Is Boston, Massachusetts a Liberal City?

Politics are becoming more nuanced these days, and it is rarely just about who you vote for anymore. It might be important to you to know what the people around you politically believe.

Boston, MA is a very liberal city. The state of Massachusetts is largely liberal and has voted Democratic since 1988. Boston’s county, Suffolk County, is also very liberal; about 80.6% of Suffolk residents voted for the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential election.

The political climate of a city is complicated and has a lot of factors, such as political parties, social ideals, and local and presidential elections. There is a lot to learn about politics in Boston, MA, from the leaders to the policies that are supported to the political history.

Presidential Elections

Politics comes down to voting, and who a city votes for is a big indicator of whether that city is liberal or conservative. There are two major political parties in the United States that each represents the liberal and conservative mindsets: the Democratic party and the Republican party.

The Democratic party represents the liberal point of view; members of the Democratic party tend to support liberal policies and social beliefs. The Republican party represents the conservative point of view; members of the Republican party tend to support conservative policies and social beliefs. Not all liberals and conservatives are members of one party or the other, but it is a fairly accurate way to estimate the liberal or conservative influence on a city.

In the electoral college, MassachusettsOpens in a new tab. has voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since 1988. The state has voted mostly Democratic since 1928. Out of the 24 elections that have taken place since that year, Massachusetts has voted for the Republican candidate only 4 times.

Since the year 2000, the percentage of the population of Massachusetts that voted Democratic has been consistently above 60%, going as high as 65.6% in the 2020 election. The percentage of the population that voted for the Republican candidate has been below 40% since 2000. In the 2020 election, every single countyOpens in a new tab. in Massachusetts had a majority of residents that voted for the Democratic candidate. Massachusetts has shown great support for Democratic candidates and policies for years.

The county of Suffolk, MA is very liberalOpens in a new tab.. 80.6% of residents voted for the Democratic candidate in the 2020 election, while only 17.5% voted for the Republican candidate. Since 2000, the percentage of residents who voted for the Democratic candidate has not gotten below 70% and the highest percentage of residents who voted for the Republican candidate was 22.8% in 2004.

Boston, just like its county and state, is liberal. Between 2018 and 2021, there were 109,812Opens in a new tab. contributions to the Democratic party and liberal campaigns, totaling $54,329,950. In contrast, there were 5,979 contributions to the Republican party and conservative campaigns, totaling $8,258,631. Residents in Boston tend to vote for Democratic candidates and support liberal policies.

Local Leaders


The mayor of Boston is Michelle WuOpens in a new tab.. She is a member of the Democratic party. She was elected in 2021.

Wu was first elected to the Boston City Council in 2013. She is the first Asian-American to serve on the Boston City Council. In 2016, she was elected as the president of the Boston City Council, the first woman to serve in that position who was not Caucasian.

Wu had a great deal of influence while she was on the City Council. During her time on the Boston City Council, she sponsored the Paid Parental Leave ordinance and the Healthcare Equity ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. Both of these policies passed and are in practice. She also worked on the Communications Access ordinance, a policy that guaranteed translation, interpretation, and assistive technology to help people get access to city services.

Some of the major reportsOpens in a new tab. from the mayor’s office during her time were the Economic Inclusion and Equity Agenda, the Action Plan to End Veteran and Chronic Homelessness in Boston, and the First-Ever Workforce Report Examining Diversity in City Government.

Some of the initiativesOpens in a new tab. undertaken have been Boston’s American Rescue Plan (investing federal stimulus funds), the Office of Strategic Partnerships (partnering between the city and private companies), and Boston’s Movement to End Racism. On January 20, 2022, Mayor Wu gave an executive orderOpens in a new tab. to improve accessibility to fair housing.

City Council

The Boston City CouncilOpens in a new tab. has 12 members. Eight of the city council members are women and four are men. All members of the Boston City Council are members of the Democratic party. The Boston City Council president is Ed Flynn. He is also a member of the Democratic party and was elected in 2017. The City Council member who has been serving the longest was elected in 2011, and the newest City Council member was elected in 2022.


