The 10 Worst Places To Live In Maine For 2021

We used science and data 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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Maine.

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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Maine For 2021

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

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 Biddeford.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Maine For 2021

Biddeford, ME

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 21,462
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $245,900 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (11th worst)
More on Biddeford:  Data | Photos

Lewiston, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 36,095
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $140,600 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (10th worst)
More on Lewiston:  Data | Photos

Augusta, ME

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,605
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $144,800 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (6th worst)
More on Augusta:  Data | Photos

This may or may not be a surprise to you, but Augusta is the 2nd most dangerous city in Maine. For such a small city, there are an astounding number of property crimes. Residents here have a 1 in 31.7 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 $43,796 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.

Calais, ME

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,993
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $97,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (2nd worst)
More on Calais:  Data | Photos

Waterville, ME

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,577
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $125,000 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (13th 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.

Presque Isle, ME

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,116
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $115,400 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (16th 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 2021. 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.

Ellsworth, ME

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,991
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $178,400 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (15th worst)
More on Ellsworth:  Data | Photos

Bangor, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 32,095
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $157,000 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (7th worst)
More on Bangor:  Data | Photos

Caribou, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,710
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $90,700 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (14th worst)
More on Caribou:  Data | Photos

Sure, Caribou is beautiful. But science doesn't measure beauty. It measures facts, and the fact is Caribou has some serious issues. The unemployment rate here is 8.7%, which is the second highest in the state. And the median price of a house here is under $100,000.

It's hard to get a local economy going when you look at those numbers.

Additionally, the public schools in Caribou are the 11th lowest funded in Maine in terms of financial support and student-teacher ratio.

Gardiner, ME

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,657
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $140,700 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (4th worst)
More on Gardiner:  Data | Photos

How we determined the worst places to live in Maine for 2021

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 -- Biddeford. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Maine. You can download the data here.

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

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, Biddeford ranks as the worst city to live in Maine for 2021.

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

  1. Bath (Pop. 8,319)
  2. South Portland (Pop. 25,548)
  3. Saco (Pop. 19,497)

For more Maine reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Maine?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Biddeford 21,462 4.4% $245,900
2 Lewiston 36,095 4.6% $140,600
3 Augusta 18,605 5.3% $144,800
4 Calais 2,993 7.0% $97,600
5 Waterville 16,577 4.1% $125,000
6 Presque Isle 9,116 3.3% $115,400
7 Ellsworth 7,991 3.5% $178,400
8 Bangor 32,095 5.3% $157,000
9 Caribou 7,710 3.6% $90,700
10 Gardiner 5,657 5.8% $140,700

How Is The Area In ?

30 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Maine For 2021

  1. Your data is flawed by its incompleteness. Anyone can make a list like this come out any way they wish if the skew the data input. I have lived in Augusta, raised three children (great schools) all to productive adulthood, coached at all levels of baseball (best facilities in the state) and find that our city government is approachable, diligent and trustworthy. We are a religious center for all religions to peacefully worship as they choose or not. The restaurants are second to none and shopping is both big-box and VERY MUCH local, as well (all surviving together). Nope! I think your data is definitely flawed, skewed and holds no real value in deciding where in Maine to live. But, hey, thanks for trying.

  2. There are a lot more towns in Maine than 49. And you didn’t appear to pick the 49 cities based on population, because places such as Bridgeton or Farmington have a thriving population compared to Houlton. And you didn’t just pick the largest city in a given area, because Fort Kent or Jay should be added to spread out your map. I’m guessing you just picked cities on 95, maybe?

    There is no way you can even say this is based on data, when you pick and choose the points to examine. You need to state the criteria that you choose these 49 cities. This article needs to be renamed: “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live Out of 49 Cities in Maine”.

  3. I was raised in Caribou and myself and another high school classmate are now doctors and another is even an astronaut. There is something to be said about small towns and not all of them suck. However, your ranking system certainly has a lot to be desired.

  4. Anyone who has the audacity to use the term “lobster cages” (which FYI isn’t a thing) in reference to Augusta (which has a long history of… not lobstering) has either A. Never been to Maine before or B. is trolling. Say what you will about “using data from the internet” because we all know if it is on the internet it must be true.

  5. Your data is a bit skewed. Maine is well-known for being a poor state, but that doesn’t mean everywhere is a poor place to live.

