Greater Boston metropolitan area

The Greater Boston metropolitan area, the tenth largest metro region in the US by population, encompasses some of the nation’s oldest and most historic communities. Today it is a sprawling urban zone with a population approaching 5 million. Greater Boston is typically understood to include five counties in Massachusetts: Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, Middlesex, and Essex, plus two counties in New Hampshire: Rockingham and Strafford. The city of Boston is the most well-known community in the region; other notables include Worcester and Cambridge.

Greater Boston is home to not only a very dense population but also numerous significant businesses, such as General Electric, Liberty Mutual, and Stop & Shop, alongside highly prestigious educational institutions including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. By some definitions, Greater Boston includes areas within nearby Rhode Island, such as Providence. The result of this highly interlinked and urbanized region is a very mobile populace with extensive suburban development. It is not uncommon for someone to live a substantial distance from Boston’s core while still commuting to the city to work.

Because of these movement patterns, employers in the Greater Boston region should consider background check procedures that are more expansive in scope than a single county report. With seven counties in two states to consider, it is possible for a job candidate to have a history in more than one of them. Before you make plans to expand your vetting procedures, know what restrictions businesses face when using criminal histories in hiring decisions.

Most notably, Massachusetts has implemented a statewide “ban the box” policy that applies to all employers. Under these rules, no employer may use an initial employment application to ask about criminal convictions (unless mandated by law) and must furnish applicants with their background check if it will be used in a business’s considerations. Arrest records are generally not allowed in employment considerations. 

Any company running five or more background checks annually must have policies in place to ensure their lawful execution and use. Massachusetts bans consideration of certain types of first  offenses  and removes crimes of a certain age from the state’s criminal history database. These include felonies older than ten years old and  misdemeanors  older than five years. 

Employers in New Hampshire do not have the same guidelines; that state places comparatively few restrictions on background checks, instead deferring to federal legislation including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. offers employers an instant search of the statewide sex offender database. For employers looking to put together a broader picture of an individual’s background across the Greater Boston area, our direct court searches will allow you to do your due diligence. 

With a mobile population of workers who regularly commute, developing confidence in your background check procedures is important. Equipped with the right tools, you can make smarter choices about those you hire.

Learn more about our county background check options


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