Survey Ranks Boston The Least Friendly City In America

BOSTON (CBS) – Is Boston the meanest city in the U.S.?

Two University of Michigan psychologists created a number categories to measure niceness and did a national survey. Out of 50 major cities, Boston came in dead last in being friendly and nice.

People around Boston do not think of themselves as being mean. Far from it:

“I don’t think we’re the meanest city. I think we’re the best city,” said one man, who theorized that the rest of America is jealous.

Perhaps that’s true. The survey was answered by people around the country who may or may not have been jealous of Boston.

Locals admit, though, that we are a unique city.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports.

“Like wine and cheese, we get better with age,” said another man.

  • Ellen

    My mother was from Chelsea and my father from Revere and always told us not to talk to strangers, talk only when spoken to, and never, never go up to someone you don’t know. My cousin who now lives in Georgia said that it’s the complete opposite there. Everyone talks to anyone, and it’s not unusual for someone to come up to you and start a conversation. Guess it must be a Boston thing, but hey I like it here more so then any where else.

    • jill b

      I have lived here for fouteen years I cam from Chicago which is a much
      larger city and find Boston very unfriendly and it took along time to
      establish friendhshipc compared to out west

    • Bostonian Girl

      I live in the suburbs of Boston and I get what people say. It’s not Georgia where all the southerners hug random strangers, but people are caring. My friend with autism was walking down the street and a young man came up to her and told her she was beautiful. The smile on her face was so big I smiled too. So, Boston is just as wholesome a city as any.

  • Vera Carroll

    @Ellen – there is nothing like Southern Hospitality! I have lived in MA all my life and I wonder why I am still here. I find most people in my area to be self-centered, obnoxious and rude, but it wasn’t that way growing up as a kid. Times have changed, but not always for the better.

  • Laur

    I grew up here, lived in San Diego for many years, and have to say we are pretty unfriendly here. People in San Diego may be artificial in some ways, but I always remember being out walking and how friendly everyone was….smile and say hello. I find when you do that here, people almost look at you like “huh”. I do find a lot of people rude around here. I understand don’t talk to strangers to a point, but a nice smile and a hello can go a long way! My biggest amazement is those who work in customer service and are unfriendly….hello pick another job.

    • some shmoe

      It’s a viscous cycle. Because everyone is unfriendly, people ruin other people’s days. Everyone in Mass is pretty much angry at the world. So nobody’s every happy. ESPECIALLY those who handle customer service, as they get the worst of the worst.

  • Piratejohncool

    This survey is almost a year old and it didn’t “meanness” but strengths of the head and strengths of the heart. Boston ranked last when answering questions that attempted to measure compassion and gratitude.

  • butters

    Its true mass people are rude and unfriendly

  • Alli

    People in massachusetts all together are mean,Lived here my whole life and have always been kind to others, holding doors, please and thank you etc. i see other mass residents become more and more rude every day. Inconsiderate no mannered people who drive awful. “times are tough” most people tell me when i discuss this with others. Its no reason to treat eachother like poo. Have been considering myself on moving to a new place before i lose faith the human race.

    • Iliana

      Ha! I moved to Naples FL from Cape Cod, you want unfriendly! The cold here beats any Boston winter day!

    • some shmoe

      I agree with this entirely.

  • Cinque

    Just remember that a friend in need is a friend to be avoided.

    • Cynic

      I heard it another way…”A Friend in need is a pain in the A**”

  • Terry

    I have lived in cities located on the East and West coasts. Boston is far and away the most arrogant and unfriendly city I’ve experienced. Bostonians feel entitled to what they perceive as the city’s positives and often treat newcomers as unwelcome interlopers. Few will extend a helping hand or even simply wave to newcomers.
    I agree with the unspoken city motto, leave Boston to established Bostonians. They deserve each other.

  • taxedout

    Boston…NO WAY….Also the Dumbest!!!!! Good luck on your next parking speeding ticket for 50 bucks, you’ll need 245 just to get a chance to plead your case!!!!! Stupid

  • emom

    I lived in Boston for over 16 years, Our neighbors where great, always looking out for each other, But that was a very long time ago… It has changed over the last 3 decades,,, Even in the suburbs your neighbors are either none existing or so nosy that you avoid them all together. Times have seriously changed, It’s so sad to see the lack of care in folks. Besides being RUDE, uncaring, selfish lets add in Expensive , full of TAXES and IN A HURRY.. Slow down once in a while, It seems we are to BUSY for much any more, even KINDNESS………

  • Gordon Isaac Friedman

    I’ve lived in Boston for about seven years. People tell me to shoot myself in the head, kill myself, etc. You get used to it. It actually makes leaving the city a pleasant surprise. It’s like a breath of fresh air going anywhere outside the city.

  • Boston Ucan Haveit

    What a surprise! The funniest thing about this survey is that why is it that this city has not been labeled every year as the unfriendliest us city? What do you expect from a city dominated by racist Irish and arrogant Europeans?

