Cities in Massachusetts

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This page contains a list of cities in Massachusetts, and other information about local governments.

Massachusetts allows municipal charter cities and counties. There are 5 total counties in Massachusetts. Of those 5:[1]

  • 4 are subject to General law (although all four are in the phase of establishing a charter)
  • 1, Barnstable, is governed under a Charter

There are 351 total municipalities in Massachusetts. As of 2008, 90 of the 351 cities and towns are Home rule charter municipalities. Approximately 60 other municipalities are governed under a special act charter, granted by the state legislature. The remaining 201 cities and towns are organized under one of the forms provided by General law[2][1]

Types of local government

Local government in Massachusetts consists of:

  • 53 city governments.
  • 298 town governments.
  • 5 county governments.
  • In addition, there are 412 special districts and 84 independent school districts.[3]

Further classification of cities and towns:

Cities and towns in Massachusetts may be:

  • Home rule charter, of which there are 90, as of 2008
  • Special act charter, of which there are approximately 60
  • General law, of which there are approximately 201.[2][1]

Initiative process availability

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Massachusetts

The local units of government in Massachusetts that make the initiative process available are:

  • General law cities operating under government types A,B,C,D,E, and F as specified in Chapter 43 of Mass. General Laws have a state specified initiative and referendum process for ordinances. There are 25 such cities.
  • Home rule charter cities and towns have a state mandated initiative process for charter amendments. There are 90 such municipalities.
  • Charter counties have a state mandated initiative and referendum process. However, no county has yet become a charter county under the statutes mandating initiative and referendum. One county, Barnstable, has a charter that was a special act of the legislature and is not subject to the amendment process provided in state statutes. However, its charter provides a process for initiative and referendum for charter amendment.[1]

10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in Massachusetts
City[4] Population City Type Form of government Next election
Boston 625,087 Special Act Charter mayor-council 2015
Worcester 181,631 Home Rule Charter council-manager N/A
Springfield 153,155 General law Plan A: mayor-council N/A
Lowell 107,584 General law Plan E: council-manager N/A
Cambridge 106,038 General law Plan E: council-manager N/A
New Bedford 95,183 General law Plan B: mayor-council N/A
Brockton 94,316 General law Plan B: mayor-council N/A
Quincy 92,909 General law Plan A: mayor-council N/A
Lynn 91,040 Home Rule Charter mayor-council N/A
Fall River 88,962 General law Plan A: mayor-council N/A

Full list of cities

See also: List of Massachusetts cities
A guide to local ballot initiatives
Local Ballot Initiatives cover.jpg

As of the 2010 Census, there were 351 incorporated cities and towns in Massachusetts. A full list of cities in Massachusetts is available here.

See also