From the Salem witch trials to the Boston Tea Party, Massachusetts is rich in history. A number of Native American tribes – including the Massachuset, Nipmucs, Mahican and Wampanoag – first inhabited the territory, and it was the Massachuset tribe that gave the state its name of Massachusetts Bay, which eventually became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. By the early 1600s, the pilgrims came to settle North America. They saw the grassy shorelines of the Cape Cod Islands and eventually landed on Plymouth Rock, one of many historical landmarks. Tourists and locals also flock to Faneuil Hall, once used as a meeting place and now serving as a marketplace. A famous eulogy was held in Faneuil Hall for Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who both died on July 4, 1826.
Founded in 1630 by the Puritans, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country. The state capital and Massachusetts’ largest city, it serves as the core of the state's economy with a metropolitan area population of over 4.7 million people. The fast pace of urban life is balanced by the relaxing atmosphere of the waterfront restaurants that dot the city's marinas. Every April, the city hosts its renowned Boston Marathon. Since 1897, runners from around the globe have taken to the streets for a 26-mile trek beginning in Hopkinton and ending in Boston. But hosting the world’s first marathon is just one of many firsts for the state, in addition to building the first railroad, forming the first library, writing the first state constitution and building the first computer.
With nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean – if measured along every foot of all of the harbors, nooks and crannies – Massachusetts is 190 miles from east to west and 110 miles from north to south. It is bordered by New Hampshire and Vermont on the north, New York on the west and Connecticut and Rhode Island on the south. Depending on the region, Massachusetts real estate varies from seashell-covered beaches on the east coast to rural areas with thick wooded forests to mountainous terrain in the west.
All told, Massachusetts has 1,100 lakes and ponds, but as its nickname suggests, the Bay State is best known for its oceanfront property. Off Cape Cod, there are the popular islands Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, along with the Elizabeth Islands, a collection of 22 smaller islands. The Vineyard, as locals call it, stretches 19 miles long and is 10 miles wide. Along with Nantucket, this vacation area’s enduring appeal has resulted in extremely high median home values ranging from over $600,000 to more than a million, depending on the town. Statewide, the median home value was $355,383 in 2015, and the median rental price was $1,396.
Massachusetts’ median household income in 2015 was $66,866, putting it in the top five wealthiest states in the U.S. When it comes to higher education, Massachusetts residents lead the nation in both undergraduate degrees (38%) and graduate degrees (16%). Not surprisingly, the state economy benefits from this advanced workforce as well as the cutting-edge research taking place as its elite universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Boston College and Tufts University. Massachusetts now boasts the highest per-capita ranking for tech-related patenting, licensing and venture capital, according to CompTIA. The top five industries in Massachusetts are technology, medicine and life sciences, financial services, fishing and tourism.
With more than 6.6 million people living in Massachusetts, the state ranks as the 14th most populous state in the U.S. Depending on which pocket of the state you visit, you will find vastly different demographics. 15% of the state's population is foreign born, and the best known and largest immigrant ethnicity is the Irish, who make up over 16% of state residents. Italians come in second with 10% of the population. Based on recent demographic figures, the state's population is 80% white, 9% Hispanic or Latino descent, 6% percent African American and 5% percent Asian.