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.
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.
One of the benefits of Amherst is that there is very little traffic. The average commute to work is 18.79 minutes, which is substantially less than the national average. Not only does this mean that the drive to work is less aggravating, but noise and pollution levels are lower as a result.
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.
Do you have a 4-year college degree or graduate degree? If so, you may feel right at home in Amherst. 65.53% of adults here have a 4-year degree or graduate degree, whereas the national average for all cities and towns is just 21.84%.
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.