Maine is known for its long stretch of rock coastline overseeing the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and fishery is obvious when it is the question of coastlines. The state is a paradise for the ones passionate about seafood. Tourists never leave without trying the famous Maine lobsters and clams. Maine also has a whopping 40,000 acres of total area where wild blueberries are grown.
Apart from the 92% English-speaking population, a few households speak French and Spanish too. So an occasional Bonjour shouldn’t come as a surprise. Maine is one of the safest states to live in the US. As it statistically ranks very low and is in the bottom states when it comes to the rate of crime. If you are contemplating moving to Maine, read on for a detailed brief of how you can go about it.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Maine?
Maine sits at the tip of the country’s northeast. It falls in the New England region of the US and is the largest of all the six states that make up New England. New Hampshire sits to its south, and to its northeast and northwest lie the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec. On its southeast runs the coast bordering the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Maine is the 12th smallest state by area and is also one of the country’s least populous states.
Maine has more forest land than open areas with 89% of its area covered by forests, most of which are pine trees. So it’s quite evident where the nickname ‘Pine Tree State’ comes from. Most of this forest land is also classified as timberland due to the wide time harvesting done here. Because of so much forest area, there is less land under urban cover. This is why 98% of Maine is considered rural.
Most of Maine is home to retirees. You should know that cities are the only place with some activity and nightlife for younger generations. Interestingly though, many young people can be seen exploring the hiking trails and forests of Maine. The cities here have a charm of their own too, with Portland having quite the reputation for its funky culture. Ask any local and they’ll all swear by the fact that Bar Harbor is sought after for its summer festivals.
Though the winters are harsh, the season of fall brings Maine to life. You will see the maple and oak trees colored in different hues of red, yellow, and orange. With a coastline longer than California, there is no shortage of beach routes here. When you are not admiring nature, you can visit museums like the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. It’s a welcome thrill to take one of the many beer or winery tours that Maine offers.
Settling in Maine is not difficult at all, thanks to the people here. In case you didn’t know, Maine’s falls on the list of friendliest states in the country. Maybe this sweetness is due to all the blueberry pie they eat, which is the state’s official dessert. There are so many community events that you will feel at home. Annual celebrations are held year after year and people from small and big towns are all a part of such events.
Crime Rate In Maine
Maine saw the lowest crime rate in the US in 2021. There were 1,360 incidents per 100,000. Moreover, the crime rate in Maine has consistently gone down for the last 7 years. The chances of a violent crime are really low as the rate of violent crime is just 1.15. The property crime rate is 12.46 according to NeighborhoodScout. If you were to fall victim to a violent crime the chances are 1 in 868 and if you were to face property crime, the probability is 1 in 80. The safest cities in the state are Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth, Hampden, South Berwick, etc.
Because of a humid continental climate, most parts of Maine experience warm humid summer months. The highest temperature reaches 70°F on average in July, which is the peak of summer here. The water temperatures remain comparatively cool in the summer, a reason why tourists love taking a dip in the ocean. This is also the best time to visit Maine, between June and August. But if you want to avoid the crowds, try going in the spring or fall.
Though geographically Maine has four seasons – Summer, Spring, Fall, and Winter. An old joke about Maine is that there are only 2 seasons – Winter and August. The winters in the state are serious and can get harsh sometimes. Snowfalls in the inland areas are more than snowfall in the coastal areas. While the coastal regions receive around 50 to 70 inches of snow, there is usually 60 to 110 inches of snow inland. It gets way colder in January with the temperature falling to a chilly 13°F during nights. You must also remember that Maine receives an average of 2 tornadoes every year.
Mainers are quite used to such harsh winters. You will see people leaving for work and school buses carrying children even when the roads are covered in snow. But friendly neighbors are ever ready to lend a hand shoveling the snow. Before you move here, remember that bean boots will not help; you need a better alternative to face the snow. You will also see people enjoy many winter activities and snow-focused sports.
Fall in this US state is an absolute wonder to behold. It is like God’s artwork all over Maine because of the wondrous fall foliage. The months of September and October come with a display of colors in the woods. Since there is so much forest land here, you don’t have to travel far to see the splendor. Chances are you might just see trees bathed in beautiful colors right outside your home. But if you do want to experience it closely, you can visit the Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park, or Moosehead Lake.
Is It Expensive To Live In Maine?
