Worcester Just Makes Sense
I've often heard Worcester referred to as "the armpit of Massachusetts." I've never really been sure why anyone has bothered to use that term, because quite honestly it doesn't make any sense. Geographically, Worcester is in the middle of the state, certainly nowhere that would make sense to call an armpit. But furthermore, Worcester is mediocre at worst. The term armpit might be better suited to Springfield or Fall River, but not Worcester! As much as everyone seems to complain about Worcester, I think it's actually a pretty smart place to live.
A City of Second Best
Worcester is not a glamorous place by any means, and it certainly lacks the star power of other local cities like Boston or Providence. But even if Worcester doesn't really win at anything, it almost always comes in second. It is the second largest city in New England with the second highest number of college students. It seems to me that nobody respects second place.
For all of its naysayers, Worcester actually earns an important distinction as one of the cheapest places in New England to live. Sure Worcester isn't as fun or walkable as Boston, but I can actually afford to live here! As a recent college graduate with a good salary, I can easily afford to live alone in a one bedroom apartment here in the Woo. If I were to try to live in Boston instead, I would likely pay the same amount for a run down apartment in a tough neighborhood with two or three roommates. But instead, I can comfortably enjoy my slightly messy kitchen in Worcester knowing that I don't have any roommates to ask me to clean up! And that is something that I wouldn't want to trade in.
Worcester on the Move
I was very proud last week when the New York Times posted an article about Worcester and its upcoming success as a college town. In particular, the article points out that Worcester is finally beginning to draw in businesses and other amenities that are popular with college students; i.e. Worcester is becoming fun!
Perhaps what's even more exciting than what's happened so far is what's planned for the future. Worcester's huge redevelopment project known as CitySquare is ramping up for it's grand finale. Within the next two or three years, we will have: two brand new hotels, about 400 new apartments, retail space downtown, a giant underground parking garage and (for all organic food lovers like me) a nearby Whole Foods Market!
Stats, Stats, Stats
So far I've presented plenty of personal reasons why Worcester is a great place to live, but I'll end with some facts. I found some interesting statistics about the relative cost of living in Worcester and Boston. Basically the way that this works is that the national average in each category is 100, and anything above that means more expensive. I've pulled out a few particularly telling comparisons to highlight Worcester's livability.
Total Cost of Living
Worcester 112; Boston 144
Worcester 118; Boston 187
Worcester 97; Boston 118
I could go on, but these are the big ones. Worcester and New England are generally more expensive than the country as a whole, but Boston is about 25% more expensive than Worcester. If you are interested in learning more about Worcester's demographics, check out the city website.