Like all states, Maine has certain places that are going on hard times. These Maine places have an above-average percentage of people living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.
Even as the economy continues to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the places in each state struggling to make ends meet. So we set our sites on locating the poorest places in Maine.
To do so, we used Saturday Night Science to analyze the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 21 cities in Maine with more than 2,000 people.
What’s the poorest city in Maine? According to the facts, Waterville is the poorest place in Maine for 2023.
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.
For more Maine reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Maine
- Cheapest Places To Live In Maine
- Most Dangerous Cities In Maine
- The poorest states in the US
- The poorest cities in the US
The 10 Poorest Cities In Maine For 2023
Waterville, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Maine thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 15,872 people averages the 3rd lowest median household income in Maine and the 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.
The second poorest city in Maine is Augusta.
The city ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty and 2nd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 3rd highest in the Pine Tree State.
Placing as the third poorest city, Calais’s median income ranks as the 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 18.702814001372683% 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.
Old Town ranks as the fourth poorest place in Maine.
The town ranks as having the 4th lowest median household income and the 2nd 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.
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 6th highest in Maine.
Still not the best news for Lewiston.
Presque Isle ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Pine Tree State.
It ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty and the 11th highest unemployment rate.
Bangor places as the seventh poorest city in Maine.
The city of over 31,920 ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.
Belfast ranks as the eighth poorest city in Maine.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 4th highest in the state.
Caribou couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Maine; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 5th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Caribou ranks as having the 11th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Maine.
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Maine is Rockland.
The city of 6,977 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Pine Tree State.
Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Maine for 2023
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 used Saturday Night Science to look at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
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 2023”.
This report has been updated for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Maine.
Summary: The Poorest Cities In Maine For 2023
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: South Portland
2nd Richest: Saco
3rd Richest: Westbrook
For more Maine reading, check out:
- Richest Cities In Maine
- Safest Places In Maine
- Worst Places To Live In Maine
- Most Expensive Places To Live In Maine
Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Maine
|Rank||City||Population||Poverty Rate||Median Income||People In Poverty|