and the third most densely populated
of all US states.
Massachusetts packs a lot into its
small size. In the west, the Berkshire
Mountains surround the fertile Connecticut River Valley with vibrant arts
centers and excellent skiing. In central Massachusetts, college towns like
Northampton, Amherst, and Holyoke
offer a country lifestyle and cultural
riches. The east encompasses Greater Boston, the sandy beaches of Cape
Cod, and the islands of Nantucket and
Martha’s Vineyard. Add to this, the
recreational perks of 15 national parks
and over 4,000 national historic places.
Massachusetts has followed the
national trend by transforming itself
from an agricultural and trade-based
economy to a manufacturing cen-
ter during the Industrial Revolution,
then to service industries. Today the
state’s a national leader in higher ed-
ucation, healthcare, high technology,
and financial services. Per capita per-
sonal income in 2012 was $54,687,
the second highest US state. As of
April 2013, the state’s unemployment
rate was 6. 4 percent.
Though Massachusetts once
earned the nickname “Taxachusetts,”
the sobriquet may be overdone.
Personal income is taxed a flat rate of
5. 3 percent of federal adjusted gross
income, sales tax is 6. 5 percent, real
estate tax credits are available for
those over 65, and there’s no inheritance tax.