New Bedford is a city situated on the Acushnet River in the South Coast region of Massachusetts. Originally inhabited by the Wampanoag Native American people, New Bedford was established in 1652 by English colonists. The town of New Bedford was incorporated in 1787 and incorporated as a city in 1847.
New Bedford is known for being one of the world’s most important whaling ports in the 1800s, and during that time, was the wealthiest city in the world per capita. The city is home to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the largest whaling museum in the country. Frederick Douglass lived there from 1838 until 1841. New Bedford was the primary setting of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick. New Bedford is home to the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, a collegiate summer baseball league in New England. With wonderful amenities, New Bedford is a good place to live. If you’re thinking about moving to New Bedford, here’s everything you need to know about this historic town.
Where Is New Bedford Massachusetts?
New Bedford is located in Bristol County, about 59 miles south of Boston and 31 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island. New Bedford is just a short ferry ride from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cuttyhunk Islands. New Bedford is bordered by Dartmouth on the west, Freetown on the north, Acushnet on the east, and Buzzards Bay on the south.
New Bedford MA Population & Demographics
New Bedford has a population of 101,079 people according to the 2020 census, up from 95,072 in 2010. The median household income for New Bedford is $50,581, about $20,000 below the national average of $70,784. By comparison, Boston residents make about $81,744 a year. Notable people from New Bedford include Jordan Todman, an NFL player, and United States District Court Judge George N. Leighton.
The racial demographics of New Bedford are 60.6% White, 14% Hispanic, 6.21% Black or African American, 5.91% Other, and 5/31% two or more races.
Additional New Bedford demographics:
- Median age: 36.4
- Sex ratio: 51% female to 49% male
- Homeownership rate: 39.1%
- Educational attainment: 17.0% bachelor’s degree or higher, 76.4% high school grad or higher
- Foreign-born population: 19.9%
- Veteran population: 3,552
The total crime rate in New Bedford, MA is 2% higher than the national average. Violent crime is 62% higher; however, the city has seen a 38% drop in reported crimes over the last decade. The crime rate in New Bedford is 2,403 crimes per 100,000 people and 628 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The property crime rate in New Bedford is 1,775 per 100,000 people. Despite this, New Bedford is a safe place to live. The New Bedford Police Department dates back to 1794 and is dedicated to law enforcement, education, and partnering with the community to ensure safety and security for all citizens.
Cost of Living in New Bedford
New Bedford isn’t considered the most affordable place to live in Massachusetts. The cost of living in New Bedford is 11% higher than the national average, although it’s 19% lower than the state average. By comparison, the cost of living in Boston is 46% higher than the national average. You will pay more for goods and services and utilities in New Bedford, though.
Typical New Bedford Living Expenses
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: $12.00
- Meal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal): $9.25
- Domestic Beer (1 pint draught): $4.00
- Water (12 oz small bottle): $3.00
- Local Cheese (1 lb): $7.00
- Average New Bedford utility bill per month: $189.17
Housing is affordable in New Bedford. Home prices are only 2% higher in New Bedford than the national average. The New Bedford housing market is very competitive and the New Bedford median home price is $380,000. If you’re moving to New Bedford, homes sell after an average of 27 days on the market compared to 23 days last year. You can check out New Bedford, MA homes for sale to get an idea of how much a home that fits your needs will cost in the New Bedford area.
The average rent in New Bedford is $1,744 a month, and the average size of an apartment is 943 square feet. According to the Economic Policy Institute, you’ll spend $7,462 per month for a family of four living in New Bedford.
Best Neighborhoods in New Bedford, MA
From the historic waterfront district to downtown, there are amazing New Bedford neighborhoods to choose from.
Acushnet Heights Historic District – Historic Homes
Acushnet Heights was first developed back in the 1830s and 1840s when modest single-family homes and large, elaborate estates sprung up. Styles here include Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival. The median price for a home here is $299,000.
West End – Nostalgic Whaling community
New Bedford’s West End features tree-lined streets and beautiful Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial, and Greek Revival-style homes. The median home price in this popular neighborhood is $375,000. Buttonwood Park, one of the biggest parks in the city and home of the Buttonwood Park Zoo, is close by.
Moreland Terrace – Upper Middle-Class Traditional Style Homes
Moreland Terrace is home to some of the most beautiful and well-maintained homes in New Bedford. The neighborhood was developed from the late 1880s until around 1930. Here you’ll find traditional home designs such as Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival, Queen Anne, and Tudor in a suburban-style setting with large lots. The median listing home price in Moreland Terrace is $695,000.