Even though the natural abundance of Maine seems inviting, you have to account for your stay. Because enjoying the settling-in experience can be dampened by unplanned expenses. To live comfortably in Maine, a single person needs a minimum salary of $31,043. If you are moving in with the family, you need a household income of $67,416 to afford all necessities.
Cost Of Living In Maine
Though Maine is the 46th most affordable out of the 50 US states, which makes it expensive. It is the cheapest state in the New England region. Living in Maine is relatively cost-effective since the cost of living index is 96.5 which is lower than the national average of 100. It is also chosen by many to settle after retirement. Since every aspect like utilities, transportation and housing are 4% lower than the national average.
The income tax varies between 5.8% to 7.15%. The tax on property here is also well above the US average. The average property tax rate in Maine is 1.30%. Talking about daily expenses, getting a litre of milk will cost you $1.21, a loaf of bread is at $3.51 and if you like eggs, a dozen of them are priced at $2.29. A major medical health insurance cover for your family will be $512 per person.
Buying A House
There is a lot of undeveloped land in Maine. As compared to the populated areas, the land in rural areas is much cheaper. Mortgage rates in the state too are low, average mortgage rates are 2.40%. The average home value for a typical house in Maine will be $292,125. This value is around $30,000 less than the median home value considered as the US average. The home value prices in Maine have gone up by 15% since last year. Neighborhoods of Vanceboro, East Millinocket, Medway, etc have the cheapest homes in the state. The rates of property will rise as you go towards the bigger cities of Maine.
Renting A House
Don’t get confused between a vacation home and a home in the state. Since many tourists visit for a season and rent out a cabin, a cottage, or a mansion. Apart from this, you will find many rental places in the towns and cities. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Portland city will cost you $1,400 every month, whereas a three-bedroom house rent stands at $2,311 according to Numbeo.
The people of Maine spend comparatively less on energy costs. If you take the energy bill of an average Maine household, it will be around $87.21. The average cost of utilities is $120.73 in the main cities of Maine. These utilities include gas, electricity, water, and garbage. But you might have to incur more cost for the heating since winters in Maine are longer. In this day and age, life is incomplete without a good internet connection. And getting unlimited internet in the state will cost you tentatively $69.14.
Maine Economy And Employment Opportunities
The largest sector in Maine’s economy is manufacturing. Maine is the leading producer of forest goods like paper, wood, and lumber products. Naval shipbuilding is also important to the economy because of the presence of huge shipyards like Portsmouth Naval Yard and Bath Iron Works. The ports of Maine also play a significant role in national transportation. Agriculture is an important contributor to Maine’s income. With 60% agricultural revenue coming from livestock and 40% from crops.
The main exports include seafood, fuel, aircraft parts, electric machinery, and forest products. All these exports were valued at $1.5 billion in 2019. The largest and most consistent trading partner of Maine is Canada. Finance, real estate, insurance, and leasing is also a large industry in the state and contributes 21% to Maine’s growth.
Before we come to the largest employers of Maine, let’s talk about the economic powerhouse of the state. The culinary icon and the one factor that employs thousands of Mainers. You guessed it right, lobsters. Every year, the Maine lobster contributes a grand $1 billion to the state’s economy. To add to it, this doesn’t limit to the actual creature, lobster print bags and T-shirts too are quite popular. So it’s not just the fishermen and restaurants benefitting from the lobsters.
The most common jobs in Maine are Logging equipment operators, Highway maintenance workers, Photographic process workers, Lodging managers, and so on. The better-paying jobs in the state are that of Physician assistants who earn $78,183 on average and real estate brokers who earn $93,340. Medical practitioners and surgeons earn the highest in the state with incomes crossing $150,000.
The biggest employer in the state is the Army National Guard with 7,000 employees. L.L.Bean and the University of Maine System are also large employers in the state. Small and medium-sized businesses also do their bit towards the state’s growth. There are almost a dozen development centers for small enterprises in Maine, which are dedicated to develop and retain small businesses in the state.
All the public education in the state is administered by the Maine Department of Education. The presence of private schools is less common in the state. Maine invests more money per student and has a smaller class size than the average class size in the US. This could be a reason why education in Maine has brought about positive results.
Maine School of Science & Mathematics, Cape Elizabeth High School, Yarmouth High School, and Falmouth High School are some of the best public schools in Maine. The cities of Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth have a concentration of many top-ranked schools. When it comes to university education, Portland has the most number of colleges. This city is also ranked as the best college town in Maine.
