Aug 28, 2023 - Culture

Who can say they're really from Boston

Illustration of the Boston skyline with word balloons with exclamation points popping up from left to right.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

What does it mean that you're from here?

  • Like, really from here?

Does it mean you came to Boston for college and have been proudly slurping on iced coffee ever since?

  • How about if you're technically from the South Shore, but, you know, you feel like a real Bostonian after about 15 years on Dot Ave?
  • Can you show your surname on the passenger manifest of the Arbella?
  • Even better, can you curse out a WASP in Wampanoag?

A Florida Man with Mass. ties on Reddit recently pleaded his case to be considered a true Masshole. Some of his credentials:

  • His parents are from New Bedford and fed him kale soup.
  • He's been here one year longer than he lived in Florida.
  • He's civically active and is openly critical of the Seaport.

Why it matters: We always argue about how long it takes — in generations, not years — to call yourself a Bostonian, a North Ender, a Dot Rat or a true Cantabrigian.

  • There's no good answer.
  • Unless you're from Connecticut, then there's definitely an answer.

The bottom line: It makes sense to use two strategies here: when you're in Metro Boston, claim your true native town or region.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more