A midsized town incorporated in 1757, Danvers is just 20 miles from Boston, New England’s largest city.
Originally a farming community, Danvers’ industrial base shifted to shoe manufacturing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, skilled manufacturing plays an important role in the local economy, as does health care and education. Unemployment is low—just 3.6% compared with 4.9% for the state of Massachusetts—while educational attainment and median income are higher compared with the state and the nation. Residents of Danvers are generally prosperous. Many are highly educated, reflecting eastern Massachusetts’ confluence of high technology, education, and health care. Although Danvers is overwhelmingly white, educational attainment and median income among minority populations living in Danvers exceed state and national averages for these populations.
Massachusetts is one of 10 “home rule” states, which limits state control over some local matters. Thus, like other Massachusetts communities, Danvers enjoys a certain degree of autonomy, which contributes to a culture of citizen engagement. Danvers’ town government offers many opportunities for citizen input and participation. Elections are held annually, when nearly 150 town meeting members are elected to three-year terms on a rolling basis; volunteers also serve on a range of boards and commissions.