The 10 Best Places To Live In Maine For 2024

The best places to live in Maine for 2024 are South Portland, Westbrook, and Saco. Find out where your city or town ranks.

Imagine kayaking Kennebunkport’s Tidal River, watching a moose cross the road in Portage Lake, or having a lobster roll in Bar Harbor.

If any of those activities piqued your interest, consider moving to one of Maine’s best places.

We created a list of the top ten best places to live in Maine for 2024. We used Saturday Night Science to compare the cold hard data for home prices, incomes, and crime rates, among many other factors, to determine the best Maine offers.

The gold-star quality of life in Maine comes with a price. You’ll need to find a good job, but that should be easy, considering Maine’s solid economy.

You’ll also have to brace yourself for the 100 inches of snow yearly.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In Maine For 2024

  1. South Portland
  2. Westbrook
  3. Saco
  4. Hallowell
  5. Portland
  6. Belfast
  7. Brewer
  8. Caribou
  9. Bath
  10. Bangor

What’s the best place to live in Maine? The best place to live in Maine is South Portland, according to the most recent data.

Grab a Moxie, tie up your L.L. Bean duck boots, find a quiet spot by the bay, and read on to see Maine’s other best places to live.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Maine For 2024

Best Places To Live In Maine Map

South Portland, ME

Source: Wikipedia User BMRR | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat South Portland Maine
Population 26,656 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $481,844 $386,587
Median Income $82,489 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 2.9% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0201 0.0125

More on South Portland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

If you want the best of the best that Maine has to offer, look no further than South Portland. The gorgeous coastal walk along the Spring Point Shoreway, the classic New England lighthouse at Bug Light Park, and the small sand and pebble Willard Beach all scream quintessential Maine. And that’s not even getting into the awesomeness of a year-round farmer’s market and easy access to Maine’s most popular mall.

As for the statistical side of things, South Portland shines in every aspect. The lowest poverty level in Maine, a crime rate a quarter of the national average, and one of the greatest rates of health insurance coverage statewide all signal a city that’s got everything under control. The title of 2nd most densely populated city in Maine also means you’ll never be bored in South Portland. If the political affiliation of your neighbors is important to you, you might also make a note that South Portland is the most liberal city in Maine

There is a small hitch here, though. South Portland is one of the pricier cities that Maine has to offer, so be sure to move with some savings or ensure that your household will be able to bring around $82,489/year. When you’re paying the 2nd most for homes in Maine, every penny counts. Rent in South Portland goes for a median price of $1,607/month, which is also the most expensive of anywhere on this list. The good news is that while the cost of living in South Portland is slightly higher than Maine, it’s almost entirely due to the higher housing costs.

Westbrook, ME

Source: Wikipedia User Kenenth C. Zirkel | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Westbrook Maine
Population 20,339 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $427,855 $386,587
Median Income $81,198 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 2.9% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0125 0.0125

More on Westbrook: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Westbrook is a top-notch suburb of Portland whose growing business base is making it more and more a distinct city in its own right. As a designated Main Street community, you won’t find many big-name corporations in Westbrook; shopping locally is definitely part of the ethos here. Catching a concert at the Waterfront Rock Row venue is a great thing to do on weekends, without the hassle of finding parking at venues in Portland. If your goal is just getting out in nature, the Westbrook Riverwalk along the Presumpscot River is easily accessible. Mill Brook Preserve’s five miles of trails is another good option if you don’t mind driving a few miles to get there.

Housing in Westbrook is about 15% more expensive than the Maine average, with the 5th priciest homes statewide at around $427,855 and rentals going for around $1,302/month. But those higher prices reflect the demand for what Westbrook offers: safe streets, stellar schools, and a solid job market.

If you are making the move to Westbrook, we recommend doing it fast; the secret is out and Westbrook is now Maine’s fastest-growing city, adding roughly 6% to its ranks since 2010.

