Cities in Massachusetts
Massachusetts allows municipal charter cities and counties. There are 5 total counties in Massachusetts. Of those 5:
- 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
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.
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.
Initiative process availability
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.
10 most populated cities
|List of Most Populated Cities in Massachusetts|
|City||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
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
As of the 2010 Census, there are 351 incorporated cities and towns in Massachusetts. The list below only includes cities. Population figures below are based on the updated estimates as of July 1, 2011.
|List of Cities and Population in Massachusetts|
- Laws governing local ballot measures in Massachusetts
- Massachusetts ballot measures
- Counties in Massachusetts
- Local Government Types and Numbers Research Spreadsheet
- Massachusetts Municipal Association, Forms of Municipal Government/Charters
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)
- US Census, "March 2011 Estimate of Massachusetts cities"