Amherst, MA
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Living in Amherst


Amherst is a medium-sized town located in the state of Massachusetts. With a population of 39,833 people and seven constituent neighborhoods, Amherst is the 41st largest community in Massachusetts.

Housing costs in Amherst are among some of the highest in the nation, although real estate prices here don't compare to real estate prices in the most expensive communities in Massachusetts.

Amherst is a decidedly white-collar town, with fully 91.89% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Amherst is a town of professionals, sales and office workers, and service providers. There are especially a lot of people living in Amherst who work in teaching (18.62%), office and administrative support (14.47%), and sales jobs (9.70%).

Of important note, Amherst is also a town of artists. Amherst has more artists, designers and people working in media than 90% of the communities in America. This concentration of artists helps shape Amherst’s character.

Also of interest is that Amherst has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

A relatively large number of people in Amherst telecommute to their jobs. Overall, about 12.94% of the workforce works from home. While this may seem like a small number, as a fraction of the total workforce it ranks among the highest in the country. These workers are often telecommuters who work in knowledge-based, white-collar professions. For example, Silicon Valley has large numbers of people who telecommute. Other at-home workers may be self-employed people who operate small businesses out of their homes.

Amherst is also a major college town with a large number of people who are 18 years or older and attending college. As is often the case in college towns, the many students that live in Amherst have a strong influence on the local culture and entertainment scene, which may seem dormant by comparison in the summer months when much of the student population is away. In the fall, the return of students has a reinvigorating effect on the community. Because colleges are lasting institutions, they have a stabilizing effect on the economy by providing direct local benefits such as jobs for faculty and staff and spending by students. Amherst’s economy is one such example of this.

Compared to the rest of the country, citizens of Amherst spend much less time in their cars: on average, their commute to work is only 19.04 minutes. This also means that noise and pollution levels in the town are less than they would otherwise be.

Like elsewhere in America, most people in Amherst use a private automobile to get to work. But notably, a substantial number of Amherst‘s citizens do make use of public transit in their daily commute, primarily riding the bus. This helps more people get to work with less air pollution, and require fewer highways to get them there.

Do you like to read, write and learn? If you move to Amherst, you'll likely find that many of your neighbors like to as well. Amherst is one of the more educated communities in America, with a full 67.59% of its adults having a college degree or even advanced degree, compared to a national average across all communities of 21.84%.

The per capita income in Amherst in 2010 was $18,905, which is low income relative to Massachusetts, and lower middle income relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $75,620 for a family of four. However, Amherst contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. Amherst also has one of the higher rates of people living in poverty in the nation, with 34.68% of its population below the federal poverty line.

Amherst is a very ethnically-diverse town. The people who call Amherst home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Amherst residents report their race to be White, followed by Asian. Important ancestries of people in Amherst include Italian, English, German, and Polish.

In addition, Amherst has a lot of people living here who were born outside of the US (15.48%).

The most common language spoken in Amherst is English. Other important languages spoken here include Chinese and Spanish.