The Best College Towns In Maine For 2020

Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our time ranking the best college towns in Maine.
Swipe left for slideshow

Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Maine is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Maine are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Maine for 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In Maine For 2020

  1. Brunswick, ME (Homes)
  2. Portland, ME (Photos | Homes)
  3. Orono, ME (Photos | Homes)
  4. Presque Isle, ME (Photos | Homes)
  5. Lewiston, ME (Photos | Homes)
  6. Augusta, ME (Photos | Homes)
  7. Waterville, ME (Photos | Homes)
  8. Bangor, ME (Photos | Homes)
  9. Biddeford, ME (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Brunswick, Portland and Orono - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Brunswick ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 9 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 132 places in Maine that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on Maine check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Maine For 2020

Brunswick, ME
Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 15,244
% Undergrad Pop.: 10.6% (6th best)
Median Rent: $803 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 459.8% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Brunswick: Real Estate | Data

Brunswick is a town in Cumberland County in southern Maine, United States. The population was 20,278 at the 2010 United States Census. Part of the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metropolitan area, Brunswick is home to Bowdoin College, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, The Theater Project, and the Maine State Music Theatre. It is also home to Mid Coast Hospital, one of Maine's newest full-service hospitals. It was home to Naval Air Station Brunswick which was permanently closed on May 31, 2011.

Colleges: Bowdoin College

Portland, ME
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 66,735
% Undergrad Pop.: 13.7% (5th best)
Median Rent: $1,079 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 304.6% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Portland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Portland is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maine, with a population of 66,937 as of 2016. This makes it the fourth least populous city in the U.S. to be the most populous in its state. The Greater Portland metropolitan area is home to over half a million people, more than one-third of Maine's total population. The Old Port district is frequented by tourists, while Portland Head Light is also a destination. The city seal depicts a phoenix rising from ashes, which is a reference to the recoveries from four devastating fires. Portland was named after the English Isle of Portland, and the city of Portland, Oregon, was in turn named after Portland, Maine.

Colleges: University of Southern Maine, Maine College of Art, Empire Beauty School-Maine

Orono, ME
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 9,474
% Undergrad Pop.: 86.8% (1st best)
Median Rent: $905 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 720.1% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Orono: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Colleges: University of Maine

Presque Isle, ME
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 9,162
% Undergrad Pop.: 15.6% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $591 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 437.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Presque Isle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Presque Isle is the commercial center and largest city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,171 in 2015 as estimated by the US Census, a decrease from the count of 9,692 in the 2010 Census. The city is home to the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College, Husson University Presque Isle, Northern Maine Fairgrounds, The Aroostook Centre Mall, and the Northern Maine Regional Airport.

Colleges: University of Maine at Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College

Lewiston, ME
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 36,097
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.7% (8th best)
Median Rent: $727 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 539.1% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Lewiston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine and the most central city in Androscoggin County. The city borders the coastal sideways of the Gulf of Maine and is south of Augusta, the state's capital and north of Portland, the cultural hub of Maine. It is one-half of the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Statistical Area, commonly referred to as "L.A." or "L-A." Lewiston exerts a significant impact upon the diversity, religious variety, commerce, education, and economic power of Maine. It is known for a relatively low cost of living, substantial access to medical care, and an extremely low violent crime rate. While the dominant language spoken in the city is English, it is home to the largest French-speaking population in the United States while it is second to St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, in percentage of speakers.

Colleges: Bates College, Maine College of Health Professions

Augusta, ME
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 18,635
% Undergrad Pop.: 30.1% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $704 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 622.2% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Augusta: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Augusta is the capital of the U.S. state of Maine and the county seat of Kennebec County.

Colleges: University of Maine at Augusta, Capilo School of Hair Design, Kaplan University-Augusta Campus

Waterville, ME
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 16,515
% Undergrad Pop.: 14.3% (4th best)
Median Rent: $685 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 507.1% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Waterville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waterville is a city in Kennebec County of the U.S. state of Maine, United States, on the west bank of the Kennebec River. Home to Colby College and Thomas College, the population was 15,722 at the 2010 census. Waterville is also the latter of the cities which make up the Augusta-Waterville, ME Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Colleges: Colby College, Thomas College

Bangor, ME
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 32,098
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (9th best)
Median Rent: $799 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 662.1% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Bangor: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bangor is a city along the Penobscot River in the U.S. state of Maine. The city proper has a population of 33,039, while the Bangor metropolitan area has a population of 153,746. Bangor is known as the "Queen City" of Maine.

Colleges: Eastern Maine Community College, Beal College, Husson University

Biddeford, ME
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 21,452
% Undergrad Pop.: 5.7% (7th best)
Median Rent: $927 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 559.3% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Biddeford: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Biddeford is a city in York County, Maine, United States. It is the principal commercial center of York County. The population was 21,277 at the 2010 census. Twin city of Saco, Biddeford includes the resort community of Biddeford Pool, Fortunes Rocks and Granite Point. The town is the site of the University of New England and the annual La Kermesse Franco-Americaine Festival. First visited by Europeans in 1616, it is the site of one of the earliest European settlements in the United States.

Colleges: University of New England

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Maine?

To crunch our data on Maine's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 9 places in Maine with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Maine For 2020".

And it looks like Brunswick placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Maine, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

9 Best College Towns In Maine

Rank City Population
1 Brunswick, ME 15244
2 Portland, ME 66735
3 Orono, ME 9474
4 Presque Isle, ME 9162
5 Lewiston, ME 36097
6 Augusta, ME 18635
7 Waterville, ME 16515
8 Bangor, ME 32098
9 Biddeford, ME 21452

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?