Economy of Maine

This article is about the U.S. state of Maine. For other uses, see Maine (disambiguation).
State of Maine
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): "The Pine Tree State" "Vacationland"[1]
Motto(s): "Dirigo" (Latin for "I lead" "I guide" or "I direct")
Official language
Spoken languages English (92%) & French (5%)
Demonym Mainer[2]
Capital Augusta
Largest city Portland
Largest metro Portland-South Portland-Biddeford
Area Ranked 39th
 - Total 35,385 sq mi
(91,646 km2)
 - Width 210 miles (338 km)
 - Length 320 miles (515 km)
 - % water 13.5
 - Latitude 42° 58′ N to 47° 28′ N
 - Longitude 66° 57′ W to 71° 5′ W
Population Ranked 41st
 - Total 1,329,192 (2012 est)[3]
 - Density 43.0/sq mi  (16.6/km2)
Ranked 38th
 - Highest point Mount Katahdin[4][5][6]
5,270 ft (1606.4 m)
 - Mean 600 ft  (180 m)
 - Lowest point Atlantic Ocean[5]
sea level
Before statehood District of Maine
Admission to Union March 15, 1820 (23rd)
Governor Paul LePage (R)
President of the Senate Justin Alfond (D)[7]
Legislature Maine Legislature
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R)
Angus King (I)
U.S. House delegation Chellie Pingree (D)
Michael Michaud (D) (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC −5/−4
Abbreviations ME, US-ME

Maine (clams.

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples were the only inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine. At the time of European encounter, several Algonquian-speaking peoples inhabited the area. The first European settlement in Maine was by the French in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. The first English settlement in Maine, the short-lived Popham Colony, was established by the Plymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate, deprivations, and conflict with the local peoples caused many to fail over the years.

As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen European settlements had survived. Patriot and British forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1820 when it voted to secede from Massachusetts. On March 15, 1820, it was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state under the Missouri Compromise. Maine is the 39th most extensive and the 41st most populous of the 50 United States. With respect to crime rates, Maine is also often considered the safest state in the U.S. [8]


To the south and east is the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and northeast is New Brunswick, a province of Canada. The Canadian province of Quebec is to the northwest. Maine is both the northernmost state in New England and the largest, accounting for almost half the region's entire land area. Maine is the only state to border exactly one other state (New Hampshire to the west).

Maine is the easternmost state in the United States both in its extreme points and its geographic center. The municipalities of Eastport and Lubec are, respectively, the easternmost city and town in the United States. Estcourt Station is Maine's northernmost point, as well as the northernmost point in New England. (For more information see extreme points of the United States).

Maine's Moosehead Lake is the largest lake wholly in New England, as Lake Champlain is located between Vermont, New York and Quebec. A number of other Maine lakes, such as South Twin Lake, are described by Thoreau. Mount Katahdin is both the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which extends southerly to Springer Mountain, Georgia, and the southern terminus of the new International Appalachian Trail which, when complete, will run to Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Maine has several unique geographical features. Machias Seal Island and North Rock, off its easternmost point, are claimed by both the U.S. and Canada and are within one of four areas between the two countries whose sovereignty is still in dispute, but it is the only one of the disputed areas containing land. Also in this easternmost area is the Old Sow, the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.

Maine is the least densely populated U.S. state east of the Mississippi River. It is called the Pine Tree State; nearly 90% of its land is forested.[9] In the forested areas of the interior lie much uninhabited land, some of which does not have formal political organization into local units (a rarity in New England). The Northwest Aroostook, Maine unorganized territory in the northern part of the state, for example, has an area of 2,668 square miles (6,910 km2) and a population of 10, or one person for every 267 square miles (690 km2).

Maine is in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome. The land near the southern and central Atlantic coast is covered by the mixed oaks of the Northeastern coastal forests. The remainder of the state, including the North Woods, is covered by the New England-Acadian forests.[10]

Maine has almost 230 miles (400 km) of coastline (and 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of tidal coastline).[11][12] West Quoddy Head is the easternmost piece of land in the contiguous 48 United States. Along the famous rock-bound coast of Maine are lighthouses, beaches, fishing villages, and thousands of offshore islands, including the Isles of Shoals, which straddle the New Hampshire border. There are jagged rocks and cliffs and many bays and inlets. Inland are lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains. This visual contrast of forested slopes sweeping down to the sea has been summed up by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay of Rockland and Camden, Maine in "Renascence":

"All I could see from where I stood
was three long mountains and a wood
I turned and looked the other way
and saw three islands in a bay"

Geologists describe this type of landscape as a "drowned coast," where a rising sea level has invaded former land features, creating bays out of valleys and islands out of mountain tops.[13] A rise in the elevation of the land due to the melting of heavy glacier ice caused a slight rebounding effect of underlying rock; this land rise, however, was not enough to eliminate all the effect of the rising sea level and its invasion of former land features.

