Pros and cons of living in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is a suburban city in Massachusetts with less than 45,000 residents. If you’re thinking of moving here and want to know its livability factors, nothing is better than examining both sides of the city. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Salem?

Salem is a beautiful city in terms of architecture and environment. It has other advantages such as accessibility to Boston, amazing summer weather, and great restaurants. But it has serious issues such as being very expensive, unsafe for women, subpar public schools, and longer commuting time.

However, if you don’t mind the disadvantages and want to live close to Boston, it’s one of the best options. This article discusses the pros and cons of living in Salem.

Pros of living in Salem

The beautiful city of Salem has lots of qualities that’ll attract people looking to relocate. They include:

1.      Accessibility to Boston

Salem is close to Boston, making it possible for people to live here and work in a major city. Close to 30 MBTA commuter trains travel between Salem and Boston during the weekdays. You can also access the city with a Boston Ferry from May to October. On other days of the year, there are still buses available to travel between the two cities. In addition, Salem is less than 40 minutes away from Boston by car.

2.      Great restaurants

Do you enjoy great food? Then the food scene in this small town will delight you. There are lots of restaurants and food shops in the city. Beyond its food scene, the city has a great cultural scene too. There are plenty of museums here, and festivals usually happen throughout the year. While it might not be a fast-paced city, it’s quite bubbly.

3.      Summer Weather

The weather here in Salem is truly great, especially in the summer. The most pleasant months of the year are June, July, and August. The summer months have a comfortable temperature of between 70 to 85 degrees, and humidity is usually low. The summer weather has a 9.2/10 rating for comfortability. However, the warmth and pleasantness of the winter soon gets replaced by snow during the winter. The city can get cold, and 6 months during the year comes with varying degrees of snowfall. The comfortability during the winter drops below average, and residents have to contend with the intense cold of this period.

4.      Beautiful Environment

Salem is an incredibly beautiful city in terms of environment and architecture. The city has several picturesque views, parks, walking trails, etc. All these make it a great place to be outdoors, especially in the summer when everywhere is warm. The city is also diverse and friendly, which means you’ll find great people to enjoy the environment with.

Cons of living in Salem

Before you start getting excited about Salem, you should also check out its flipsides which include:

1.      Expensive

 for a City of Its Stature

Salem is expensive. The cost of living in the city outstrips the national average by more than 23%, but it’s slightly lower than the state average. The high cost of living makes it unreasonable to stay there, especially when you consider its job market isn’t encouraging. While the income per capita and household income is slightly higher than the national average, the unemployment rate is also higher than the national average. So, a significant percentage of its population isn’t employed. That could be a red flag for you, especially if you don’t have a job lined up for you before moving. The last thing you want to do is face a high cost of living while being unemployed.

2.      Expensive Housing

When a city is expensive, the first factor that usually contributes to the rising costs is the cost of accommodation. In Salem, the average cost of homes is quite high at $533,561. Rents aren’t any better, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment being $2,150. The cost of homes and rents have increased by 14% in the past year. Judging by these exorbitant costs, living in this town might not be worth it unless there’s a very good reason you’re staying. One good reason is the low cost of healthcare in Massachusetts. But that might not be enough to stay in the city.

3.      Not Safe for Women

Salem is a safe city normally. Its total crime rate is 25% below the national average due to its very low violent crime rate. But when it comes to women, this isn’t one of the safest cities to stay in Massachusetts. Its reported incidence of rape is 37.1 per 100,000 people, more than the average for the state and only slightly below the national average. Since women are predominantly victims of sexual violence, the city isn’t the safest for them, and they’ll need to be extra cautious when living here. However, the chance of being a crime here is 1 in 57, which is good enough to make the city safer than 47% of American cities.

4.      Public Schools

The public school system here isn’t great. Many of the schools in the city perform far below the average for the state of Massachusetts and the national average, making the city a bit behind in education. If you’re thinking of moving with your family, this is one of the things you have to consider. However, the quality of the schools is gradually improving, especially for the charter schools, and the ratio of students to teachers is low. The city also hosts Salem State University, the largest public state university in Massachusetts.

5.      Longer Commuting Time

Perhaps because of its proximity to Boston or any other reason, the commute time in this city is 30.3 minutes. Thus, getting around here is longer than it’d take on average in the US. This means spending more time in traffic and more money on gas. Although there are public transit options, the best way to still get through the city is to have your car. So, the city is a bit car-dependent. However, the roads here are very safe.

In Conclusion

Salem is a great city to some extent. It has above-average livability ratings for obvious reasons. But there are also significant issues when living here. Any potential residents will have to decide if they can look beyond these issues.