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 92.45% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Amherst is a town of professionals, service providers, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Amherst who work in teaching (17.36%), office and administrative support (13.95%), and food service (11.19%).

And if you like science, one thing you'll find is that Amherst has lots of scientists living in town - whether they be life scientists, physical scientists (like astronomers), or social scientists (like geographers!). So, if you're scientific-minded, you might like it here too.

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.

Telecommuters are a relatively large percentage of the workforce: 17.09% of people work from home. While this number may seem small overall, as a fraction of the total workforce it is high relative to the nation. 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.

Because Amherst has a very large number of students who are 18 years or older and in college, it is thought of as a college town. This has a major influence on local Amherst lifestyle, entertainment, and culture in general. Life in Amherst is very much tied to the academic calendar: when students return from the summer break in the fall, one will notice them out and about, buying groceries, out with friends, and generally getting re-acquainted with each other. In Amherst people study hard and play hard, and there is ample opportunity to do both.

Although the majority of commuting trips in the town are by private automobile, Amherst is somewhat unusual for a town of its size for having a substantial number of people who use public transportation. For a lot of people, the bus helps to get to and from their jobs every morning, which benefits everyone in the Amherst area by reducing both traffic and air pollution.

If knowledge is power, Amherst is a pretty powerful place. 69.39% of the adults in Amherst have earned a 4-year college degree, masters degree, MD, law degree, or even PhD. Compare that to the national average of 21.84% for all cities and towns.

The per capita income in Amherst in 2010 was $19,418, 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 $77,672 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 33.76% 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 English, Italian, German, and Polish.

Amherst also has a high percentage of its population that was born in another country: 15.75%.

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