Education is a point of pride for the MetroWest region, which has overall high elementary reading scores and high school graduation rates as well as an extremely well-educated adult population and strong, varied educational institutions including Wellesley College, Bentley University, Framingham State University and Massachusetts Bay Community College.

But the educational benefits of the region do not pertain to all in MetroWest – all educational metrics are lower for economically disadvantaged students and adults of color. The reasons for such disparities are complex and have historical roots, including inequitable access to high quality schools.


  • Third-grade reading proficiency – which is critical to overall academic success – is at 74% among Asian students, 63% among white students, and just 36% and 34% among black or African American students and Hispanic or Latino students, respectively. In Framingham, just 20% of economically disadvantaged students and 23% of Hispanic or Latino students achieved proficiency, while 50% of students identified as not economically disadvantaged achieved proficiency
  • High school graduation rates are 87% among African American students and 80% among Latino students, lower than the rates for Asian students and white students (96% and 94%).
  • A fabulous 50% of adults in MetroWest hold at least a bachelor’s degree, up from 39% in 2000 and far above the national rate of 31%. Yet much lower shares of people of color have bachelor’s or higher degrees: 33% of African American residents of the region and 27% of Hispanic residents.

Prekindergarten helps prepare children both socially and academically for school, and can be especially important in preparing low-income children for kindergarten. In MetroWest in 2018, 53% of 4-year-olds were enrolled in public or private prekindergarten programs, up from 37% in 2002 and about level with the state rate. The vast majority of these children, or 74%, were enrolled in public prekindergarten programs.

School attendance also is critical to students’ ability to develop key skills and their future success in school. In 2017, 10% of students were chronically absent in MetroWest, below the state rate (14%). Rates were highest (14%) in Milford, Framingham and Marlborough, and lowest (3%) in Lexington. Absence rates decreased most since 2009 in Waltham (5 percentage points) and Ashland (4 points).

Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Decreasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing