Review the Business Climate

How it's done

The business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in Cambridge and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

What is the business climate in Cambridge?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Cambridge’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.

What costs and assistance should I know about?

Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting business in Cambridge and assistance available to Cambridge businesses.

Fiscal Year 2021 Tax Rates (per $1,000 assessed value):

  • Residential: $5.85
  • Commercial/Industrial: $11.85
  • Personal Property: $11.85

Competitive Tax Base

Cambridge’s residential and commercial tax rates continue to be the lowest among surrounding communities and one of the lowest of any city in the state.

City Cambridge Boston Somerville Waltham Lexington
Population (2018) 118,977 694,583 81,562 62,962 33,792
Commercial/Industrial Property Rate* (FY 2021) $11.85 $24.55 $16.69 $23.08 $27.97
Residential Property Tax Rate* $5.85 $10.67 $10.19 $11.32 $14.39

*Per $1,000 assessed value. Residential rates do not include residential exemption for owner occupied homes. Residential Exemption has not been adopted by all communities.

Cambridge has a Municipal Credit Rating of AAA from 3 major credit rating agencies.

For more information, visit the Cambridge Finance Department’s property tax information page.

Additional Resources:

For more information on taxes and assessing, please contact Robert P. Reardon, Assessing Director,, 617-349-4343.

How do I use this information?

Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.

Monitor the local business climate

On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimize risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Know your costs

All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labor that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and state costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Where can I learn more about the business climate?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.

There may also be other municipal and state costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

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Contact us

Rona Abrahams
City of Cambridge Community Development Department
Economic Development Division