Queen Anne homes in the West Side area.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Worcester, Massachusetts is ranked:

#62 in Best Places to Live

#77 in Best Places to Retire

6.5

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.5
  • Value
    6.6
  • Job Market
    7.1
  • Quality of Life
    6.8
  • Net Migration
    5.7

Read how we rank places

Worcester, MA Quick Stats

  • 930,667

    Metro Population

  • $52,170

    Average Annual Salary

  • 56.0° / 39.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 40.0

    Median Age

  • $232,633

    Median Home Price

  • 48.1 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.1%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $943

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 28.3 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Worcester, MA?

One of the reasons people are attracted to Worcester is its affordability. The median sale price for a home in Worcester is significantly lower than in nearby Boston – and slightly lower than the national median. Worcester residents also tend to spend less on food and utilities than the average American, though health care costs are fairly high.

Value Index

Index Score: 6.6 /10

How we calculate this.


Worcester offers a comparable value to similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year


Worcester
$232,633

USA
$222,408

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Worcester, MA.

What's the weather like in Worcester, MA?

Situated on a series of hills, Worcester tends to have weather that differs slightly from surrounding metro areas due to its elevation. The region experiences all four seasons, and temperatures tend to be a few degrees cooler than in nearby towns. Worcester also sees a fair amount of snowfall each year, with flurries often occurring well into March.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

26.8°F


Winter

45.7°F


Spring

68.0°F


Summer

50.5°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.8 in


Winter

4.2 in


Spring

4.2 in


Summer

4.7 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Worcester, MA?

Most residents have a car for convenience, but public transportation is available thanks to the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. The WRTA buses are used by the many college and university students in the city to get to the downtown area and other parts of town. Biking around Worcester is a possibility, though the numerous hills can be a challenge for many riders. Worcester State University has a bike-share program for students, and the city is researching how to make the city more bike-friendly.

The Worcester Regional Airport is currently serviced only by JetBlue. For more options, residents head about an hour east to Boston's Logan International Airport or an hour south to Providence, Rhode Island's Green Airport. For those commuting to Boston, there is the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority commuter rail line with trains to the city and numerous towns in between. Amtrak and Greyhound provide ground transportation services as well.

Commuting in Worcester, MA

Means of Transportation
Driving
90%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
3%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
2%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

28.3 minutes

2.2 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Worcester, MA?

Worcester exudes a young vibe due to the numerous colleges and universities located here, including Clark University and Worcester State University. There are more than 36,000 college students residing in Worcester.

A variety of cultures are represented through multicultural pockets via restaurants and shops. For example, the large number of Italian restaurants, delis and shops have earned Shrewsbury Street the nickname Little Italy. The city also has a thriving LGBT community.

There are a number of different churches and synagogues in Worcester, but the majority of declared religious residents are Catholic.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Worcester as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Worcester, MA?

Worcester offers a variety of cultural and recreational activities throughout the year. During the winter, residents can head to the charming outdoor ice skating rink at the Worcester Common Oval behind the historic City Hall. Also, the metro area rings in the new year with the annual arts and culture celebration First Night Worcester.

In warmer months, there are outdoor concerts, farmers markets and 60 city parks to enjoy. Foodies have an array of restaurants to choose from, and Thursdays bring even more choices as food trucks converge downtown.

For art and hands-on learning, residents head to the Worcester Historical Museum, the Worcester Center for Crafts and the EcoTarium, a museum that celebrates science and nature. The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts and the DCU Center host Broadway musicals, concerts and other performances. Worcester also boasts its own opera company, Greater Worcester Opera.