Much of Maine's geomorphology was created by heavy glacial activity at the end of the last ice age. Prominent glacial features include Somes Sound and Bubble Rock, both part of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. Carved by glaciers, Somes Sound is considered to be the only fjord on the eastern seaboard and reaches depths of 175 feet (50 m). The extreme depth and steep drop-off allow large ships to navigate almost the entire length of the sound. These features also have made it attractive for boat builders, such as the prestigious Hinckley Yachts. Bubble Rock is what is known as a "glacial erratic" and is a large boulder perched on the edge of Bubble Mountain in Acadia National Park. By analyzing the type of granite, geologists were able to discover that glaciers carried Bubble Rock to its present location from the town of Lucerne, Maine — 30 miles (48 km) away. The Iapetus Suture runs through the north and west of the state being underlain by the ancient Laurentian terrane and the south and east underlain by the Avalonian terrane.

Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England. Areas under the protection and management of the National Park Service include:[14]


Maine experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm (although generally not hot), humid summers. Winters are cold and snowy throughout the state, and are especially severe in the northern parts of Maine. Coastal areas are moderated somewhat by the Atlantic Ocean. Daytime highs are generally in the 75–80 °F (24–27 °C) range throughout the state in July, with overnight lows in the high 50s °F (around 15 °C). January temperatures range from highs near 32 °F (0 °C) on the southern coast to overnight lows averaging below 0 °F (−18 °C) in the far north.[15]

The state's record high temperature is 105 °F (41 °C), set in July 1911, at North Bridgton.[16] Maine has fewer days of thunderstorms than any other state east of the Rockies, with most of the state averaging less than 20 days of thunderstorms a year. Tornadoes are rare in Maine, with the state averaging fewer than two per year, mostly occurring in the southern part of the state.[17]

In January 2009, a new record low temperature for the state was set at Big Black River of −50 °F (−46 °C), tying the New England record.[15]

Annual precipitation varies from 909 mm (35.8 in) in Presque Isle, to 1,441 mm (56.7 in) in Acadia National Park.[18]

Monthly normal high and low temperatures (°F) for Maine cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Average
Augusta 28/10 32/14 41/24 53/34 66/45 75/54 80/60 79/58 70/50 58/39 46/30 34/17 55/36
Caribou 19/0 23/3 34/15 47/29 63/41 72/50 76/55 74/53 64/44 51/34 37/24 25/8 49/30
Portland 31/12 34/16 42/25 53/35 63/44 73/53 79/59 77/57 69/48 58/37 47/30 36/19 56/37


Main article: History of Maine

The original inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine were Algonquian-speaking Wabanaki peoples including the Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Penobscot. The first European settlement in what is now called Maine was in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, including Samuel de Champlain, the noted explorer. The French named the entire area Acadia, including the portion that later became the state of Maine. The first English settlement in Maine was established by the Plymouth Company at Popham in 1607, the same year as the settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. The Popham colonists returned to England after 14 months.[19]

Two Jesuit missions were established by the French: one on Penobscot Bay in 1609, and the other on Mount Desert Island in 1613. The same year, Castine was established by Claude de La Tour. In 1625, Charles de Saint-Étienne de la Tour erected Fort Pentagouet to protect Castine. The coastal areas of western Maine first became the Province of Maine in a 1622 land patent. Eastern Maine north of the Kennebec River was more sparsely settled and was known in the 17th century as the Territory of Sagadahock. A second settlement was attempted at a place called York, in 1623 by English explorer and naval Captain Christopher Levett, granted 6,000 acres (24 km2) by King Charles I of England.[20] That settlement also failed.