Saco, ME

Source: Wikipedia User Josh and Melanie Rosenthal | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Saco Maine
Population 20,446 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $473,741 $386,587
Median Income $81,326 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 1.1% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0170 0.0125

More on Saco: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Saco is located between Biddeford to the west and seven miles of sandy ocean beaches to the east. Ferry Beach State Park is the most popular of those beaches for locals and visitors alike. If the kids find beaches too boring, you can crank the entertainment levels up to 11 at Funtown Splashtown USA, Maine’s largest water and amusement park. Following that with some ice cream and a movie at the historic Saco Drive-In is sure to make for one of the most wholesome days of your life.

Saco has an unemployment rate of 1.1% and a poverty rate of 8.0%, both of which rank as the 2nd best in Maine. The crime rate in Saco is the 8th lowest in Maine, so you won’t have to worry about criminal activity nearly as much as your neighbors in Biddeford. We just hope you’re ready to rub elbows with the 1%, because Saco has the distinction of being the richest city in Maine. Residents of Saco enjoy a median household income of $81,326/year, the 2nd highest in Maine. Word to the wise, though; these great amenities and big paychecks come with housing costs that outstrip your average city in Maine by about 30%.

Hallowell, ME

Source: Wikipedia User Magicpiano | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Hallowell Maine
Population 2,558 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $341,802 $386,587
Median Income $62,990 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 0.9% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0070 0.0125

More on Hallowell: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Hallowell is a small city of 2,558 situated south of Augusta on the banks of the Kennebeck River. Though small in size, Hallowell is big on charm, as anyone who spends some time admiring the city’s 19th-century architecture will quickly learn. Water Street is the city’s main hub of restaurants, shopping, antiques, and old-fashioned candy shops. It’s also home to a lot of artistic activity, between local productions at the Gaslight Theater, art events at the Harlow Gallery, and even clayworks classes for the aspiring novice. And if you’d rather enjoy Maine’s natural beauty, just head over to Vaughan Woods, affectionately nicknamed Hobbit Land.

Hallowell’s home to some great schools that have achieved the 8th lowest high school dropout rate in the state. That love of learning seems to carry over later in life because over half of Hallowell’s adult population has a college degree, and about 20% have a master’s degree or higher. This helps explain Hallowell’s status of the 7th best-paid place in Maine, with a median household income of $62,990/year. And it’s not like Hallowell’s elites are leaving their neighbors in the dust either; the city has a poverty rate of just 11.8%, the 6th lowest in the state. Smart, cultured individuals without financial troubles rarely see the need to go around committing crimes, so it makes sense that Hallowell also had the 3rd lowest crime rate in all of Maine.

Portland, ME

Source: Wikipedia User Bd2media | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Portland Maine
Population 68,280 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $524,544 $386,587
Median Income $71,498 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 4.0% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0187 0.0125

More on Portland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Augusta may be Maine’s capital, but Maine’s biggest city, Portland, is the real economic and cultural hub of the state. With a heady mix of artistic expression and outdoor adventures, Portland is the perfect balance of style, sophistication, and sincerity. Just be sure to stock up on flannels if you want to fit in here. Downtown Portland is a vibrant and dynamic place that’s just as much fun after 10 years as it is when you first move. Beer-lovers will enjoy seeing how the magic happens at Allagash, while the artsy crowd will be delighted by the ever-changing exhibits at the Portland Museum of Art. The cobblestone streets lined with locally-owned shops and restaurants in the historic Old Port neighborhood are downright delightful, both aesthetically and economically. The walking trails and pristine outdoor spaces of Back Cove neighborhood are probably more tempting for you joggers and cyclists out there. Or if you prefer a quieter neighborhood rich in grandeur, the stately West End ought to suit you just fine.

Portland is the youngest city to make this list, with a median age of just 37. That and all the above-mentioned amenities work together to make Portland the best city for singles in Maine. It’s also a smart city, where about half the population has a college degree and one-fifth of residents have a master’s, PhD, or professional degree to boot. That explains why the city also has the 4th best-paid residents, with your average household bringing in about $71,498/year. And everyone gets in on the good times in Portland because the unemployment rate is the 8th lowest in the state at 4.0%.

