The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Maine For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in Maine go easy on your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Maine.

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A wise sage once said:

“She works hard for the money…”

And these places in Maine definitely treat her right.

You see, these are the cities and places in Maine where the cost of living is the lowest; where your salary goes the furthest. And when if you have the luxury of choosing where to live in the Pine Tree State, then the cost of living should play a role in the decision.

So we did the hard for you and crunched the numbers to find the cities that have lower food, energy, and housing costs. After the dust settled on our analysis of the 22 largest places in Maine, we were left with this set of the best value for your money.

So where is the cheapest place to live in Maine? That would be Caribou.

So listen up Portland (the most expensive place in Maine) as we explain how we created this ranking. You could learn some things from the rest of the state.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Maine and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Maine For 2019

Caribou, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,827
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.3x (8th cheapest)
More On Caribou: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Caribou is the second largest city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. Its population was 8,189 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Caribou comes in at $39,927 and the median home value is $89,400 for 2019.

Gardiner, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,672
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.6x (2nd cheapest)
More On Gardiner: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Gardiner is a city in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 5,800 at the 2010 census. Popular with tourists, Gardiner is noted for its culture and old architecture. Gardiner is included in the Augusta, Maine micropolitan New England City and Town Area.

The median income in Gardiner comes in at $47,475 and the median home value is $137,400 for 2019.

Brewer, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 9,167
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.3x (4th cheapest)
More On Brewer: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Brewer comes in at $56,354 and the median home value is $159,900 for 2019.

Presque Isle, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,246
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.5x (12th cheapest)
More On Presque Isle: Homes For Sale | 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.

The median income in Presque Isle comes in at $37,036 and the median home value is $108,700 for 2019.

Auburn, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,941
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.8x (5th cheapest)
More On Auburn: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. Auburn and Lewiston are known locally as the Twin Cities or Lewiston-Auburn.

The median income in Auburn comes in at $48,363 and the median home value is $152,400 for 2019.

Calais, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,018
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.0x (18th cheapest)
More On Calais: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Calais comes in at $34,845 and the median home value is $91,600 for 2019.

Belfast, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,680
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 13)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.4x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.3x (1st cheapest)
More On Belfast: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Belfast is a city in Waldo County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 6,668. Located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River estuary on Penobscot Bay, Belfast is the county seat of Waldo County. The seaport has a wealth of antique architecture in several historic districts, and remains popular with tourists.

The median income in Belfast comes in at $59,260 and the median home value is $201,000 for 2019.

Lewiston, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 36,211
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.3x (10th cheapest)
More On Lewiston: Homes For Sale | 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.

The median income in Lewiston comes in at $39,890 and the median home value is $140,600 for 2019.

Waterville, ME

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,374
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.5x (13th cheapest)
More On Waterville: Homes For Sale | 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.

The median income in Waterville comes in at $37,093 and the median home value is $129,500 for 2019.

Augusta, ME

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 18,626
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.8x (9th cheapest)
More On Augusta: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

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

The median income in Augusta comes in at $40,181 and the median home value is $142,600 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Pine Tree State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Maine
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Maine to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 22 places in Maine that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Maine according to the data is Caribou.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Maine Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Maine, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in maine for 2019.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Maine according to the data:

  1. Portland
  2. South Portland
  3. Biddeford

For more Maine reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Maine?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Caribou 3.33 7,827 2.2x 61.3x
2 Gardiner 4.33 5,672 2.9x 70.6x
3 Brewer 6.33 9,167 2.8x 65.3x
4 Presque Isle 6.67 9,246 2.9x 56.5x
5 Auburn 7.33 22,941 3.2x 64.8x
6 Calais 7.33 3,018 2.6x 53.0x
7 Belfast 8.67 6,680 3.4x 74.3x
8 Lewiston 9.33 36,211 3.5x 57.3x
9 Waterville 9.33 16,374 3.5x 55.5x
10 Augusta 9.67 18,626 3.5x 57.8x

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