Are you visiting the Boston metro area or considering moving to the region? If you’re deciding the best place to live in the area or just planning a fun itinerary, exploring the largest Middlesex County cities is a great place to start!
This complete guide covers the 10 largest cities in Middlesex County, Massachusetts with demographics and interesting information. We will cover only cities, not towns or census-designated places (CDPs) defined by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes.
Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Middlesex County is one of 14 counties in Massachusetts and one of only eight with no county commissioners or government. It’s the third largest Massachusetts county by area and one of the 25 richest counties in the United States. It recently ranked 10th in the U.S. for the most millionaires per county.
The Charles River bounds Middlesex County to the southeast and separates Cambridge, the largest of the Middlesex County cities, from Boston.
Where is Middlesex County, MA? Most of southern Middlesex County is in the MetroWest subregion of Greater Boston. It’s bordered by Hillsborough County, NH and Worcester, Norfolk, Essex, and Suffolk counties.
Middlesex County is very diverse. It’s home to the largest Irish-American population of any U.S. county with major ancestry groups that include:
- Irish: 23.5%
- Italian: 16%
- English: 11%
- German: 7%
- French: 5.5%
- Polish: 4%
- French Canadian: 3.5%
- Chinese: 3%
- Portuguese: 3%
Middlesex County Demographics
- Population: 1,611,699
- Area: 818 square miles
- Population density: 1,971 people per square mile
- Median age: 38.8
- Median household income: $107,056
- Median home price: $688,000
- Educational attainment: 94% high school grad or higher; 57% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Cambridge population: 118,925
- Cambridge population growth: 12.6% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 6.4 square miles
- Population density: 18,601 people per square mile
- Median age: 29.7
- Cambridge median household income: $119,540
- Cambridge median home price: $992,000
- Educational attainment: 96% high school grad or higher; 80% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Cambridge, MA map
Cambridge only recently grew large enough to top this list of cities in Middlesex County by population. It’s also now 4th among the largest cities in Massachusetts and walking distance from Boston, just over the Charles River.
Cambridge is famous as the home of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world’s top-rated academic institutions, and Harvard University, America’s oldest higher learning institution. It’s also incredibly diverse with its prestigious universities and industries drawing in immigrants since the early 19th century.
The city is largely residential aside from the universities without much public open space aside from the MIT Great Lawn, Harvard Yard, and the historic Danehy Park. Rowing is a long-held college tradition and pastime in Cambridge. There are several boat clubs along the Charles River like the Cambridge Boat Club and the city hosts the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR), the world’s largest two-day rowing competition with 110,000 athletes from around the world.
- Lowell population: 110,990
- Lowell population growth: 3.5% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 13.6 square miles
- Population density: 8,157 people per square mile
- Median age: 36.2
- Lowell median household income: $62,487
- Lowell median home price: $400,000
- Educational attainment: 85% high school grad or higher; 26% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Lowell, MA map
For decades, Lowell was the largest city in Middlesex County and 5th within the Boston CSA. It’s been overtaken by Cambridge. Despite falling one place on the list of major cities in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Lowell still demands attention.
Lowell, MA was the birthplace of America’s Industrial Revolution and still famous for its textile mills. Many of these manufacturing sites are preserved at the Lowell National Historic Park.
Lowell is of the best Middlesex County cities for families and students thanks to its cultural attractions, outdoor recreation, and education opportunities – including the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a campus of the Middlesex Community College. The Merrimack River flows through the center of the city with the popular Riverwalk park and the riverfront Lowell Heritage State Park.
- Newton population: 88,411
- Newton population growth: 4.4% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 17.8 square miles
- Population density: 4,959 people per square mile
- Median age: 40.7
- Newton median household income: $150,106
- Newton median home price: $1.2 million
- Educational attainment: 97% high school grad or higher; 81% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Newton, MA map
Just seven miles outside downtown Boston and bordering the Boston neighborhood of West Roxbury is the quaint city of Newton, a fun community made up of thirteen separate villages without a central city center. This unique village system can be confusing, but it means each area of the city has a different atmosphere with the feel of a small town.