Interestingly, the state of Massachusetts has had a Republican governor since 2015Opens in a new tab.. However, the Massachusetts representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives have all been Democratic since 1992.

The residents of Boston, MA have a tendency to vote for Democratic candidates in both local and presidential elections. This shows a tendency toward residents with liberal points of view.



In Massachusetts, abortionsOpens in a new tab. are only available after 24 weeks when the life or health of the mother or fetus is in danger. Women younger than 16 must have parental consent before they can receive an abortion.

There are 47 facilities at which abortion is available as of 2017, a 36% increase from 2014. 43% of Massachusetts counties do not have a clinic to provide abortions. 13% of women do not have access to facilities that provide abortions.

Gun Laws

Massachusetts has strong gun laws. In 2020, the state had the second-lowest gun death rate in the country and the fourth-lowest export of crime guns.

Gun lawsOpens in a new tab. in Massachusetts include gun owner licensing, open carry and concealed carry regulations, assault weapon restrictions and a large-capacity magazine ban, safe storage laws, extreme risk protection orders, and domestic violence gun laws. Massachusetts does not have microstamping requirements, restrictions against bulk firearm purchase, and a waiting period.

Gay Marriage

Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriageOpens in a new tab. in 2003 in the case of Goodridge v. Mass. Department of Public Health. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage, and it asserted that prohibiting gay marriage is unconstitutional.


Boston has historically supported radical political moves and social progress. The city was greatly involved in abolitionism, women’s suffrage, and the temperance movement.


The populationOpens in a new tab. of Boston is 691,531 people. The population density is 14,307 people per square mile. The average age is 31.3 and the average number of people per household is 2.4. 51.9% of the population is female, and 48.1% of the population is male.

The racial makeupOpens in a new tab. of Boston, MA is as follows:

  • White: 44.9%
  • Black: 22.7%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 19.4%
  • Asian: 9.4%
  • Native American: 0.2%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
  • Two or more races: 2.4%
  • Other: 1.0%

31.5%Opens in a new tab. of residents in Boston are married. 7.8% of residents are divorced. 22.4% are married with children and 27.1% are single with children.

The high school graduation rateOpens in a new tab. is 87.9% and the college graduation rate is 51.3%.

The median household income is $76,298 per year. 18% of residents are below the poverty line.

Political History

Boston has had a reputation for revolutionary politics. There were many socially progressive movements started in or near Boston, such as the abolitionist, women’s rights, and temperance movements. Boston also has a history of rich cultural works of authors and artists emerging from the city.

Boston was greatly influenced by the Second Great AwakeningOpens in a new tab., a Protestant religious revival. This took place from 1795 to 1835. There was an increase in membership in churches and a great belief in moral reforms and social progress. Many colleges and seminaries were founded during that time. There were many “camp meetings,” increased attendance to meetings of Methodist and Baptist churches, and revivalist meetings. This movement influenced Boston’s ideals of social progress and reformation.

Massachusetts was one of the thirteen colonies, and so it has been a state since the Revolutionary War. Most of the residents of Massachusetts were FederalistsOpens in a new tab., which was a party that supported a strong central government instead of individual state rights (and was considered liberal based on the standards of the time period), from the 1790s until the 1820s.

After that, Massachusetts supported the Whig party, a pro-business and socially liberal political party, until the 1850s. The Republican party was established around that time, though the social and economic ideals were very different from how they are today. The Republican party was anti-slavery and pro-temperance at that time.

In the 1920s, the Democratic party shifted to become more liberal and diverse, and the state of Massachusetts has tended to vote Democratic ever since, though it was considered a swing state until the 1960s.

The only times that the state has voted for the Republican candidate since the 1920s was when they voted for Eisenhower two times in a row and Reagan two times in a row. In 1972Opens in a new tab., Massachusetts was the only state to vote for the Democratic candidate, George McGovern, instead of Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate.

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Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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