These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Maine For 2019


We used science to determine which cities in the Pine Tree State are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the worst places to live in Maine.

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You have to have a certain mindset to want to live in Maine.

It’s not an easy life for most of the year. But if you ask people who live there, they are fiercely protective of their state. After all, Maine is one of the most beautiful states in America. They stick together up there, and would probably rather flatlandahs stay right where they are.

But is it all great in The Pine Tree State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Maine has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in Maine are the least desirable to live in.

Of course, many of the cities on this list would rank highly if they were in other states. But nonetheless, according to science, these cities are the worst places you could possibly live if you make Maine your home.

After analyzing 20 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,500 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Maine:

  1. Augusta (Photos)
  2. Lewiston (Photos)
  3. Calais (Photos)
  4. Biddeford (Photos)
  5. Bangor (Photos)
  6. Ellsworth (Photos)
  7. Waterville (Photos)
  8. Auburn (Photos)
  9. Gardiner (Photos)
  10. Presque Isle (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Maine? That would be Augusta.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Maine reading, check out:

How we determined the worst places to live in Maine for 2019

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 2,000 people were considered — leaving 20 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 20 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in Maine — Augusta. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Maine.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Augusta, ME

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 18,626
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $142,600 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (4th worst)
More on Augusta:  Data | Photos

This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Augusta is the 5th most dangerous city in Maine. For such a small city, there are an astounding number of property crimes. Residents here have a 1 in 33.4 chance of being the victim of some sort of robbery when within city limits every year. That’s lots of stolen cell phones, guns, snowmobiles and lobster traps.

Besides the crime, there are a few other factors why Augusta might be one of the worst places to live. The home values here are pretty cheap. Why is that not a good thing? Because the salaries of people working in Augusta are really low. People here earn about $40,181 a year per household.

Additionally, the public schools in Augusta are some of the lowest funded in the state.

When all is said and done, you could find much more desirable places to live in Maine than in Augusta.

Review Of Augusta by Night Star

So I live in Maine myself, and Augusta actually isn’t that bad, I lived there once and it’s a pretty nice place, not saying that it is perfect or isn’t the worst, but you give it a much worse rap than it should get, you make it sound like a ghetto town, which, i’ll be honest, it ain’t. I would recommend spending a fair amount of time in each city on this list, then remake it, and I would say 1 month is a good amount of time for each city. And like everyone else is saying, your videos repeat the same sentences. (PS, I wouldn’t consider Waterville a ‘city’ for the life of me’) Not trying to hate, just saying that you should try to spend time in these cities before saying how bad they really are.

Lewiston, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 36,211
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $140,600 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (8th worst)
More on Lewiston:  Data | Photos

The main problem with Lewiston is with the public schools. If you value a good education for your kids, then Lewiston isn’t your place. The student expenditure rate is the lowest in the state of Maine here, and overall, education spending and teacher support combined are the 4th lowest in the state.

Crime, property values and the overall general economy are all far below state averages as well.

Calais, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,018
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $91,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (9th worst)
More on Calais:  Data | Photos

If you live in Calais, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 3rd worst place to live in the state.

You’ve got the 9th highest crime rate in Maine, which saw 5 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 37.7 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 603 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Calais.

Plus, folks are simply out of work. Calais sports the state’s 9th highest unemployment rate (5.5%), and families bring in a combined $34,845 a year, which is far below the state average.

No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $91,600.

Biddeford, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 21,413
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $211,800 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (10th worst)
More on Biddeford:  Data | Photos

Biddeford, ME needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 5.4%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 3rd highest in the state. You have a 1 in 29.5 chance of being robbed here every year.

You could find a much better place to call home.

Bangor, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 32,237
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $150,100 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (3rd worst)
More on Bangor:  Data | Photos

Say what you want about how beautiful Bangor might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.

The unemployment rate rankss 3rd highest in the state at 7.4%. Homes are the 8th lowest priced ($150,100), and the median income per household is just a tad over $40,071.

The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.

Ellsworth, ME

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,916
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $181,200 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (12th worst)
More on Ellsworth:  Data | Photos

Ellsworth places 6th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Maine.

You can imagine it’s a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.

Homes are the 13th cheapest in the state, and at $181,200, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (5.2%) is the 12th highest in Maine, and income levels are far below the state average. And 11.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Would you have guessed that the area around Ellsworth has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in Maine?

Waterville, ME

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 16,374
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $129,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.3% (1st worst)
More on Waterville:  Data | Photos

You might be surprised to hear that Waterville has the 7th highest crime rate in Maine. People who live here have a 1 in 20 chance of being robbed. That means if you live here, and you didn’t have something stolen from you, someone on your block probably did.

The schools in Waterville are very poorly funded, and the homes here are very cheap, which is a sign of demand. There are no ‘bargains’ here. Unless you want to buy a cheap house and turn it into a moose lodge

Just don’t leave the door unlocked.

Auburn, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,941
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $152,400 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (18th worst)
More on Auburn:  Data | Photos

Welcome to Auburn, where criminals go to make a living. Auburn has the 6th highest crime rate in the state. When you’re within Auburn city limits, you have a 1 in 32.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime such as a car break in or home invasion robbery every year.

Plus, there were 40 violent crimes here in 2019. For a city of 22,941 people, that’s absolutely off the charts high. You have a 1 in 573 chance of being raped, attacked or killed when you’re in Auburn every year as well.

Gardiner, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,672
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $137,400 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (7th worst)
More on Gardiner:  Data | Photos

Located on your way to somewhere else you’d want to be, Gardiner has few options for some sort of entertainment.

The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (5.7%) and homes are the 5th cheapest in the state ($137,400).

Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s absolutely no demand to live in Gardiner.

Presque Isle, ME

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,246
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $108,700 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (17th worst)
More on Presque Isle:  Data | Photos

Just south of Caribou is Presque Isle. Things are a tad bit better economically, but the crime rate in Presque Isle is noticeably higher. Residents have a 1 in 58 chance of being robbed. At least that’s what it was back in 2019. Hopefully things have improved here

Incidentally, when we said Augusta was the most dangerous earlier, Portland isn’t too far behind. Every year, you have a 1 in 25 chance of being robbed when you’re within Portland city limits.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Maine

If you’re looking at areas in Maine with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Augusta ranks as the worst city to live in Maine for 2019.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Maine:

  1. Belfast (Pop. 6,680)
  2. South Portland (Pop. 25,431)
  3. Hallowell (Pop. 2,453)

For more Maine reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Maine

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Augusta 18,626 7.3% $142,600
2 Lewiston 36,211 5.6% $140,600
3 Calais 3,018 5.5% $91,600
4 Biddeford 21,413 5.4% $211,800
5 Bangor 32,237 7.4% $150,100
6 Ellsworth 7,916 5.2% $181,200
7 Waterville 16,374 8.3% $129,500
8 Auburn 22,941 4.4% $152,400
9 Gardiner 5,672 5.7% $137,400
10 Presque Isle 9,246 4.6% $108,700
11 Caribou 7,827 5.0% $89,400
12 Rockland 7,204 6.6% $164,200
13 Portland 66,715 4.8% $261,100
14 Brewer 9,167 5.1% $159,900
15 Westbrook 18,156 5.4% $216,400
16 Saco 19,127 4.0% $228,700
17 Bath 8,314 3.1% $166,900
18 Belfast 6,680 7.8% $201,000
19 South Portland 25,431 6.1% $235,700
20 Hallowell 2,453 5.1% $197,900

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