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%).

One interesting thing about the economy is that relatively large numbers of people worked from their home: 9.95% of the workforce. While this number may seem small overall, as a fraction of the total workforce this is high compared to the rest of the county. 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.

In addition, Amherst is a major college town that has a very high percentage of its residents over 18 years old who are college students. Naturally, collegiate life has a major influence on local Amherst culture, lifestyle and entertainment options. Amherst really pulses to the beat of the academic calendar. In Amherst every fall, returning students reinvigorate the community, who you will notice are all over town, buying groceries, out with friends, and getting acquainted or re-acquainted with each other and Amherst. One of the beneficial effects that colleges provide is that they tend to be lasting institutions that deliver direct economic benefits to the local economy in the form of such things as jobs for faculty and staff, and spending by students. Amherst benefits directly from this.

Residents of the town have the good fortune of having one of the shortest daily commutes compared to the rest of the country. On average, they spend only 18.79 minutes getting to work every day.

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.

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.

Foreign born people are also an important part of Amherst's cultural character, accounting for 15.23% of the town’s population.

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