Newton isn’t just one of the largest cities in Middlesex County, it’s also the most affluent and the most expensive place to live in the county. It’s worth the cost though; Newton is frequently ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States!
What makes Newton so fantastic?
- One of the best school districts in Greater Boston
- Exclusive golf courses
- Crystal Lake, a natural lake in the Newton Centre village with coves and Crystal Lake Beach
- Great public transportation on the MBTA Green Line
- Diverse population that’s one-third Jewish, 12% Asian, and 22% foreign born.
- Learn more about moving to Newton, MA in our complete guide!
- Somerville population: 81,358
- Somerville population growth: 7.4% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 4.1 square miles
- Population density: 19,735 people per square mile
- Median age: 32.6
- Somerville median household income: $100,643
- Somerville median home price: $958,000
- Educational attainment: 92% high school grad or higher; 64% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Somerville, MA map
North of Cambridge is the city of Somerville, one of the most affluent cities in Middlesex County. It also has the highest population density in the county and all of New England!
Home to Tufts University, Somerville boasts a rich history and played a big role in the Revolutionary War. It’s believed it was here at the “Citadel” on Prospect Hill that an American flag was raised for the first time. Somerville grew rapidly and was known in the 1930s as the “Chicago of New England.” It attracted immigrants to its brickyards, railroad, automotive plants, then meat packing plants with 70% of residents being foreign born or second-generation Americans by 1930.
Today, Somerville is known for its strong arts community (with one of the country’s highest number of artists per capita!) and small-town environment with great public transportation and amenities. It doesn’t have a central downtown area but instead has several squares or commercial nodes, each with a different vibe. Davis Square is home to a fun nightlife with theaters and live music while Assembly Square is a popular shopping destination. The community is served by the MBTA’s Red Line for easy access to downtown Boston for commuters.
Learn more about living in Somerville, MA to see if it’s right for you.
- Framingham population: 74,429
- Framingham population growth: 5.9% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 25 square miles
- Population density: 2,972 people per square mile
- Median age: 35.1
- Framingham median household income: $80,749
- Framingham median home price: $555,000
- Educational attainment: 90% high school grad or higher; 48% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Framingham, MA map
The fifth of cities in Middlesex County by population is Framingham, almost 23 miles west of Boston. The city was one of just two in the state named one of the best places to live in 2020 thanks to its arts and culture scene, breweries, and strong industry with giants like Bose Corporation and Staples calling Framingham home.
Framingham is paradise for nature lovers. It’s surrounded by several state parks and recreation areas like Cochituate State Park with Lake Cochituate. The city itself has several recreation areas and trails like the 820-acre Callahan State Park, the pristine Arthur – Morency Woods, and Cushing Memorial Park.
Learn more about living in Farmingham with our complete guide!
View this post on Instagram
- Waltham population: 62,777
- Waltham population growth: 7.6% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 12.7 square miles
- Population density: 4,926 people per square miles
- Median age: 34.3
- Waltham median household income: $95,964
- Waltham median home price: $690,000
- Educational attainment: 92% high school grad or higher; 54% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Waltham, MA map
Once known for its watch manufacturers, Waltham today is a center for higher education and research with Raytheon Technologies, Brandeis University, and Bentley University. It’s home to a diverse population with one out of every four residents born outside the U.S. with large communities from India, Guatemala, and Uganda.
Waltham may be small, but it’s one of the best cities in Middlesex County for families thanks to its strong economy, public transportation, parks, and trails. Downtown Waltham is a thriving destination with the trails along the Charles Riverwalk often crowded during the summer.
Find out if the city is right for you with the guide to living in Waltham, MA.
- Malden population: 60,984
- Malden population growth: 1.5% increase between 2010 and 2020
- Area: 5 square miles
- Population density: 12,089 people per square mile
- Median age: 34.6
- Malden median household income: $65,975
- Malden median home price: $665,000
- Educational attainment: 87% high school grad or higher; 39% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Malden, MA map
Often named as one of the best Massachusetts cities to raise kids, Malden offers small-town living with the convenience of Boston just 6 miles to the south. It was the first town to petition secession from the British Empire and today has a large and diverse population of immigrants from around the world. Malden has the state’s second-highest percentage of foreign-born residents at 37%!
