This City Has Been Named the Worst City to live in Massachusetts

Massachusetts, a state steeped in history, culture, and a thriving economy, is renowned for its prestigious universities, world-class hospitals, and flourishing industries. With a diverse and vibrant population representing various ethnicities, languages, and religions, it’s a dynamic state with a lot to offer.

However, not all cities within Massachusetts are equally appealing for residents. Some grapple with issues like high crime rates, low incomes, inadequate educational resources, and other challenges, which diminish their overall desirability. In this article, we will explore one such city that has earned the unfortunate title of the worst place to live in Massachusetts according to a recent report.

What is the worst city to live in Massachusetts?

According to a report by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion website, the dubious distinction of the worst city to reside in Massachusetts falls on Webster. Webster, a quaint town nestled in Worcester County near the Connecticut border, boasts a rich history, founded in 1832 by Samuel Slater, a pioneer of the American textile industry.

At its zenith, Webster thrived as a bustling mill town, producing textiles, shoes, and machinery. However, the decline of manufacturing in the region has taken a toll on Webster, leading to economic struggles and a reduced quality of life for its residents.

Why is Webster the worst city to live in Massachusetts?

The report by 24/7 Wall St. assessed the worst city to live in each state based on various criteria, including housing costs, poverty rates, drug-related fatalities, and crime rates. Webster fared poorly on all these fronts, earning it the undesirable title of the worst city to live in Massachusetts. Here are some reasons behind Webster’s dubious distinction:

  • Housing costs: While the median home value in Webster is $213,400, lower than the state median of $418,600, this does not equate to affordability. The median household income in Webster is a meager $49,063, significantly below the state median of $85,843. As a result, many residents are burdened by housing expenses, with 38.4% of homeowners and 58.9% of renters grappling with unaffordable housing costs.
  • Poverty rates: Webster’s poverty rate stands at 16.8%, surpassing the state rate of 9.4%. This means more than one in six Webster residents live below the federal poverty line, adversely impacting their health, education, and social mobility.
  • Drug-induced fatalities: The drug overdose death rate in Webster is 34.6 per 100,000 people, exceeding the state rate of 28.2 per 100,000 people. This reflects a substantial drug abuse and addiction problem in Webster, particularly involving opioids, which accounted for 88% of all drug overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2019.
  • Crime rates: Webster experiences a higher rate of violent crime at 1,016 per 100,000 people, surpassing the state rate of 338 per 100,000 people. This increased risk of violent crimes poses a significant concern for residents. Additionally, the property crime rate in Webster is 2,230 per 100,000 people, exceeding the state rate of 1,362 per 100,000 people, translating to a heightened risk of property-related crimes.

What can be done to improve Webster?

Webster’s status as the worst city in Massachusetts is not a permanent sentence. There are redeeming aspects of the town that can be harnessed for improvement. Some potential steps include:

  • Historic heritage: Leveraging its rich history as a mill town and a cultural center for Polish immigrants, Webster can preserve and promote its historic buildings and landmarks. Attractions like the Samuel Slater Museum and the Polish American Veterans Memorial can be showcased to attract tourists and instill pride among residents.
  • Community resources: Existing resources like the Webster-Dudley Food Share, Webster Public Library, and Webster Public Schools can be enhanced to better serve the community, fostering social cohesion and civic engagement.
  • Economic development: Opportunities such as the Webster Industrial Park, the Webster Redevelopment Authority, and the Webster Economic Development Corporation can be further supported and coordinated to stimulate economic growth and innovation in Webster.

Conclusion

Webster, labeled as the worst city to live in Massachusetts by 24/7 Wall St., faces substantial challenges. Nevertheless, the town’s historic heritage, community resources, and economic potential provide a foundation for improvement. Addressing these issues and capitalizing on these strengths can pave the way for a better quality of life for Webster’s residents and visitors alike.

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