Central Maine was formerly inhabited by people of the Androscoggin tribe, also known as Arosaguntacook. The Androscoggin were a tribe in the Abenaki nation. They were driven out of the area in 1690 during King William's War. They were relocated at St. Francis, Canada, which was destroyed by Rogers' Rangers in 1759, and is now Odanak. The other Abenaki tribes suffered several severe defeats, particularly during Dummer's War, with the capture of Norridgewock in 1724 and the defeat of the Pequawket in 1725, which greatly reduced their numbers. They finally withdrew to Canada, where they were settled at Bécancour and Sillery, and later at St. Francis, along with other refugee tribes from the south.[21]

The province within its current boundaries became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. Maine was much fought over by the French, English and allied natives during the 17th and early 18th centuries, who conducted raids against each other, taking captives for ransom or, in some cases, adoption by Native American tribes. For instance, in early 1692, the Abenaki raided York, killing about 100 of the English settlers and taking another estimated 80 villagers hostage.[22] The Abenaki took captives taken during raids of Massachusetts in Queen Anne's War of the early 1700s to Kahnewake, a Catholic Mohawk village near Montreal, where some were adopted and others ransomed.[23][24]

After the British defeated the French in Acadia in the 1740s, the territory from the Penobscot River east fell under the nominal authority of the Province of Nova Scotia, and together with present-day New Brunswick formed the Nova Scotia county of Sunbury, with its court of general sessions at Campobello. American and British forces contended for Maine's territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and British forces occupied eastern Maine in both conflicts.[25] The treaty concluding revolution was ambiguous about Maine's boundary with British North America. The territory of Maine was confirmed as part of Massachusetts when the United States was formed, although the final border with British territory was not established until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Maine was physically separate from the rest of Massachusetts. Long-standing disagreements over land speculation and settlements led to Maine residents and their allies in Massachusetts proper forcing an 1807 vote in the Massachusetts Assembly on permitting Maine to secede; the vote failed. Secessionist sentiment in Maine was stoked during the War of 1812 when Massachusetts pro-British merchants opposed the war and refused to defend Maine from British invaders. In 1819, Massachusetts agreed to permit secession if voters in Maine approved. Due to these considerations and rapid population growth, in 1820 Maine voted to secede from Massachusetts. The secession and formation of the state of Maine as the 23rd state occurred on March 15, 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise, which geographically limited the spread of slavery and enabled the admission to statehood of Missouri the following year, keeping a balance between slave and free states.[26][27][28]

Maine's original capital was Portland, Maine's largest city, until it was moved to Augusta in 1832 to make it more central within the state.

The 20th Maine, under the command of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, defended Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. Its soldiers prevented the Union Army from being flanked by the Confederate Army.

Four U.S. Navy ships have been named USS Maine in honor of the state.


There is no definitive explanation for the origin of the name "Maine". The state legislature in 2001 adopted a resolution establishing Franco-American Day, which stated that the state was named after the former French province of Maine.[29] Other theories mention earlier places with similar names, or claim it is a nautical reference to the mainland.[30]

The first known record of the name appears in an August 10, 1622, land charter to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason, English Royal Navy veterans, who were granted a large tract in present-day Maine that Mason and Gorges "intend to name the Province of Maine." Mason had served in the Royal Navy in the Orkney Islands where the chief island is called Mainland, a more likely name derivation for these English sailors than the French province.[31] A year later, in 1623, the English naval captain Christopher Levett, exploring the New England coast, wrote: "The first place I set my foote upon in New England was the Isle of Shoals, being Ilands [sic] in the sea, above two Leagues from the Mayne."[32] Whatever the origin, the name was fixed in 1665 when the King's Commissioners ordered that the "Province of Maine" be entered from then on in official records.[33] Maine is the only state whose name has exactly one syllable.[34][35]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20121,329,1920.1%
Source: 1910-2010[36]

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Maine was 1,329,192 on July 1, 2012, a 0.1% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[3] The population density of the state is 41.3 people per square mile, making it the least densely populated state in New England, the American northeast, the eastern seaboard, of all of the states with an Atlantic coastline and of all of the states east of the Mississippi River.

The mean population center of Maine is located in Kennebec County, just east of Augusta.[37] The Greater Portland metropolitan area is the most densely populated with nearly 40% of Maine's population.[38] As explained in detail under "Geography", there are large tracts of uninhabited land in some remote parts of the interior.

