Amherst is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States in the Connecticut River valley. As of the 2000 census, the population was 34,874. The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, three of the Five Colleges. The name of the town is correctly pronounced without the h ("AM-erst"), unlike some other towns of the same name. The communities of Amherst Center, North Amherst, and South Amherst are census-designated places. Amherst is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.