Malden is where the old world meets the new with an historic main street that’s slowly being overtaken by luxury apartment buildings. In the West End, you’ll find large Victorian homes while the Edgeworth neighborhood is very popular with buyers thanks to its dense population and affordability. Malden is still an up-and-coming community where you can potentially find a steal if you’re buying a home.
Here’s what you should know about living in Malden.
View this post on Instagram
- Medford population: 57,637
- Medford population growth: 1.9% increase from 2010 to 2020
- Area: 8.1 square miles
- Population density: 7,116 people per square mile
- Median age: 35.3
- Medford median household income: $96,455
- Medford median home price: $731,000
- Educational attainment: 93% high school grad or higher; 54% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Medford, MA map
Medford is one of the smallest Middlesex County, MA cities, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s one of the most desirable suburbs of Boston with plenty to offer. One of the biggest draws is its close proximity to Boston, just a 15-minute drive away. This makes Medford a top choice for young professionals and families.
Medford has 24 public parks with swimming pools, playgrounds, fishing, and grilling. It’s also known for its rich history. Founded in 1630, it’s the 4th oldest English settlement in the U.S. The Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford was once the home of the largest slaveholding family in the state. Now a museum, it’s the last remaining structure of its kind in the north.
- Everett population: 46,118
- Everett Population growth: 11.8%
- Everett area: 3.4 square miles
- Population density: 13,486 people per square mile
- Median age: 35.9
- Everett median household income: $65,528
- Everett median home price: $590,000
- Educational attainment: 82% high school grad or higher; 20% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Everett, MA map
Everett is one of the smallest cities in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, but it’s one of the fastest growing! This small but densely populated city is popular with people who want to be close to downtown Boston without the high cost of living in Cambridge, Somerville, or Boston. It’s a major city of the Port of Boston and less than 5 miles from downtown!
The community is very close-knit but it definitely has an urban feel. You’ll enjoy tons of new amenities like the MetroRock Climbing Center for rock climbing and Encore Boston Harbor, a new luxury hotel resort and casino on the Mystic River.
Is living in Everett right for you? Find out with this complete guide!
View this post on Instagram
- Woburn population: 40,304
- Woburn population growth: 7.2% increase from 2010 to 2020
- Woburn area: 12.6 square miles
- Population density: 3,186 people per square mile
- Median age: 40
- Woburn median household income: $91,022
- Woburn median home price: $610,000
- Educational attainment: 94% high school grad or higher; 45% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Woburn, MA map
The smallest of the cities on this list is Woburn, 12 miles north of downtown Boston. This small city has an industrial past, but today it’s an affluent community with a mix of planned industrial parks, conservation lands, and residential neighborhoods. Home prices have increased dramatically over the last decade in this once sleepy city despite lacking the entertainment districts and walkability of other cities in the area.
One of the top attractions in Woburn is the Woburn Bowladrome, a bowling alley with a retro feel. The city also has an indoor dog park – a big perk for dog owners in the winter! – and the upscale Showcase Cinema de Lux Woburn.
Click here to learn more about living in Woburn, MA.
Cities in Middlesex County Map
List of Cities in Middlesex County
Middlesex County Cities FAQ
How many cities are there in Middlesex County?
There are 13 cities in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
How many people live in Middlesex County?
The population of Middlesex County, MA is 1,611,699. It’s the most populous county in Massachusetts and all of New England.
What is the most populous city in Middlesex County?
The largest city in Middlesex County, MA is Cambridge which recently overtook Lowell, MA with a population of 118,900.
Which of the Largest Middlesex County Cities Is Right for You?
Are you ready for living in Middlesex County, Massachusetts? Each of these charming Middlesex County cities has something to offer, whether you’re looking for a short commute to Boston, outdoor recreation, or great schools. Once you’ve decided which city to call home, Mass Bay Movers is ready to help with a stress-free moving experience.