    • jaygee

      “Racist Irish & arrogant Europeans”, huh? Where did you drop from the womb, amigo? There are many “friendly” cities that remain that way as long as you attend chuch every Sunday and other “Friendly” cities that accept everyone as equal as long as you are white & Protestant. At least in Boston, one doesn’t have to play games and put on the faux smile for everyone. Remember one thing, it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

      • derpa


      • Boston Ucan Haveit

        Its hard to accept the truth huh? You are one of these people with superiority complex who thinks that no one deserve anything but your people. Why dont you go out of the state so that you can see for yourself that anything is better than Boston. Nice try in labeling me as a colored person with your “amigo” comment, thats just typical racist Bostonian. For your information I am just as white as you but thank God I am not a bigot. So go on drink your guiness or your pint, get yourself drunk to numb that pint size brain of yours from reality.

      • k

        It’s better to keep your mouth shut, then to open it and remove all doubt. Abe Lincoln’s quote…he didn’t say “stupid”!

  • Northe

    It’s very true ..Bostonians are incredibly rude and classless

    • BostonMeanine

      No we’re not… F*CK YOU!

      • TitleTownUSA

        Like Button!!

  • Becky

    I grew up in Mass and I have frequented Boston and Manhattan many times. And Manhattan is MUCH friendlier than Boston. Perfect example, I had a double stroller and was trying to open a door- In Boston I was left to struggle- people just walked by… In Manhattan not only did someone help me but followed me into the store to make sure I was able to get the next door inside! HUGE difference…

  • Matt

    Weird. I don’t find this to be the case at all.

  • njchase

    I agree with this article completely. I lived in the Metro Boston area my whole life and people are generally rude, discourteous, and unkind. There are some nice people too, but it seems they are in the minority and I rarely see them when I am in the city. People here seem to thrive on behaving badly.

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  • A.F. Hutchinson

    We deserve the ranking. I grew up in Roslindale, which seems to be a much friendlier place than West Roxbury, which is, unfortunately, where I live now. It’s a lovely place, but best if you are not a) a person of color, b) GLBT, c) look like you might be either, or both a person of color and GLBT. One of my neighbors actually congratulated me for having the ‘courage’ to live as an openly gay person in our neighborhood, which was at once oddly nice and totally terrifying. While Massachusetts blazed the gay marriage trail, in communities like WR, gays are looked upon with suspicion. Remember, this is the neighborhood that got The Phoenix banned because it wasn’t ‘appropriate.’ I’m saving every dime to get the heck out of here, because it is not where I want my bones to rest. Mean, meaner, meanest, Boston — you’re it. And I should know — I’m a native!

  • Anisha sharma

    Well done! However, on a quick note these people could have saved money on survey. I mean $4.00 round trip on subway could have explained that..LOL and about rudeness: dont even get me started… Its a groupy people city..people dont say hello to each other and they dont talk to each other.. People are allergic to each other and this seed of allergy is may be from their childhood! And needless to say they cant smile except when they are in their sheep herd! And if u do find someone friendly dont forget to ask where they are frpm “originally” and the answer will be “not Boston, God NO” !! LOL

  • Andrew

    Must be the weather….

  • Theo

    In your face New York…we’re #1…we’re #1…we’re #1 Lol

    • jessie

      lmaoo another thing to beat new york in

  • Boston #1 again! - for meanest population - City-Data Forum

    […] […]

  • NeverSummer

    For 35 years i thought it was like this all over the country. We are a ‘can of corn’ for sure. If you are IN you are IN. you have friends for life. Yes, we are openly guarded, openly hostile towards yankees fans, and really protective of our land, family, etc which may seem abrasive and rude and obnoxious. But travelling 30 minutes to go 1 mile on the highway, the insane cost of living, the constant long work schedule, longer lines at Dunkin Donuts, etc will drive anyone insane.
    I have Boston Pride for our teams and culture and I am still very proud to be a Bostonian. However in 2006 I moved to Park City, Utah and talk about 180 degrees. People here (and not just the mormons which constitute 30 percent of SLC and practically nonexistant in park city ) are much more laid back, more friendly, more talkative to strangers, and more giving. Then again it could be the weather and ski conditions.

  • emom

    I have to wonder, How much Grant $$$$ did the government supply to these people for this already obvious survey….. and Which city ranked the highest or should I dare say THE FRIENDLIEST..

  • pmgarra

    It is so easy to be so self-righteous on these blogs…isn’t it??? I am born and raised in the North Shore of Boston and oh by the way…have traveled all around the USA and world for that matter…I have learned that in all cities there are both “friendly” and “not so friendly” people. I have always been the type of person to go out of my way to say hi to people…my friends often feel that I am overly friendly…and again, I was born here, have lived all over the place and live here again…I am very proud of Boston and Massachusetts, for being leaders in having many of the best colleges and universities in the country, with a long list of presidents who were educated here, as well as being a leader in technology as well. We have the beautiful 4 seasons which I would not give up for the world (lived in the south…all set! ) Boston has always been a melting pot for diversity…and most often a leader in the political areana…do we really even need to mention that we have the top hospitals in the country…I could go on and on all day…Oh yeah…can’t leave out our incredible sports teams : ) Go Bruins!!!! I love Boston and New England and would never dream of living anywhere else….p.s. to all the really angry bloggers…you sound really unfriendly….from this friendly Bostonian….I hope you all have a beautiful day!!!!

    • some shmoe

      You’re a minority. Ive lived here all my life and I can say pretty much all of Mass is unfriendly. I’m moving out as soon as I can, but the harsh taxes are kind of grounding. Every other place I’ve been is way more friendly than Boston. If you’ve found happiness in that dark place, then good for you. But to me, I’d rather go west coast to a place where people actually smile.

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