After traveling through so many parts of Maine, we couldn’t help but love the unique features of this wonderful state. Though it may not be surprising that Maine produces 90% of America’s lobster supply 🦞, I found it surprising that they produce 99% of the nation’s blueberries 🫐 and 90% of our country’s toothpick supply. 😮 It is home to the nation’s first incorporated city (York), is the most northeastern state in the US, the least densely populated state east of the Mississippi River, and contains the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Maine is home to the only national park in New England: Acadia National Park, which in turn is home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic shoreline. And though over 80% of Maine’s land is forested or unclaimed, only 5.7% of its land is public. This was surprising, considering there seemed to be so many parks for us to visit. In fact, 94% of residents in Portland, the state’s most populous city, are within walking distance of a public park. Compared to its other New England neighbors, it is not as pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
Politically speaking, Maine is one of only two states in the nation that uses Ranked Choice Voting for all of its elections, the other state being Alaska. This is in line with the state’s more independent nature and tendency to vote for third party candidates more than any other state. In recent history, a majority of Maine’s electoral votes have gone toward Democratic presidential nominations. However, it is one of only two states, the other being Nebraska, that splits its electoral votes based on different parameters, and has had electoral votes go toward more conservative presidential candidates as well. Finally, the state’s moderate nature is represented in congress more than most other US states.
Education-wise, Maine’s K-12 education is top 12 in the nation, based on enrollment, graduation rate, test scores and college readiness (ACT and SAT scores). Though the state has above average public and private university costs, they are still one of the most affordable states for secondary education in the northeast. After school, what is the viability of getting a job locally? Maine’s unemployment rate is below the national average, and it is known primarily for agricultural, forestry and tourism, but has only a handful of corporate headquarters located in the state.
Maine is a mixed bag when it comes to other quality of life factors. It has the 12th highest cost of living (COL) in the nation, with cost of housing being the principal reason why. With lower than average median income, it may be more difficult to sustain oneself here. And while access to healthcare is fairly average, healthcare spending per capita is the highest in the nation. But on the flip side, Maine has the lowest crime rate in the US.
Finally, climate is definitely something to pay attention to. Similar to other northeastern states, summers can be hot and humid and winters can be very cold and snowy, though both seasonal effects are more mild along the coastline. It may seem that coastal living would be ideal here, but geologists call it the “drowned coast” with rising sea levels taking over formerly habitable areas. And with warming ocean temperatures, there is a risk that lobster will move farther north into Canada, which could have a massive impact on the state’s fishing industry.
These aren’t the only elements to consider, but depending on which stage of life you are in, they may have an impact on your decision to move into or out of the great state of Maine. We truly loved visiting and definitely want to come back. If you haven’t been or are thinking about visiting or relocating to Maine, I hope these insights are helpful as you make your move.