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Massachusetts State and Higher Education Information

Massachusetts, located in the northeastern corner of the United States, is one of the most densely populated states in the country. Rich with colonial and early American history, Massachusetts is also home to numerous colleges and universities, including several highly ranked schools. Keep reading to learn about its population, economy and schools.

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Information about Massachusetts

Massachusetts, the most populous state in New England, is a major center for American history, higher education and politics. The state is home to nearly 6.8 million residents, based on 2015 U.S. census estimates, making it one of the most densely populated states in the U.S. The overwhelming majority of residents live in the Boston metropolitan area, leaving the mountainous, western part of the state relatively unpopulated and rural. The southeastern part of the state boasts Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, both vacation destinations, while the Boston region occupies the east-central portion, and the western counties are home to a rolling range of mountains known as the Berkshire Hills.

The state capital of Boston is a major tourist destination for domestic and foreign visitors alike, featuring such attractions as the Boston Pops orchestra, the Paul Revere House, the U.S.S. Constitution, the Freedom Trail and the New England Aquarium. Professional sports are popular in Massachusetts, with many state residents supporting the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots. Held every April, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon. The Berkshire Hills and other rural amenities attract campers, skiers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to the westernmost parts of the state.

Higher Education

Massachusetts is home to around 200 universities and colleges. It has a state university system with campuses in Boston, Lowell, Dartmouth and Amherst, in addition to a medical school in Worcester.

The Boston-area city of Cambridge has a handful of colleges and schools, including two well-known, nationally ranked universities: Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Harvard was ranked 2nd on U.S. News & World Report's 2016 list of top national universities, while MIT was ranked 7th.

The greater Boston area has nearly 50 institutions, including Tufts University, Boston University, Lesley University, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, Brandeis University and Suffolk University. Other schools in the state include Framingham State University and Salem State University as well as numerous community colleges, the largest of which is Bunker Hill Community College, with 14,000 students.

Economy and Employment

Per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest sector of employment for the state as of May 2015 was office and administrative support occupations, which had about 500,400 employees. Sales and related occupations employed approximately 326,000 people, while food preparation and serving related occupations employed about 291,000 people.

Generally, the economy in Massachusetts is based on services, education, finance, tourism and technology. Because of the relatively poor New England soil, agriculture has never been as important in Massachusetts as in other states, but nonetheless a large number of small farms across the state are known for producing berries, fruits and animal products. Boston, by far the largest city in New England, is a major international business, finance and education center.

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