Town Listing

There are 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. (Towns in New England are similar to townships elsewhere.) Deciding which of these can be considered rural has been a topic of continuing study at the Center for Rural Massachusetts, but in recent years we have settled on using a population density of less than 500 per square mile as the criterion. The principal alternative criterion was a population less than 10,000, which is in fact what is now used by the Massachusetts Rural Development Council and is the "official" definition in state government.

A population compared with a population density threshold makes considerable sense in that it is a much more understandable measure than population density. Many Massachusetts residents can make an approximate guess at the population of their city or town, but very few can state a population density. However, Massachusetts municipalities vary enormously in size, ranging from just over one square mile (Nahant) to almost 100 square miles (Plymouth). As a result, the Center for Rural Massachusetts has chosen population density despite its inconvenience.

The following list is based on population estimates for 1994 from the Census Bureau. Population density was calculated using Census areas. CRM towns are towns that meeti the Center for Rural Massachusetts criterion of less than 500 persons per square mile. MRDC towns meet the Massachusetts Rural Development Council criterion of a total population less than 10,000.

There are 181 towns that can be considered rural by their population density, and 183 by their total population.

 


     Pop Den       Pop      CRM towns         MRDC towns

         512     6,600                        West Boylston
         537     9,904                        Acushnet
         395     9,072      Adams             Adams
          35       403      Alford            Alford
         149     5,756      Ashburnham        Ashburnham
         126     2,996      Ashby             Ashby
          43     1,742      Ashfield          Ashfield
       1,022     4,476                        Avon
         788     7,107                        Ayer
         358    11,678      Athol
         109     4,813      Barre             Barre
          35     1,611      Becket            Becket
         222    11,724      Belchertown
         331     5,473      Berkley           Berkley
         183     2,368      Berlin            Berlin
          86     2,016      Bernardston       Bernardston
         777     8,468                        Blackstone
          23     1,209      Blandford         Blandford
         180     3,593      Bolton            Bolton
         407    16,646      Bourne
         405     4,201      Boxborough        Boxborough
         297     7,112      Boxford           Boxford
         222     3,555      Boylston          Boylston
         402     9,242      Brewster          Brewster
          94     3,260      Brimfield         Brimfield
         200     3,098      Brookfield        Brookfield
         111     2,165      Buckland          Buckland
         300     4,615      Carlisle          Carlisle
         298    11,184      Carver
          47     1,236      Charlemont        Charlemont
         272    11,638      Charlton
         382     6,269      Chatham           Chatham
         130     3,499      Cheshire          Cheshire
          37     1,362      Chester           Chester
          33     1,040      Chesterfield      Chesterfield
          40       773      Chilmark          Chilmark
         133     1,701      Clarksburg        Clarksburg
         759     7,503                        Cohasset
          42     1,817      Colrain           Colrain
          46     1,720      Conway            Conway
          36       828      Cummington        Cummington
         330     7,194      Dalton            Dalton
         453    27,868      Dartmouth
         160     5,158      Deerfield         Deerfield
         257     5,761      Dighton           Dighton
         179     6,510      Douglas           Douglas
         359     5,500      Dover             Dover
         454     9,554      Dudley            Dudley
         153     2,537      Dunstable         Dunstable
         207     2,034      East Brookfield   East Brookfield
         332     4,639      Eastham           Eastham
         123     3,310      Edgartown         Edgartown
          66     1,252      Egremont          Egremont
          95     1,323      Erving            Erving
         251     3,555      Essex             Essex
          31       761      Florida           Florida
         231     8,466      Freetown          Freetown
          41       221      Gay Head          Gay Head
         557     7,210                        Georgetown
         115     1,612      Gill              Gill
          50       860      Goshen            Goshen
           7        96      Gosnold           Gosnold
         216     6,022      Granby            Granby
          37     1,558      Granville         Granville
         170     7,702      Great Barrington  Great Barrington
         266     8,714      Groton            Groton
         619     5,540                        Groveland
         186     4,327      Hadley            Hadley
         437     6,935      Halifax           Halifax
         519     7,572                        Hamilton
         245     4,816      Hampden           Hampden
          19       686      Hancock           Hancock
         640     9,612                        Hanson
          64     2,453      Hardwick          Hardwick
         426    11,215      Harvard
         198     3,175      Hatfield          Hatfield
           9       274      Hawley            Hawley
          29       725      Heath             Heath
          97     2,023      Hinsdale          Hinsdale
         436    15,265      Holden
         176     2,179      Holland           Holland
       1,112     5,733                        Hopedale
         403    10,704      Hopkinton
          82     3,364      Hubbardston       Hubbardston
          80     2,139      Huntington        Huntington
         381    12,421      Ipswich
         295     8,816      Lakeville         Lakeville
         236     6,521      Lancaster         Lancaster
