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South Shore (Massachusetts) facts for kids

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South Shore

Irish Riviera
Map of the South Shore region of Massachusetts highlighted in yellow based on the region defined by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, with areas sometimes included in the region on other lists highlighted in light brown.
The South Shore region of Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
Cities and towns Braintree, Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Marshfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Rockland, Scituate and Weymouth, sometimes adding inland towns
 • Total 632.9 sq mi (1,639 km2)
 • Total 541,364
 • Density 855.37/sq mi (330.260/km2)
Largest city (population) Quincy (92,271)
Largest city (land) Plymouth (134 square miles)

The South Shore of Massachusetts is a geographic region stretching south and east from Boston toward Cape Cod along the shores of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. It is subject to varying descriptions including municipalities in eastern Norfolk and Plymouth counties. The South Shore is an affluent area. The median income of the region as of 2020 is $104,691. The median home value of the region as of 2020 is $574,831.

Depending on its geographical definition, the South Shore is composed of a mix of suburban towns, mid-sized industrial cities and rural towns. Massachusetts' heaviest concentration of Irish-American residents and descendants from ancestors from Ireland is on the South Shore, and 6 of the United States' 10 most Irish towns are located on the South Shore, which is sometimes referred to locally as the Irish Riviera.


By its most literal definition, the South Shore includes only cities and towns between Boston and Cape Cod that physically border the Atlantic Ocean, thereby limiting the South Shore to the following:

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management limits its definition of the South Shore to the municipalities between Boston Harbor and Cape Cod, which includes Atlantic coastal and coastal watershed areas "from the three-mile (5 km) limit of the state territorial sea to 100 feet (30 m) beyond the first major land transportation route encountered (a road, highway, rail line, etc.)." This definition eliminates Braintree, Quincy and Weymouth, which border Boston Harbor, but adds the towns of Hanover, Norwell and Pembroke.

In the official sense of the South Shore, however, some of these coastal communities are either members of the Boston-centered Inner Core Committee of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) or not part of the metropolitan area at all, while the South Shore Coalition of the MAPC comprises representatives from 13 coastal and inland communities and includes the following cities and towns:


Institutions of higher learning located in South Shore communities include:

  • Curry College, a private four-year liberal arts college with the main campus located in Milton, and a satellite campus located in Plymouth
  • Bridgewater State University, a public four-year liberal arts college in Bridgewater, and the largest public university in the Massachusetts State University system outside of the University of Massachusetts system
  • Eastern Nazarene College, a private college of the liberal arts and sciences in Quincy
  • Massasoit Community College, a public two-year community college with campuses in Brockton and Canton
  • Quincy College, a two-year city-operated community college in Quincy
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