    Of course Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland and Falmouth are superior to every other place, they have the highest median incomes of the entire state. That also means they’re the most expensive and least affordable places to live.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

  6. As a person who was born and lived in Worcester Massachusetts, I can say without doubt that the worst city in Maine is still far better than most of the cities in Massachusetts in all aspects but access to jobs, which is the biggest problem Maine has. It is silly to measure education by how much is spent per student. The quality of the teacher and the involvement of the parents is the deciding factor in a child’s education. Money spent per student could be considered to show throwing money at problems trying to fix them with the result of getting very little return in reference to actual improvement in student retained knowledge and test scores.

    Population density is another flawed measurement. You assume that “indoor entertainment” is the criteria a majority of Maine residence value in a city. This cannot be taken seriously because if that was the case, why would people from out of state leave their bastions of indoor entertainment and flock to Maine in the summer? The amount of camouflage clothing seen and pickup trucks registered in the state of Maine should be a very significant clue as to what many actual value in a city:
    Access to Maine’s natural and most profitable resource, OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT.

    Crime rate is a legitimate measurement but again flawed. Compared to cities in other states of New England, the crime rate is merely a blip on the screen. Also when a per capita measurement is used, it does not consider WHERE in each city you live. If you live in a high crime rate part of a city known to most of us as a”bad neighborhood”, you will have a higher risk of being a victim than in other parts of the same city. I live in Waterville and I do lock my doors at night but that is out of habit from living in Worcester, not fear of being robbed in Waterville.

    There is no doubt most cities in Maine need a better economic situation. Only jobs will fix this issue. It is Maine’s only shortcoming. The quality of the people living in a city is its only true measurement. Honest, hard working, down to earth, and a bit eccentric people are the qualities that make a Mainer a Mainer, and what I strive to be as a transplant. This is the majority of the population in every city. Therefor no city in Maine is a bad city.

  7. I find it absolutely HILARIOUS that the person who wrote this truly thinks that they’re right. People like the author of this deserve to be smacked across the face sue to their stupidity.

  8. Apparently the higher spending per student mean higher quality education. If so we should all move to D.C. where they spend the most per student in the country and get marvelous results. If you think that a high population density increases the quality of life then you don’t really understand Maine culture, and please don’t move to Maine.

  9. Ok, so Falmouth is one of the best places, yet the Washington Post just wrote and article declaring one of the most drug infested place in AMERICA!!!!! Just shows that the “facts” here are purely subjective. Portland is a pit and the line “You might be surprised to hear that Waterville has the 7th highest crime rate in Maine” tells you that. Why would it be a surprise??? It shows a lack of outside knowledge here. Since all of the population figures are wildly wrong (a simple look at wiki could have helped here) it tells us that the “facts” are iprobably wrong as well. That “fact” is, this article is a piece of garbage, and I don’t live in ay of the communities mentioned. It is bias from a Portland point of view, which is a sh;;ty little city with nothing to offer besides a cultural divide of white people who think they are racially integrated. Visit the Old Port some sunny Sunday and see if that is true or not;)

    1. Amen! Portland has to be lived in, if you really want to know what a horrible place to live it is. I prefer any other city on the East coast and I was raised in Maine’s real midcoast. Two towns away from Peyton Place is looking better and better.

  10. lived in Brockton Ma[west side] ,Brunswick,Minot,Waterville, Boston Ma[south end], North Dartmouth Ma , and Skowhegan,Maine

    Skowhegan was the WORSE:
    Theft and burglary rates are high
    Halfway Houses on every other street
    Intoxicated subjects walk the streets day and night
    Air polluted, Water polluted
    10% of the residents have COPD
    Loud exhaust pickup trucks barrowling down residential streets 24/7/365, cops afraid to stop them because they are relatives of town employees

    Skowhegan is a living nightmare
    ex-town manager told me all about the place,there are 3000 people that work, leaving 5000 layabout welfare loafers with too much time on their hands

  11. Waterville Maine is not bad. There are some small secluded middle class neighborhoods left.

    I moved out of Maine because i retired to Florida

  12. I was born in Lewiston and raised in Greene, Maine. Nothing mentioned about this great town. I think the list leaves quite a bit to be desired do to the fact that those few towns mentioned do not give a good clear picture of the great state of Maine!!!

  13. I live in Eastern Maine and this report says one of the worst places to live is in Eastern Maine yet they have no even come close to mentioning not even 1 of Eastern Maine’s cities on this.. Heck not even Bar Harbor which is west of us all and advertised as Down East ( which burns us real Down Easterners ).. So take this report anyway you want but surely it is bogus just by the way it is written up..

