The phrase "nearby Massachusetts" or more commonly "nearby Mass" refers to parts of Massachusetts that connect physically, economically, socially and culturally to Rhode Island and the Providence metro more than they do to the Boston metro, the capital and epicenter of Massachusetts. In fact, the "Providence DMA" (distinct marketing area, a trademarked notation from Nielsen Research) includes the nearby Mass cities of Fall River and New Bedford, as well as the smaller communities in between. Nielsen's Providence-New Bedford DMA serves as the basis for the metro region of the same name tracked by the US government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment data).
(In the same way, Westerly, RI generally clustered with its larger neighbor, New London, CT. Such are the vagaries of New England demographics.)
Communities generally considered part of nearby Mass include (in no particular order):
- Attleboro (North and South)
- Fall River
- New Bedford
Extensible Borders of the Providence Metro
Depending on the context, the Providence metro region can be said to include substantial portions of southeastern, central and western Massachusetts as well as all of eastern Connecticut. Because the city of Providence hosts an outsized number of arts, culture and entertainment venues, its cultural influence attracts from lower Cape Cod, central Mass to North Hampton and beyond and the eastern half of Connecticut as defined by the Connecticut River.