Amherst, MA
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Amherst profile


Living in Amherst


Amherst is a medium-sized town located in the state of Massachusetts. With a population of 40,079 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, service providers, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Amherst who work in teaching (16.60%), office and administrative support (15.18%), and food service (11.86%).

A relatively large number of people in Amherst telecommute to their jobs. Overall, about 9.95% 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.

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.

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 18.79 minutes. This also means that noise and pollution levels in the town are less than they would otherwise be.

For the size of the town, public transportation in Amherst is quite heavily used. Mostly, people who use it for their daily commute are taking the bus. For Amherst, the benefits are reduced air pollution and congestion on the highways.

If knowledge is power, Amherst is a pretty powerful place. 65.53% 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 $18,856, 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 $75,424 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 35.69% 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.

Amherst also has a high percentage of its population that was born in another country: 15.23%.

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