MASSACHUSETTS – A study was released which ranked the best small cities to live, in America. Of the top 20, a staggering six were located in Massachusetts! Let's take a look at which small cities made it in, and how they defined what "best" even means.

So, what is a "small city?" Well, "WalletHub compared more than 1,200 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 based on 42 key indicators of livability." The indicators that were weighted most are: Affordability, Economic Health, Education, Quality of Life, and Safety.

Basically, we're looking at how good it is to live in areas just outside major cities.

Coming in 18th place is Arlington, MA. Arlington stands out for it's extremely high education and safety scores, 6th and 7th in the country, respectively. What keeps it low is affordability, at a dismal 702nd best in the country. So, great schools and not a lot of crime...if you can afford it.

In 16th place is Newton, MA. Newton also stands out for it's education and safety, 7th and 16th respectively. It's technically far more affordable than Arlington, but 537th in the country isn't anything to write home about.

Moving up to 11th place is Needham, MA. Following the very clear trend in MA, it had great education (12th), great safety (11th), and is a lot less expensive than Arlington or Newton, but it's still 148th in affordability.

Breaking into the top 10 we have Milton, MA in 7th place. Good education and safety but expensive? You guessed it! Education: 15th. Safety: 5th. Affordability: 291st.

In 6th we have Lexington, MA. Same exact trend here: education (5th), safety (2nd), affordability (359th).

Aaaaaand, coming in as the 4th best small city in America, a mere 9.7 miles north of Boston, we have.... Melrose, MA! Education is 11th and safety is 8th while affordability is 438th. But what puts Melrose above the rest is a solid Economic Health ranking of 69th. That looks at factors such as unemployment rate, job growth, and income growth.

Well, congratulations to those that made the top 20. If we learned anything it's that Massachusetts has some very safe places to live with some great schools, you just have to be able to afford it.


Image via Flickr / Ken Lund