Where are the best places in the state of Maine?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Pine Tree State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Maine.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 20 places in Maine, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Brewer (Photos)
- South Portland (Photos)
- Saco (Photos)
- Bath (Photos)
- Rockland (Photos)
- Portland (Photos)
- Westbrook (Photos)
- Caribou (Photos)
- Gardiner (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Maine.
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Augusta with a population of 18,691 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 2,400
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,400
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 20 cities, 72 towns, and 27 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 2,400 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Maine
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Maine across a number of criteria from one to 20, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Maine”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Maine.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Brewer at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Population: 9,284Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $160,800 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (3rd best)
Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in Brewer. Statistically the 7th safest place in the state, there were only 1 violent crimes in the entire city last year.
It’s really beautiful in Brewer, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $56,128 a year, and homes are valued at more than $160,800.
What else could you possibly want if you’re someone who likes the the good things in life?
2. South Portland
Population: 25,397Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Values: $229,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (12th best)
Who doesn’t want to live inSouth Portland? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 6.2%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of South Portland in the news in the coming months.
Population: 2,427Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $198,900 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (11th best)
The Hallowell has the 11th lowest unemployment rate in Maine. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Hallowell is higher than the national average and households make $54,219 per year.
We’d move to Hallowell if we could in a heart beat.
Population: 19,008Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Values: $232,200 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (1st best)
Let’s take a look at why Saco is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in Saco, and the residents here are gainfully employed (2.8% unemployment rate).
You can make Saco your home for only $232,200 which won’t be too hard on a $59,740 household salary.
Population: 8,334Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Values: $164,600 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (4th best)
Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, Bath ranked highly for adjusted median income (11th), crime (10th), and unemployment (4th).
With a population of 8,334 it was one of the smaller in the top ten and its government website actually goes to pains to say that it’s a “community though not a city”.
But don’t listen to what they say people of Bath, you can be anything you want.
Population: 7,220Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Values: $158,600 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (14th best)
Rockland has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Maine. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Rockland is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home pricese. Additionally, the commute time for Rockland residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Population: 66,649Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $248,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (8th best)
Portland comes in 7th in our best places to live in Maine analysis.
Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (8th overall) and crime rate (13th overall), Portland is the exact kind of place you’d want to live with a family.
Several large companies call the surrounding area home which should keep Portland in our lists for years to come.
Population: 17,969Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $204,300 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (12th best)
With the unemployment rate being the 12th lowest in Maine and very stable household median incomes, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live in Westbrook.
Plus, the crime rate is the 11th lowest in the state!
Population: 7,902Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Values: $88,900 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (2nd best)
Caribou ranks 9th on our list of best places to live in Maine thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Maine that we examined.
People have been flocking to Caribou over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
Population: 5,670Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $132,600 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (8th best)
If you don’t have a job in Gardiner, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 5.7%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $49,569.
That’s actually not a bad idea…
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In Maine
If you’re looking at areas in Maine with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Brewer made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Maine
- Falmouth Foreside (Pop. 1,637)
- Cumberland Center (Pop. 2,475)
- Falmouth (Pop. 2,018)
- Hampden (Pop. 3,727)
- Berwick (Pop. 2,329)
- York Harbor (Pop. 2,885)
- Boothbay Harbor (Pop. 1,000)
- Kittery Point (Pop. 1,078)
- Freeport (Pop. 1,527)
- Kennebunkport (Pop. 1,089)
Best Small Towns To Live In Maine
- Littlejohn Island (Pop. 95)
- Cousins Island (Pop. 659)
- Newcastle (Pop. 625)
- Castine (Pop. 899)
- Standish (Pop. 457)
- Southwest Harbor (Pop. 850)
- Naples (Pop. 532)
- Brunswick Station (Pop. 548)
- Alfred (Pop. 755)
- Woodland (Pop. 939)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Maine:
- Augusta (Pop. 18,691)
- Bangor (Pop. 32,491)
- Waterville (Pop. 16,134)
For more Maine reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Drunkest Cities In Maine
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Maine
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Maine
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Maine