Living Off The Grid in Massachusetts (Complete Guide)
Massachusetts has a rich history and some gorgeous landscapes. However, these are not the most important factors to consider when living off the grid. At first look, Massachusetts does not appear to be an ideal state for off the grid living. Massachusetts, which is located on the east coast, has a population of 6.9 million people.
General Statistics for Living Off The Grid in Massachusetts
It is legal to live off the grid in Massachusetts. It’s not favorable due to the high cost of living, property taxes, and living costs that are 70% higher than the national average. On the other side, if you have the financial means, you can build up an off-grid homestead in Massachusetts.
The high cost of living is the primary reason for many people leaving Massachusetts; on the other side, people who migrate to this state do so because of work opportunities. Massachusetts is regarded as the second state with the highest suicide rates in the country. The state is very tiny, despite the fact that there are five cities with populations above 100,000 people. The largest city in Massachusetts is Boston, which has a population of roughly 670,000 people.
Worcester is the second-largest city, with 185k residents, followed by Springfield with 155k, Lowell with 110k, and Cambridge with 110k. There are many smaller cities with populations ranging from 50 to 90 thousand people. In general, smaller cities and towns can be found in the western section of the state than on the coast. There are two major advantages to living in this state: the school and healthcare systems are both excellent, if expensive.
One of the primary reasons why Massachusetts isn’t a good state for off-grid living is its geographic location; it’s very far north, which means the climate will be harsh, especially during the winter. Because it is on the coast, the humidity is high, and this high humidity level persists throughout the state. If you’re looking for a comparable state climate wise, I recommend reading my Guide to Off-Grid Living in Maryland.
What’s the Climate in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has a humid continental climate. This implies that humidity levels are high in both the summer and the winter. The average summer temperature is around 75°F, while the average winter temperature is around 16°F. The windchill effect makes the temperature feel much colder than it actually is in the winter. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Massachusetts was 107 degrees Fahrenheit in 1975. The lowest was -35 degrees Fahrenheit in 1981.
If you’re from the south, the first thing you’ll notice is the high humidity. While this isn’t a big deal in the summer, it can make daily commutes difficult in the winter due to the combination of high humidity and the wind chill effect, which causes ice to form on everything from roads and highways to cars.
What are the Best Crops to Grow in Massachusetts?
When it comes to farming crops in Massachusetts, you don’t have many options; due to the harsh climate, the most common field crops are hay and sweet corn. On the other side, Massachusetts has a large number of greenhouses that grow everything from vegetables to nursery goods. In addition, there are numerous farms that raise livestock, and the state produces a significant amount of dairy products. New Jersey has a climate similar to Massachusetts, but you have a lot more crop-growing alternatives. For additional details, see my recent article Off grid life in New Jersey ( The Garden State ).
What’s Freshwater Availability in Massachusetts?
Because the state is situated in a rainy region, there is no shortage of freshwater both below and above ground. Some groundwater in the eastern portion of the state is contaminated with saltwater, while some groundwater in the western part of the state, where most dairy farms are located, is polluted by runoff from these farms. Fortunately, rainwater collection is not subject to any rules or restrictions.
What Kind of Wildlife Does Massachusetts Have?
Because of the state’s limited size, there aren’t as many animal species as one might expect. Brown bears, beavers, white-tailed deer, skunks, muskrats, and rabbits are found in Massachusetts. Fish such as tautog, scup, bluefish, black sea bass, and striped bass can be found in plenty in the local rivers, lakes, and along the shore. Both fishing and hunting licenses are required, and if you are a Massachusetts citizen, they will be quite inexpensive.
How to Generate Off-Grid Power in Massachusetts?
Solar power: While many people who live off the grid utilize solar electricity, Massachusetts normally does not have the ideal circumstances for it. You will have no trouble getting enough sunshine for your solar panels during the summer, but the days are far too short during the winter for your solar panels to perform at optimal efficiency. You can apply for a federal solar credit of up to 25% and a domestic renewable energy income credit of up to 25%. Some counties also provide additional incentives on top of these two.
Wind power: Because the state is on the east coast, generating electricity with wind turbines will be quite simple. You may apply for a federal tax credit of roughly 30%, and on top of that, you can apply for local incentives and rebates, which will vary by county.
If you’d like to read more about off-grid living you can find my complete guide here.
Does Massachusetts Have Any Off-Grid Laws?
There are currently no rules in Massachusetts that stop you from living off the grid; rainwater gathering is also permitted, and there are no restrictions on how much you can harvest in most regions. Although the homeschooling rules in this state are not unusual, you will discover that there is a lot of content to teach due to the excellent standard of education in this state. Despite the fact that you may simply homeschool your children, few individuals do so because the educational system is so good.
What’s Road Access Like in Massachusetts?
Because Massachusetts is a small state, local governments have little trouble maintaining the roadways around the major cities; however, the quality of the roads varies from county to county. When it comes to roads in the eastern portion of the state, you’ll find a mixed bag; some are well-maintained, while others are riddled with potholes, which is largely due to seawater damage.
What’s the Price of Land in Massachusetts?
The cost of land in Massachusetts is quite high; you’ll pay roughly 70% more than the rest of the country. The most expensive land is along the shore, and as you travel further west, the price of land drops significantly. Some counties have land prices that are nearly equal to the national average, yet they are still too expensive to build a homestead in.
If you want to learn about a cheaper state, I recommend checking out my Complete Guide on Living Off The Grid in Kentucky.
What’s the Property Tax in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has a property tax rate of roughly 1.22 percent, which is much higher than the national average of 1.08 percent. The 1.22 percent tax is only in some counties, and property taxes are substantially higher in the vast majority of them; the county with the highest property tax is Hampden, which has a 1.68 percent tax. Although Massachusetts has a high property tax, the largest issue is the high cost of housing. When you combine high housing costs with a high property tax, you will wind up paying an arm and a leg every year.
What’s the Cost of Living in Massachusetts?
In general, the cost of living in Massachusetts is around 27% more than the national average. The most noticeable differences are the 70% higher house prices and the 13% higher utility bills, though you will also pay an additional 8% for transportation and groceries. The only thing that is less expensive in this state is health care, which is around 17% less expensive than the national average.
What’s the Job Market Like in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has a 2.9 percent unemployment rate, which is lower than the national average of 4%. Because of the low unemployment rate, many people relocate here in search of a better paid work. The minimum wage is $12, which is significantly higher than the national average of $7.25, however minimum wages in surrounding states can reach $15. Finance, research and development, pharmaceutical, commercial fishing, government, and tourism are the industries in which the majority of people work.
What’s the Crime Rate in Massachusetts?
The local crime rate is slightly lower than the national average, at 3.38 crimes per 1000 people, compared to the national average of 4 crimes per 1000 people. Wayland, Huntington, Chesterfield, and Westhampton are the safest counties. Wareham, Pittsfield, Boston, and Springfield are the counties with the highest crime rates.
Is Massachusetts Affected by Natural Disasters?
Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and winter storms are among the natural disasters that have struck Massachusetts. Because Massachusetts is in the northern region of the state, temperatures will be cold during the winter, and because the state is near the coast, snowfall can be heavy in some years.
Can You Live Off-Grid in Massachusetts?
Because of its geographical location, Massachusetts is not a favorable state for off-grid living. Residents are limited in what crops they can cultivate unless they invest in a greenhouse. Massachusetts is simply too expensive, in my opinion, to make off-grid living as cost-effective as feasible. This is not to say that no one lives off the grid in Massachusetts; rather, you would be better off spending your money in nearly any other state.