Pros and cons of living in New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford has a history of being a whaling city, but there’s much more to it. This city is lovely in its unique ways. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in New Bedford?

Beyond its many legacies, there are several benefits to living in New Bedford. They include affordability, light traffic, location, fun nightlife, and several attractions. But some challenges come with living here, such as unsafe areas, expensive housing, an ailing economy, and below-par education.

Despite these challenges, New Bedford could be the right place for you. Before deciding whether to move to this city or not, learn more about what staying here would be like as a resident.

Pros of Living in New Bedford

New Bedford has several positive qualities that make it an ideal place to live. They include

1. Relatively Affordable City

Cost of living is an important metric to consider when deciding whether you should live in a place or not. Most times, the lower the cost of living, the better. If you’re planning to live in New Bedford, you’ll be delighted to know the living costs are relatively low.

Even though it’s higher than the national average, a 0.4% difference doesn’t matter, especially when you realize the average cost of living for Massachusetts is much higher. Healthcare is very cheap in New Bedford, even though Massachusetts has one of the best healthcare standards in the country.

2. Minimal Traffic

Urban centers and traffic are usually two sides of the same coin. But that’s not the case here. Unlike Boston, which isn’t notorious for having the worst traffic in the country, New Bedford experiences minimal traffic. The average one-way commute here takes 24.8 minutes which is shorter than the 26.4 minutes national average.

Therefore, residents of New Bedford don’t have to worry about getting to work late or spending hours in traffic.

3. Major Cities are Nearby

New Bedford is the sixth-largest city in Massachusetts, and it’s quite close to other bigger cities within the state. This is perhaps due to the small size of the state itself. Boston and Cambridge are less than 90 minutes away. This proximity will prove helpful for residents because New Bedford itself isn’t the strongest city economically. Residents here can work in other major cities and also benefit from the amenities in these neighboring places.

4. Several Attractions

New Bedford has a rich history and legacy, reflecting some of the attractions you’ll find in history. You can visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum for a trip down memory lane. The museum contains several whale skeletons and the history of whaling in the city.

Other places you can visit in the city include CuttyHunk Ferry, New Bedford Whaling Historical Park, Buttonwood Park Zoo, Fort Taber Park, New Bedford Museum of Glass, etc. As there are places to visit, so does New Bedford have activities for you. Everything from Boat Cruise to Hiking is possible here.

5. Fun Nightlife

New Bedford also has a fun and exciting nightlife. There are various hotspots in the city that you visit during the nights—residents here at not the dull kind who work all day without having any time for fun. Social life is booming here with bars, pubs, restaurants, theatres, clubs, etc.

Kick back and enjoy your favorites in New Bedford anytime. There are enough places to check out no matter where you’re staying in the city, and you’ll easily find what suits your tastes. gives New Bedford an A rating for nightlife.

Cons of Living in New Bedford

As lovely and fun as this city might be, it’s not all rosy. Here are the cons of living in New Bedford

1. Unsafe Neighborhoods

Are you planning to live in New Bedford? Then you have to be extra careful when it comes to where you choose to live. Several Neighborhoods within the city are unsafe, which affects the overall rating when it comes to crime. New Bedford has a total crime rate that is 17% higher than the national average, while its property crimes also exceed the national average by 7%

It worsens when you check the rate of violent crimes, which is substantially 75% above the US average.  Thus, it would be best if you were very picky when renting or buy a place in the city. As a resident here, the chance of becoming a crime victim here is 1 in 35. However, the city is safer than 13% of cities in the US. So, you can still find many secure areas within it.

2. Expensive Housing

Even though the cost of living in New Bedford is relatively affordable, the same can’t be said for homes. Homes here cost a lot of money, far above the average price for the country. For example, the average value of a house in New Bedford is $336,120, that’s way more than the national average, which isn’t even up to $300k.

Rents in New Bedford will depend on the neighborhood and the apartment, but it’s still high. The average monthly rent is $1,532, which is quite high as well.

3. Poor Economy

Once upon a time, New Bedford was the richest city per capita in the world. It was the whaling capital of the world at this time. Since then, the mighty have fallen substantially, and the New Bedford economy isn’t as it used to be. The median household income is lower than the national average, and so is the income per capita.

The result of the low wages is that the poverty rate is very high. New Bedford has a poverty rate of 23.1%, which is more than twice the Massachusetts average of 11.1%. The unemployment rate is also above the national average at 7%.

Therefore, if you’re planning to relocate to New Bedford, it’s advisable that you already have a job waiting for you before moving.

4. Educational Standards Below Par

New Bedford educational standards aren’t exactly the best. However, it’s slightly below par which means there’s room for improvement. According to AreaVibes, the average test score is 6% below the national average, and the percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees is quite low.

In Conclusion

Once called the city that lit the world, New Bedford reinvented itself and went beyond an industrial and port city. There are several benefits to living here, but the disadvantages are also notable. However, the pros outweigh the cons.