There are a few negatives that keep Portland from a higher position on this list. The crime rate is slightly higher than the national average, but if you stick to the right neighborhoods, you should be able to avoid that hassle. Of course, sticking to the right neighborhoods isn’t cheap; home prices in Portland are the most expensive statewide, with a median price of $524,544. That and a high median rent of $1,377/month work to make Portland the most expensive place in Maine, with a cost of living 15% higher than the national average.

Belfast, ME

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Belfast Maine
Population 6,953 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 10
Median Home Value $360,086 $386,587
Median Income $53,925 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 4.1% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0063 0.0125

More on Belfast: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located about an hour south of Bangor at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River estuary on Belfast Bay, Belfast ranks as the 6th best place to live in Maine. While Portland is the place to be for young folks, Belfast’s slow-paced, relaxed atmosphere reflects its higher median age of 60.

Belfast’s busiest downtown block ends at picturesque Belfast Harborwalk, recently-renovated for easier pedestrian access. The Belfast City Park is another point of pride for residents. And just because winter lasts longer in Maine, doesn’t mean you have to go without fresh fruit and veg; not with a local farmer’s market that operates year-round.

Belfast residents enjoy the 13th highest median household income in Maine at $53,925/year. If you’re older and have plenty of money, there’s no point in committing a crime. That plays out in Belfast, where the crime rate is the lowest in the state and is about 45% less frequent than the national average. Belfast’s only downside is a relatively high unemployment rate of 4.1%, but that’s easily remedied by locking down a job before you make the move.

Brewer, ME

Source: Wikipedia User P199 | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Brewer Maine
Population 9,633 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 12
Median Home Value $268,716 $386,587
Median Income $55,870 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 2.7% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0227 0.0125

More on Brewer: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Brewer is a city of 9,633 located across the Penobscot River from Bangor. We named Brewer one of the most affordable places in Maine, so if you’re looking for quality on a budget, Brewer might be your best bet. The median rent in Brewer is just $970/month and homes go for around $268,716, the cheapest you’ll find anywhere on this list. And with folks earning the 11th highest median household income in the state, there’s plenty left in your bank account after housing’s been paid for.

You should find it quite easy to get situated in Brewer because the poverty and unemployment rate both rank as the 5th lowest in Maine at 15.8% and 2.7% respectively. If you’re part of the mega-majority of employed residents, you also get the nice perk of having the 5th shortest commute time in the state at just 16 minutes.

There’s no shortage of activity in Brewer either. As the name might suggest, it’s home to a very popular local craft brewery, Geaghan’s, which has a tasting room in Brewer and a full pub in next-door Bangor. If you walk along the Penobscot River Walkway and decide to cross over into Bangor, Stephen King’s House is a must-visit; it’s just as eerily off-putting as the settings of his stories. There are even tours that will bring you to about 30 nearby locations that inspired King’s work.

Caribou, ME

Source: Public domain
Stat Caribou Maine
Population 7,454 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 9
Median Home Value $156,013 $386,587
Median Income $47,803 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 2.0% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0066 0.0125

More on Caribou: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Caribou, ranked as the number 8 best place to live in Maine, is a hidden gem known for its low cost of living and abundance of outdoor activities. Nestled in Aroostook County, Caribou offers a tight-knit community feel while providing easy access to essential amenities.

Caribou enjoys a wide range of recreational opportunities, with nearby attractions, including the Caribou Ski Area, offering excellent skiing and snowboarding trails during the winter. During the summer, you can explore the vast network of hiking and biking trails in the surrounding area, immersing yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Maine.