There are a total of 29 colleges and universities in Maine. The largest out of this is the University of Maine which has more than 12,000 students studying there. This university is also the most competitive to get into. The three colleges that form the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium are ranked among the best colleges in the country. They also come under the top 10 percent in liberal arts colleges in the US.
Getting Around Maine
There are airports in the cities of Portland and Bangor. You will easily find major airlines with flights going to New York, Orlando, and Atlanta from both these airports. There are many smaller airports scattered around Maine which are used for general aviation and commercial activities. Regional airports like Augusta State Airport, Knox County Regional Airport, and Hancock County–Bar Harbor Airport provide services to travel within the state.
One Amtrak rail route called the Downeaster connects Maine to New Hampshire and Boston. There are passenger trains that connect some cities and towns in Maine; the state’s passenger rail service ends in the town of Brunswick. Although, only 19 cities in the state are connected through trains. So you should choose where you stay wisely. Getting a ticket along the top routes will cost you $113.00 on average, which can seem a tad bit higher. Understandably so, considering there is very little public transport in Maine apart from the Amtrak Downeaster.
Because of the fewer options of public transit in the state, Mainers rely on their cars to travel. There are many federal and state highways in Maine. If you prefer to hop on a bus, there are 20 bus service providers in Maine. An average ticket on a top bus route will cost you $40. But most of the buses are concentrated in the cities. Portland is better connected through public transport, there are metros in the city apart from buses and trains. You will also find taxis and Uber in the state.
Best Cities To Live In Maine
Portland is the right choice if you are looking for a place that has all the urban amenities and still has access to the woods. Exploring around the city, you will find many bakeries, restaurants, bars, and concert venues. You can even breathe in the grand outdoor without leaving the city, like the widespread Deering Oaks Park. Falls are especially the perfect time to be in the park, with a farmer’s market taking place every Saturday. Portland is also considered one of the best cities in the US to retire, a result of the lower cost of living and numerous outdoor activities. Well-connected public transport systems and lower unemployment rates make the younger generation choose Portland as an ideal place to settle.
- Median Home value: $415,857
- Median Home rent: $1,594
- Unemployment rate: 4.3%
See Also: Moving to Portland Maine
With a safe environment, a great school system, and lots of outdoor activities, Bangor is one of the best cities to settle in Maine. The city is high on educational opportunities, especially with the University of Maine at a close distance. The neighborhoods of Bangor are welcoming, because of their open-minded and friendly residents. Bangor is called Maine’s Queen City of the East because of its location and magnificent residential properties. It is a small city nestled along the Penobscot River, with a population of just 32,000. Because of the presence of educational institutions, Bangor has a very youthful and bohemian vibe. Though housing is expensive in the city, there are many opportunities because of the growth of the service sector.
- Median Home value: $192,222
- Median Home rent: $1,021
- Unemployment rate: 4.2%
The quaint city on the bank of the Kennebec River is a treasure for art and culture geeks. The cost of living in Waterville is relatively lower. Many part-time and full-time students choose to live in the city because of Colby College and Thomas College. There is so much to experience in this city that you will seldom find yourself out of options to explore. People flock to the Waterville brewing company, Opera house, and the Railroad Square Cinema. Nature enthusiasts never miss an opportunity to go hiking along the Quarry Road Trails. You won’t fall short of amenities in Waterville as there is Walmart and Home Depot towards the north of the city. You don’t have to worry about healthcare either because of the presence of Northern Light Inland Hospital and Mount St. Joseph Nursing Home.
- Median Home value: $153,779
- Median Home rent: $750
- Unemployment rate: 5.3%
Is It A Good Idea To Move To Maine?
Apart from Maine’s economy and opportunities, living there should feel safer and homely. The high quality of life, its neighborhoods, and its people make Maine pass those checks. The lower cost of living and the cheaper homes as one goes away from the coastline make many choose the state over others. If you’re a retiree, Maine could definitely be a viable option to relocate to.
The historic cities and the scenic towns make Maine a plethora of wonders. Though the winters are long and harsh, you will find all winter ache gone when autumn arrives. There is a special corner in every Mainer’s heart for cats, and there is a state-wide ban on killing animals. A place where people and animals live in harmony can never be a bad place to move to. Maine values its people, which can be seen in its high wages and lower unemployment rates. So depending on your career goals, the industry you’re a part of and your tolerance for cold winters, moving to Maine could be a good idea for you.