  14. It’s called infotainment for a reason. Pour a touch of Allens, chase it with a Bud and lighten up.

    1. Well, it’s neither informative or entertainment. You krep drinking your “brandy.” You from Rockland?

  15. I do not live in Maine but the same questions popped up when researching where to move to (I am from the deep south and my wife is from Russia). Anyone have any real opinions on the best places to live where it is close for my wife to commute to work where we can get some land with our house purchase?

  16. If you are from Massachusetts or “away” I recommend you don’t make a permanent move to Maine, buy a 2nd home for seasonal or weekend visits. Maybe not all towns, but certainly the town I purchased a home in has become the most unwelcoming and perhaps the biggest nightmare experience of my life. I regret investing money into this property to take from the dump it was to what it is now.

    The problem in this town and probably many others is the local town politics and it so-called “politicians”. They don’t believe an “outsider” and especially a “Massole” should have any type of business, after all it may cut into “locals” piece of the pie. They make up rules as they go and this has been confirmed by many attorneys who have had to represent people that have been wronged by the town of Denmark, Maine. Then they change their mind and tell you that you have been operating illegally when 3 selectman and 2 Town Managers told you what you are doing is fine and cite you with court actions. They make up nonsensical rules even though State engineers have proven they are wrong.

    Then there are the fights they have among themselves politically. When a Selectman doesn’t play by their rules and do exactly as the “locals” instruct they launch recalls. These locals have run around towns with their nasty petitions and publicly published such nasty comments about who they are trying to oust in the local town paper. They run unbiased Town Managers out of town because he didn’t play by the “locals” rule but rather the rule of law. They will lie straight to your face totally unabashed by it.

    They accuse you of running a business that you are not although their local “friend” is running exactly that type of business, a Bed & Breakfast. This person has no town permit nor state licensing required for that type of business. Another “local” is running a small engine repair shop along with sales of used equipment which is prominently displayed in his yard throughout the spring, summer and fall months and they have the audacity to say “I have never seen that”. They also allow their town manager to conduct his so-called job based on personal vendettas.

    I feel like I am living a horror show in Denmark, Maine so before purchasing any Real Estate property in small town Maine – do you homework, research just what goes on in that town beforehand. I could have saved myself a lot of headaches if I had done so. Many of these small towns want you money but in truth they don’t want you here – but truth be told they couldn’t survive without it.

  17. Burglary and robbery are two very different crimes. I infer that you used the word “robbed” in place of theft and property crimes. The key element to robbery is to “take by force or threar of immediate/imminent harm” (in laymans terms). I highly doubt people are getting rolled on the streets of Augusta like it’s the combat zone of a big city. Look up some definitions before you write articles.

  18. Maine is a poor and dirty white trash type state. People are mostly extroverted, but not friendly, usually the fart a few insults out of their mouths in each sentence or comment. and they like to comment.
    they will fiercly defend their shithole though, and blame you if you don’t like it, even though they don’t like it.
    There are no jobs unless you want to work at a fast food place or similar for minimum wage, maybe some seasonal low paid unskilled work. there are about 4 good jobs posted every few months in Portland though.
    Prices are pretty high, especially house prices, compared to the economy.
    You actually do NEED a car if you live outside of Portland or Westbrook, because there is no public transportation to any place else.
    Most lakes to go swimming in and also beaches are almost totally privately owned, and you have to be a neighbor to go to them, or have a house on the water.
    people are very defensive and in general Mainers just like to fight, and if you like to fight too, don’t give a sh%t, dress poorly and stuff like that, you will make friends and join their clique here.
    Be sure to talk like you miss a few teeth too which is how some of the Maine dialect sounds like in places.

  19. You forgot Madawaska, ME there is no hospital there which means you have to take a 20-30 min. drive to Fort Kent for the nearest hospital so if you live in Madawaska and are having a heart attack or stroke that could mean the difference between life and death. There are no public transportation in Madawaska such as a bus. A shortage of doctors, specialists, nurses and complete quality healthcare in general. Let’s also say for the entire state of Maine where people should complain. Why? If you own a car and you live on fixed income of $12,000 per year then you have another person who has the exact same year and model car but that person makes $50,000 per year both people have to pay the exact same excise car taxes per year with no breaks for the poor. How screw up and sick is that? Why aren’t more people making complaints to the state? Why doesn’t the State of Maine in general advertise more in other states and target wealthy areas to encourage more tourism to generate more income for for the state? Some might even invest. Everyone needs to complain to state government and senators.