Race, ancestry, and language

At the 2010 Census, 94.4% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 1.1% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 1.4% of two or more races. 1.3% of Maine's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin..[39]

Demographics of Maine (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 98.08% 0.77% 1.03% 0.93% 0.06%
2000 (Hispanic only) 0.66% 0.06% 0.03% 0.02% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 97.81% 1.02% 1.00% 1.06% 0.06%
2005 (Hispanic only) 0.91% 0.07% 0.03% 0.02% 0.00%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 3.37% 37.45% 0.77% 17.68% 2.76%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 3.09% 38.61% 0.95% 18.10% 9.48%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 44.03% 22.69% -5.57% -3.52% -43.56%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

As of 2011, the largest ancestries in the state were estimated to be:

People citing that they are "American" are of overwhelmingly English descent, but have ancestry that has been in the region for so long (often since the 1600s) that they choose to identify simply as "Americans".[41][42][43][44][45][46][47]

Maine has the highest percentage of French Americans among U.S. states. It also has the highest percentage of non-Hispanic whites of any state, at 94.4% of the total population, according to the 2010 Census. In 2011, 89.0% of all births in the state were to two non-Hispanic white parents.[48] The state has the highest percentage of current French speakers of any state; most are descended from Quebecois immigrants who arrived between 1840 and 1930, and New Brunswick prior to 1842. In northern Maine, (particularly Aroostook County), Acadians still speak French at home, since their relatives live in neighboring New Brunswick. Census figures show that Maine has the highest percentage of people speaking French at home of any state: 5.28% of Maine households are French-speaking, compared with 4.68% in Louisiana.[49] French-speakers are the state's chief linguistic minority; the 2000 Census reported 92.25% of Maine residents aged five and older spoke only English at home. Maine does not have an official language, but the most widely spoken language in the state is English.

The upper St. John River valley area was once part of the so-called Republic of Madawaska, before the frontier was decided in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842. Over one quarter of the population of Lewiston, Waterville, and Biddeford are Franco-American. Most of the residents of the Mid Coast and Down East sections are chiefly of British heritage. Smaller numbers of various other groups, including Irish, Italian and Polish, have settled throughout the state since the late 19th and early 20th century immigration waves..


The religious affiliations of the people of Maine are shown below:

In 2010, a study named Maine as the least religious state in the United States.[51]


The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Maine's total gross state product for 2010 was $52 billion.[52] Its per capita personal income for 2007 was US$33,991, 34th in the nation. As of August 2013, Maine's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.0%.[53]

Maine's agricultural outputs include poultry, eggs, dairy products, cattle, wild blueberries, apples, maple syrup and maple sugar. Aroostook County is known for its potato crops. Commercial fishing, once a mainstay of the state's economy, maintains a presence, particularly lobstering and groundfishing. Western Maine aquifers and springs are a major source of bottled water.

Maine's industrial outputs consist chiefly of paper, lumber and wood products, electronic equipment, leather products, food products, textiles, and bio-technology. Naval shipbuilding and construction remain key as well, with Bath Iron Works in Bath and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

Brunswick Landing, formerly Naval Air Station Brunswick, is also in Maine. Formerly a large support base for the U.S. Navy, the BRAC campaign initiated the Naval Air Station's closing, despite a government-funded effort to upgrade its facilities. The former base has since been changed into a civilian business park, as well as a new satellite campus for Southern Maine Community College.[54]

Maine is the number one exporter of low-bush blueberries. The largest toothpick manufacturing plant in the United States used to be located in Strong, Maine. The Strong Wood Products plant produced 20 million toothpicks a day. It closed in May 2003.

Tourism and outdoor recreation play a major and increasingly important role in Maine's economy. The state is a popular destination for sport hunting (particularly deer, moose and bear), sport fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, boating, camping and hiking, among other activities.

Maine ports play a key role in national transportation. Beginning around 1880, Portland's rail link and ice-free port made it Canada's principal winter port, until the aggressive development of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the mid-1900s. In 2001, Maine's largest city of Portland surpassed Boston as New England's busiest port (by tonnage), due to its ability to handle large tankers. Maine's Portland International Jetport was recently expanded, providing the state with increased air traffic from carriers such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.

Maine has very few large companies that maintain headquarters in the state, and that number has fallen due to consolidations and mergers, particularly in the pulp and paper industry. Some of the larger companies that do maintain headquarters in Maine include Fairchild Semiconductor in South Portland; IDEXX Laboratories, in Westbrook; Hannaford Bros. Co. in Scarborough, Unum in Portland; TD Bank, in Portland; L.L. Bean in Freeport; Cole Haan and DeLorme, both located in Yarmouth. Maine is also the home of The Jackson Laboratory, the world's largest non-profit mammalian genetic research facility and the world's largest supplier of genetically purebred mice.


