Whately residents vary widely, from descendants of early settlers as well as the large influx of Irish and Polish immigrants in the early 1900's, to more recent transplants from all over the east coast, as the Pioneer Valley's reputation as a good place to live and raise one's family has grown. Due to this and Whately's proximity to employment centers in Hampshire and Franklin counties, development pressure has increased sharply in the last ten years. Whately residents have recently formed the Whately Land Preservation group in response to this pressure, and an Agricultural Commission and Open Space plan are under consideration.
Today's residents vary from farmers to college professors and tradesmen, from teachers and artists to health workers and construction contractors. The local tax base includes some sizable regionally-known businesses as well as numerous home-based enterprises.
Today far more residents commute to jobs outside Whately than in the past, yet Whately residents hold a strong awareness of and commitment to our community. Participation in town events, from our town meetings to many volunteer positions on critical town boards, to school and recreational organizations, is high, and so Whately's community spirit is sustained.
In the 21st century, Whately retains much of its rural character, scenic landscapes, and abundant natural resources, as well as its historic character. The town is working to keep these cherished elements of the past as it strides into its fifth century.
Whately employs the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a board of selectmen, a town administrator, and a municipal secretary. The town has its own police, fire and public works departments, as well as its own post office. The town's S. White Dickinson Memorial Library is connected to the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System, which is headquartered in the town's industrial park. While most state offices and the regional waste management area are based in Greenfield, the town is actually closer to Northampton, the former seat of Hampshire County.
Trivia: Whately is the site of the first gin distillery in the state.