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 2,400 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in Maine:
- Augusta (Photos)
- Bangor (Photos)
- Waterville (Photos)
- Lewiston (Photos)
- Presque Isle (Photos)
- Calais (Photos)
- Belfast (Photos)
- Biddeford (Photos)
- Auburn (Photos)
- Ellsworth (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Maine
- 10 Best Places To Live In Maine
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Maine
How we determined the worst places to live in Maine for 2018
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
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 2,400 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.
Population: 18,691Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $138,900 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (4th worst)
More on Augusta: Data | Photos
This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Augusta is the 3rd most dangerous city in Maine. For such a small city, there are an astounding number of property crimes. Residents here have a 1 in 27.6 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 $40,555 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.
Population: 32,491Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Values: $148,600 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (3rd worst)
More on Bangor: Data | Photos
Out of all the places to live in Maine, Bangor ranks as the 2nd worst — not something to brag about.
Bangor’s unemployment rate stands at 7.9%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $37,987 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 8th cheapest in the entire state at $148,600. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Bangor. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 1st worst in the state. You have a 1 in 24.2 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 433 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Population: 16,134Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $121,300 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (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.
Population: 36,277Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $143,500 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (6th 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.
5. Presque Isle
Population: 9,298Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Home Values: $102,600 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (14th 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 2015. 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.
Population: 3,018Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Home Values: $88,400 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (16th worst)
More on Calais: Data | Photos
This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Calais 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 29.0 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 Calais 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 Calais are really low. People here earn about $32,885 a year per household.
Additionally, the public schools in Calais 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 Calais.
Population: 6,641Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $209,200 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (2nd worst)
More on Belfast: Data | Photos
Belfast, ME needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 9.8%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 18th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 55.8 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Population: 21,341Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Values: $211,400 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (11th worst)
More on Biddeford: Data | Photos
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Biddeford is the 8th worst place in the state of Maine.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Biddeford is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Biddeford are the 17th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in Maine.
Population: 22,943Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Values: $152,200 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (14th worst)
More on Auburn: Data | Photos
Auburn is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and “fun”. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Auburn residents earn the 11th-lowest salaries in the state. At $46,976 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $152,200, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.
Crime is the 6th highest in Maine per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 14th highest in the state, at 5.5%.
Population: 7,879Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Home Values: $182,600 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (5th worst)
More on Ellsworth: Data | Photos
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Maine, Ellsworth came in 10th. Let’s see why.
Located in Hancock County with a population of 7,879, Ellsworth has the 5th highest unemployment rate in Maine. Crime is high for the state as well, coming in as the 7th most dangerous.
Additionally, 1260.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Maine:
- Brewer (Pop. 9,284)
- South Portland (Pop. 25,397)
- Hallowell (Pop. 2,427)
For more Maine reading, check out:
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Maine
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Maine
- 10 Safest Places In Maine
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Maine