These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Maine For 2018

We analyzed the cities and towns in Maine to determine which ones are at the bottom of the income ladder.

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Maine brings to mind images of Augusta, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Maine has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Maine that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 21 places in Maine with more than 2,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Pine Tree State for 2018:

  1. Waterville (Photos)
  2. Old Town (Photos)
  3. Bangor (Photos)
  4. Belfast (Photos)
  5. Lewiston (Photos)
  6. Augusta (Photos)
  7. Presque Isle (Photos)
  8. Calais (Photos)
  9. Rockland (Photos)
  10. Caribou (Photos)

Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.

And according to the facts, Waterville is the poorest place in Maine for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Maine or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In Maine For 2018

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘poorest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The ‘median household income adjusted for the cost of living’ attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 21 places with more than 2,000 people in Maine, we ranked each place from 1 to 21 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Poor Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Waterville, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In Maine For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 21 places.

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1. Waterville

Waterville, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 16,134
Median Income: $32,403
Unemployment Rate: 11.5%
Poverty Rate: 24.0%
Waterville, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Maine thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 16,134 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Maine and the 3rd highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

2. Old Town

Old Town, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,655
Median Income: $35,385
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Poverty Rate: 27.0%
The second poorest city in Maine is Old Town.

The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 3rd highest in the Pine Tree State.

3. Bangor

Bangor, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,491
Median Income: $37,987
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
Poverty Rate: 25.1%
Placing as the third poorest city, Bangor’s median income ranks as the 6th lowest.

And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 25.1% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Pine Tree State.

4. Belfast

Belfast, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,641
Median Income: $40,625
Unemployment Rate: 9.8%
Poverty Rate: 22.6%
Belfast ranks as the fourth poorest place in Maine.

The town ranks as having the 9th lowest median household income and the 4th highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

5. Lewiston

Lewiston, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 36,277
Median Income: $38,199
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Poverty Rate: 22.2%
The fifth poorest city in Maine is Lewiston.

The city ranks as having the 7th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 5th highest in Maine.

Still not the best news for Lewiston.

6. Augusta

Augusta, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,691
Median Income: $40,555
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Poverty Rate: 21.8%
Augusta ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Pine Tree State.

It ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and the 5th highest unemployment rate.

7. Presque Isle

Presque Isle, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,298
Median Income: $36,789
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Poverty Rate: 22.2%
Presque Isle places as the seventh poorest city in Maine.

The city of over 9,298 ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Calais

Calais, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,018
Median Income: $32,885
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Poverty Rate: 20.7%
Calais ranks as the eighth poorest city in Maine.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 17th highest in the state.

9. Rockland

Rockland, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,220
Median Income: $40,987
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Poverty Rate: 13.7%
Rockland couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Maine; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 10th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Rockland ranks as having the 16th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Maine.

10. Caribou

Caribou, Maine

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,902
Median Income: $35,635
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 18.3%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Maine is Caribou.

The city of 7,902 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Pine Tree State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Maine For 2018

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Maine, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Maine.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Maine, according to data:

Richest: Saco
2nd Richest: Brewer
3rd Richest: Hallowell

For more Maine reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Safest Places In Maine
  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Maine
  • These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Maine
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In Maine

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Waterville 1 24.0%
    Old Town 2 27.0%
    Bangor 3 25.1%
    Belfast 4 22.6%
    Lewiston 5 22.2%
    Augusta 6 21.8%
    Presque Isle 7 22.2%
    Calais 8 20.7%
    Rockland 9 13.7%
    Caribou 10 18.3%
    Westbrook 11 17.4%
    Bath 12 19.9%
    Biddeford 13 18.1%
    Portland 14 19.2%
    Gardiner 15 19.8%
    Ellsworth 16 12.6%
    Auburn 17 14.8%
    South Portland 18 12.3%
    Hallowell 19 10.2%
    Brewer 20 7.5%
    Saco 21 7.6%

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