Just about every community in Massachusetts and across the nation has been touched by the upsurge in opioid addiction and the consequences of that trend – but Essex County has been particularly hard-hit.
Essex County isn’t the easiest place to get around, especially if you don’t have a car. Public transportation is limited, with the central part of the county not served at all. While congested roads and busy rush hours can be a troubling inconvenience for many, the lack of reliable transportation can have an even bigger impact on the lives of low-income people, who may not be able to access jobs or the education they need to enter the workforce.
If you own a home in Essex County, times have probably been good. Since 2000, the median home value has increased 23% to $373,400. If you don’t own a home, it may seem far out of reach. Essex is quite an unaffordable place to live – by both common measures. For homeowners, affordability is assessed using a ratio of median home value to median income. Essex County’s ratio is 5.1, when the 2-3 range is considered affordable. For renters, rent is considered affordable if it takes up no more than 30% of income. In Essex County, renters are spending about 37% of their income on rent.