         103     2,994      Lanesborough      Lanesborough
         220     5,798      Lee               Lee
         433    10,105      Leicester
         243     5,149      Lenox             Lenox
          79     1,816      Leverett          Leverett
          41       740      Leyden            Leyden
         574     8,249                        Lincoln
         453     7,530      Littleton         Littleton
         358     9,468      Lunenburg         Lunenburg
         696     5,457                        Manchester
         332     4,860      Marion            Marion
         406     9,540      Mashpee           Mashpee
         356     5,861      Mattapoisett      Mattapoisett
         253     4,584      Mendon            Mendon
         680     5,803                        Merrimac
         655     7,967                        Millis
         520     2,567                        Millville
         268    18,613      Middleborough
          18       439      Middlefield       Middlefield
         385     5,383      Middleton         Middleton
           8        82      Monroe            Monroe
         186     8,242      Monson            Monson
         278     8,444      Montague          Montague
          31       823      Monterey          Monterey
          54       820      Montgomery        Montgomery
           8       167      Mount Washington  Mount Washington
       3,010     3,744                        Nahant
         142     6,794      Nantucket         Nantucket
          13       175      New Ashford       New Ashford
          47       971      New Braintree     New Braintree
          26     1,218      New Marlborough   New Marlborough
          17       776      New Salem         New Salem
         263     6,384      Newbury           Newbury
         228     4,804      North Brookfield  North Brookfield
          91     3,115      Northfield        Northfield
         459     9,591      Norwell           Norwell
         407     2,996      Oak Bluffs        Oak Bluffs
          78     1,638      Oakham            Oakham
         213     7,542      Orange            Orange
         415     5,864      Orleans           Orleans
          33     1,191      Otis              Otis
         499    13,298      Oxford
         387    12,189      Palmer
         285     4,205      Paxton            Paxton
          53     1,338      Pelham            Pelham
         481    10,850      Pepperell
          33       863      Peru              Peru
          22     1,179      Petersham         Petersham
          68     1,654      Phillipston       Phillipston
          28       593      Plainfield        Plainfield
         675     7,465                        Plainville
         176     2,604      Plympton          Plympton
          97     3,424      Princeton         Princeton
         371     3,587      Provincetown      Provincetown
         199     9,240      Rehoboth          Rehoboth
          89     1,694      Richmond          Richmond
         129     4,373      Rochester         Rochester
       1,111     7,854                        Rockport
          17       396      Rowe              Rowe
         276     5,162      Rowley            Rowley
          28     1,190      Royalston         Royalston
          94     1,654      Russell           Russell
         154     5,446      Rutland           Rutland
         456     7,042      Salisbury         Salisbury
          15       765      Sandisfield       Sandisfield
         412    17,755      Sandwich
          20       723      Savoy             Savoy
          66     3,160      Sheffield         Sheffield
          81     1,887      Shelburne         Shelburne
         260     4,156      Sherborn          Sherborn
         451     7,142      Shirley           Shirley
          64     1,695      Shutesbury        Shutesbury
         514     7,274                        Southborough
         174     4,906      Southampton       Southampton
         264     8,163      Southwick         Southwick
         356    11,679      Spencer
         231     7,041      Sterling          Sterling
         101     2,311      Stockbridge       Stockbridge
         314     5,535      Stow              Stow
         215     8,046      Sturbridge        Sturbridge
         247     3,547      Sunderland        Sunderland
         234     7,565      Sutton            Sutton
         205     6,572      Templeton         Templeton
         484     3,171      Tisbury           Tisbury
           9       295      Tolland           Tolland
         467     5,919      Topsfield         Topsfield
         275     9,041      Townsend          Townsend
          79     1,671      Truro             Truro
         572     9,637                        Tyngsborough
          20       368      Tyringham         Tyringham
         248     5,335      Upton             Upton
         389    11,497      Uxbridge
         113     1,774      Wales             Wales
         284     9,783      Ware              Ware
         167     4,584      Warren            Warren
          17       638      Warwick           Warwick
          16       622      Washington        Washington
         135     2,685      Wellfleet         Wellfleet
          29       921      Wendell           Wendell
         572     4,418                        Wenham
         410     6,455      West Bridgewater  West Bridgewater
         179     3,669      West Brookfield   West Brookfield
         291     3,930      West Newbury      West Newbury
          86     1,596      West Stockbridge  West Stockbridge
          74     1,854      West Tisbury      West Tisbury
          51     1,392      Westhampton       Westhampton
         185     6,553      Westminster       Westminster
         282    14,110      Westport
          64     1,298      Whately           Whately
          99     2,547      Williamsburg      Williamsburg
         169     7,907      Williamstown      Williamstown
         214     9,248      Winchendon        Winchendon
          25       863      Windsor           Windsor
          38     1,206      Worthington       Worthington
         459    10,186      Wrentham
                          

 

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