New Bedford, MA Weather & Climate
New Bedford summers are warm and humid. Winters are very cold, snowy, and windy. It’s partly cloudy there year-round. July is the hottest month in New Bedford, with an average high temperature of 81.9°F. January is the coldest month. Nighttime temperatures in January average a chilly 20.3° F. The average annual rainfall in New Bedford is 51 inches, over the national average of 38 inches. Be prepared for snow in New Bedford. It snows about 35 inches per year. The U.S. average is 28 inches. The best time of year to visit New Bedford is from mid June to mid September.
Things to Do in New Bedford
In New Bedford, you can find lots of shopping opportunities at King’s Plaza, Fieldstone Marketplace, or the Oceanside Plaza. New Bedford has lots of fun and interesting things to do. Below are a few of the attractions you won’t want to miss in New Bedford.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
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At the New Bedford Whaling Museum, you can explore the art, history, science, and culture of the region. This is one of the best activities in New Bedford for families and kids.
New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740, (508) 997-0046
Buttonwood Park Zoo
The Buttonwood Park Zoo features a variety of animals native to Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. The zoo opened in 1894 and is the third-oldest zoo in New England and the 12th-oldest zoo in the United States. This can’t miss thing to do with kids in New Bedford will become a favorite!
Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn St, New Bedford, MA 02740, (508) 991-6178
Fort Taber Park
Fort Taber Park was a military fort built in 1861 and was in active use until after WWII when it became a surplus facility. The park has several gun batteries, and American Revolution, American Civil War, and World War II re-enactments are held there.
Fort Taber Park, 1000c Rodney French Blvd. New Bedford, MA 02744, (508) 994-3938
Additional attractions near New Bedford:
New Bedford has over 30 parks, playgrounds, beaches, and recreational facilities for residents to enjoy. The Parks Recreation & Beaches Department plans, implements, and supervises a variety of recreational, educational, and cultural activities throughout the year for adults and kids. You can see the New Bedford city calendar of events here.
New Bedford MA Restaurants
What’s cookin’ in New Bedford? Here are some of the top restaurants in New Bedford:
Brick Pizzeria Napoletana
At Brick Pizzeria Napoletana, they make their dough with three simple ingredients: Caputo 00 flour, sea, salt, and water. Their homemade sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes and sea salt. Simple, but amazing. This is the best New Bedford eatery for date night.
Brick Pizzeria Napoletana, 163 Union St, New Bedford, MA 02740, (508) 999-4943
The Black Whale
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The Black Whale is the best seafood kitchen and bar in New Bedford. They serve only fresh, bold, and innovative food that reflects the history of New Bedford and celebrates the New Bedford fishermen, their catch, and their culture.
The Black Whale, 106 MacArthur Dr, New Bedford, MA 02740, (508) 990-7100
Antonio’s has served up authentic Portuguese cuisine since 1989, using fresh local seafood and produce. This family-friendly restaurant creates tasty dishes from Old World Portuguese recipes, and this is a great family friendly restaurant in New Bedford.
Antonio’s Restaurant, 267 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA, (508) 990-3636
Jobs in New Bedford
The largest industries in New Bedford are healthcare & social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing. The highest-paying industries are utilities, information, and public administration. Check out indeed or the city job site for current jobs in New Bedford.
Major employers in New Bedford:
The average salary for New Bedford residents is $54,669 or $26 per hour. Future economic job growth over the next ten years in New Bedford is predicted to be 32.7%.
New Bedford Schools & Higher Education
New Bedford Public Schools is the school district for the city. They have 19 elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school in the district. Those moving to New Bedford also have several charter and Catholic schools to choose from.
Fisher College has a campus in New Bedford. Bristol Community College has a satellite campus in downtown New Bedford. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus and the University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth are close by in Dartmouth. Students can also enjoy the New Bedford Free Public Library.
New Bedford Statistics & Information
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- County: Bristol
- Area: 24.13 square miles
- New Bedford zip code: 02740, 02744, 02745, 02746
- New Bedford area code: 508, 774
- New Bedford Elevation: 50 feet
- New Bedford time zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Closest airport to New Bedford: New Bedford (EWB) Airport, 3 miles away. Boston (BOS) is 51 miles away.
New Bedford MA Map
Explore the area and other fun things to do, check out schools, and more with this map of New Bedford.
Are you ready to move to New Bedford? Our experienced New Bedford moving team at Correira Brothers Moving is here to make your move smooth and stress-free! Give us a call today at 401-648-6683 or fill out our online form for a free quote!