  20. The problem here is the government is cruel and don’t do anything about more education and the rich are in charge of the state and county. Wages are low and lots of unemployment. Due to mostly seasonal work and winter kills everything. It’s becoming a welfare state and high unemployment rates. The state is overcrowded with more people then jobs. Manufacturing and forestry is a dying industry. Run down mill towns and taxpayers are strapped and county management is not in the best interest of the people. Wasteful spending in the wrong areas and government and state city salaries are on the rise and no end in sight. Instead of better courses and programs for work employment. And the cost of education is high. It’s only affordable for the well off and rich. And most towns and city’s are dirty in winter because of all the sand and salt. Which they don’t need and save money. Also all the damage it does to property and cars. Maine’s wildlife is miss managed and all the animals are dying off and being killed in large numbers. Most of the Maine city streets need to be rebuilt and beautifullcation landscaping is a must. They are all ungly and all pavement and concrete and signs everywhere. No lighting that works on city streets that looks good. Anyway don’t move here we have no job for you look elsewhere.

  21. I lived in Maine for 16 years and hated most of it! I realized how much I hate Winter living in that state! Winters are long – Late November thru late April most of the time. Bitter, damp cold, black ice on the roads and they aren’t plowed very well if at all, where I lived and worked. Which was Ellsworth when I left the state. I commuted to work in Southwest Harbor. I was a janitor at the Southwest Harbor Post Office. I also house cleaned. So I will say if you are in either of these lines of work, you can get paid well. I lived in Clifton, ME (which was a backwoods nightmare!), Corinth, ME (another backwoods nightmare!), Trenton, ME, and then Ellsworth, ME before moving home to MA. The people of Maine I found very nice and made some good friends, but depending on where you lived, there was a lot of “backwoods” uneducated mentality up there. A lot of areas have poor schools/education. Health care is a joke! Ellsworth is about 1/2 an hour from Acadia National Park. So in the Summer, traffic is terrible for those of us unfortunate enough to have to commute to work. The road designs are stupid. They actually cause accidents! When I left Ellsworth, just 3 months ago, the drug use and drug related crime was on the rise. Drug abuse in the state as a whole is on the rise. And I’m talking hard drugs like Heroin. Also abusing prescription painkillers like Oxycodon and Vicatin are becoming an epidemic there! The lack of enough sunlight causes a lot of people to have a vitamin D deficiency and there is a lot of Seasonal Effective Disorder up there. Not to mention it isn’t very hard to get state aid or disability up there so there are a lot of people in Maine who don’t work. And those that do don’t get paid enough compared to the cost of living. All in all, not what I would call a good place to live. The state’s motto is “The Way Life Should Be”. I’ve always called it “The Way Life SHOULD’NT Be!”

  22. Unfortunately, towns and cities in Maine with the most money, get the most money. Some towns have custom sidewalks, entertainment for children and exciting recreation for locals and tourist. Many small towns in Maine have been on a steady rapid population decline and continue to decline rapidly. Many people do not work and find ways to scam the local, state, and federal government, many, many on illegitimate disability claims due to lack of employment and motivation (I don’t know how they survive because it is more difficult to be dependent on our systems than to find employment and work 60 hours per week). Jobs are scarce and if you do score a decent job it will likely not be your passion. People complain about the weather all of the time and the economy is flat and busted. Corporations and employers know they have the advantage and pay is not great either. It cost an average of $250 to $350 per month to heat your home about 8 months out of the year and I have excellent healthcare benefits but many qualified hospitals are over 3 hours away. It is very peaceful in Northern Maine and people have a lot of space. Land and homes are cheap! Really cheap!!! Land is being purchased and leased mostly by local farmers. Many locals tend to be very quick to turn down new innovative ideas and the close mindedness of the communities have just about destroyed any hope to rebuild at this time. I have lived in Northern Maine for 45 years and have been isolated to the rest of the country due to geographic location as well as mediocre income and expensive utilities and heating. Most of this is by choice on my part. By the way, Maine does not end in Portland or Bangor. There is life north of these cities believe it or not! We have a need to industry, we have a need for economy, and we have a need for quality residents but our towns continue to turn down great ideas. Our demise is ourselves! Overall my quality of life is good. I have raised a great family, have not been a victim of crime yet and education for my children has been strong thus far. FYI. My home in MA would be worth $250,000 to $400,000 and I will be lucky to sell it for $80,000 to $125,000 when it comes time to retire. Northern Maine is in BIG need of some open minded business owners, factories, and industry. We could use some people who say “YES” instead of “NO”.

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