Bath, ME

Source: Wikipedia User FlickreviewR 2 | CC BY 2.0
Stat Bath Maine
Population 8,775 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $335,573 $386,587
Median Income $63,023 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 5.2% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0091 0.0125

More on Bath: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located about 40 minutes northeast of Portland, Bath comes in as the 9th best place to call home in Maine. If you’re new in town, we recommend visiting the Maine Maritime Museum to learn more about Maine’s heritage and culture. Tourists flock from all over to admire the 19th century architecture and local shops in downtown Bath. And if you’re looking for reasons why we named Bath one of Maine’s best family cities, look no further than the constant events going on at the Chocolate Church Art Center. A bonus reason would be the strong 8.5/10 education score we gave Bath on our SnackAbility scale.

Housing costs in Bath are roughly 5% lower than the statewide average, with rent costing about $934/month, about half the average rent in Maine and homes going for a median price of $335,573. You won’t have to worry about getting the bills paid in Bath, because the unemployment rate is just 5.2%, the 14th lowest in Maine. Of course, that helps cut down on crime and poverty, both of which rank in the top ten statewide.

Bangor, ME

Source: Public domain
Stat Bangor Maine
Population 31,705 1,366,949
Rank Last Year 14
Median Home Value $255,801 $386,587
Median Income $52,438 $68,251
Unemployment Rate 4.5% 4.0%
Crime Per Capita 0.0505 0.0125

More on Bangor: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Bangor, Maine, with a population of 31,705, ranks as the 10th best place in Maine for 2024. An absolute banger of a job.

The city’s home prices come in at $255,801 for buyers and $930 for renters, supported by a strong job market indicated by an 4.5& unemployment rate and enhanced by a short average 16 minute commute.

The city maintains low crime rates with only 0.0016 violent crimes per capita. With the Penobscot River providing natural splendor and outdoor activities, Bangor encapsulates everything to love about living in Maine.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Maine

Best Places To Live In Maine Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Maine, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Augusta, with a population of 18,938, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 2,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This filter left 20 cities, 72 towns, and 26 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Maine have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Maine

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

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, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Maine.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking Maine’s best places to live.

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 South Portland at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Summary: The Best Places 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.

The best places to live in Maine are South Portland, Westbrook, Saco, Hallowell, Portland, Belfast, Brewer, Caribou, Bath, and Bangor.

South Portland made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Maine for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Maine according to the data:

  1. Calais (Pop. 3,078)
  2. Waterville (Pop. 15,785)
  3. Augusta (Pop. 18,938)

For more Maine reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In Maine Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 South Portland 26,656 2.9% $481,844 $82,489 $1,607 0.0201
2 Westbrook 20,339 2.9% $427,855 $81,198 $1,302 0.0125
3 Saco 20,446 1.1% $473,741 $81,326 $1,288 0.0170
4 Hallowell 2,558 0.9% $341,802 $62,990 $835 0.0070
5 Portland 68,280 4.0% $524,544 $71,498 $1,377 0.0187
6 Belfast 6,953 4.1% $360,086 $53,925 $902 0.0063
7 Brewer 9,633 2.7% $268,716 $55,870 $970 0.0227
8 Caribou 7,454 2.0% $156,013 $47,803 $636 0.0066
9 Bath 8,775 5.2% $335,573 $63,023 $934 0.0091
10 Bangor 31,705 4.5% $255,801 $52,438 $930 0.0505
11 Biddeford 22,438 4.7% $454,915 $63,261 $1,102 0.0323
12 Ellsworth 8,478 2.2% $338,561 $61,233 $885 0.0373
13 Rockland 6,986 6.5% $331,919 $52,212 $948 0.0236
14 Gardiner 5,994 10.2% $276,768 $57,329 $872 0.0093
15 Presque Isle 8,772 4.1% $169,472 $52,109 $812 0.0261
16 Auburn 24,038 6.5% $295,326 $59,659 $926 0.0276
17 Lewiston 37,577 5.6% $280,354 $54,317 $903 0.0213
18 Calais 3,078 9.8% $147,593 $45,250 $698 0.0117
19 Waterville 15,785 4.5% $230,270 $45,208 $883 0.0455
20 Augusta 18,938 7.7% $265,601 $45,006 $865 0.0434

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.