Maine has an income tax structure containing two brackets, 6.5% to 7.95% of personal income. [55] Prior to July 2013, Maine had four brackets: 2%, 4.5%, 7%, and 8.5%. [56] Maine's general sales tax rate is 5.5%, temporarily raised from 5% until June 30, 2015. [57] The state also levies charges of 7% on lodging and prepared food and 10% on short-term auto rentals. Commercial sellers of blueberries, a Maine staple, must keep records of their transactions and pay the state 1.5 cents per pound ($1.50 per 100 pounds) of the fruit sold each season. All real and tangible personal property located in the state of Maine is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. The administration of property taxes is handled by the local assessor in incorporated cities and towns, while property taxes in the unorganized territories are handled by the State Tax Assessor.


Maine has a longstanding tradition of being home to many shipbuilding companies. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Maine was home to many shipyards that produced wooden sailing ships. The main function of these ships was to transport either cargoes or passengers overseas. One of these yards was located in Pennellville Historic District in what is now Brunswick, Maine. This yard, owned by the Pennell family, was typical of the many family-owned shipbuilding companies of the time period. Other such examples of shipbuilding families were the Skolfields and the Morses. During the 18th and 19th centuries, wooden shipbuilding of this sort made up a sizable portion of the economy.



Maine receives passenger jet service at its two largest airports, the Portland International Jetport in Portland, and the Bangor International Airport in Bangor. Both are served daily by many major airlines to destinations such as New York, Atlanta, and Orlando. Essential Air Service also subsidizes service to a number of smaller airports in Maine, bringing small turboprop aircraft to regional airports such as the Augusta State Airport, Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport, Knox County Regional Airport, and the Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle. These airports are served by Cape Air with Cessna 402s and Penair with Saab 340s

Many smaller airports are scattered throughout Maine, only serving general aviation traffic. The Eastport Municipal Airport, for example, is a city-owned public-use airport with 1,200 general aviation aircraft operations each year from single-engine and ultralight aircraft.[58]


Interstate 95 runs through Maine, as well as its easterly branch I-295 and spurs 195, 395 and the unsigned I-495. In addition, U.S. Route 1 starts in Fort Kent and runs to Florida. The eastern terminus of the eastern section of U.S. Route 2 starts in Houlton, near the New Brunswick, Canada border to Rouses Point, New York, at US 11. US Route 2A connects Old Town and Orono, Maine, primarily serving the University of Maine campus. US Routes 201 and 202 flow through the state. US Route 2, Route 6 and Route 9 are often used by truckers and other motorists of the Maritime Provinces en route to other destinations in the United States or as a short cut to Central Canada.

In March 2011, Maine ranked amongst the top three best states in the American State Litter Scorecard, for overall effectiveness and quality of its public space cleanliness—primarily roadway and adjacent litter—from state and related debris removal efforts.[59]



The Downeaster passenger train, operated by Amtrak, provides passenger service between Brunswick and Boston's North Station, with stops in Freeport, Portland, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and Wells. The Downeaster makes five daily trips, two of which continue past Portland to Brunswick.[60]

Seasonal passenger excursions between Brunswick and Rockland are operated by the Maine Eastern Railroad, which leases the state-owned Rockland Branch rail corridor.


Freight service throughout the state is provided by a handful of regional and shortline carriers: Pan Am Railways (formerly known as Guilford Rail System), which operates the former Boston & Maine and Maine Central railroads; St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad; Maine Eastern Railroad; Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway; and New Brunswick Southern Railway.

Law and government

The Maine Constitution structures Maine's state government, composed of three co-equal branches—the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The state of Maine also has three Constitutional Officers (the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Attorney General) and one Statutory Officer (the State Auditor).

The legislative branch is the Maine Legislature, a bicameral body composed of the Maine House of Representatives, with 151 members, and the Maine Senate, with 35 members. The Legislature is charged with introducing and passing laws.

The executive branch is responsible for the execution of the laws created by the Legislature and is headed by the Governor of Maine (currently Paul LePage). The Governor is elected every four years; no individual may serve more than two consecutive terms in this office. The current attorney general of Maine is Janet Mills. As with other state legislatures, the Maine Legislature can by a two-thirds majority vote from both the House and Senate override a gubernatorial veto. Maine is one of seven states that do not have a lieutenant governor.

The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting state laws. The highest court of the state is the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The lower courts are the District Court, Superior Court and Probate Court. All judges except for probate judges serve full-time, are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature for terms of seven years. Probate judges serve part-time and are elected by the voters of each county for four-year terms.


Maine is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. As of 1860 there were 16 counties in the state, ranging in size from 370 square miles (960 km2) to 6,829 square miles (17,700 km2).

County name County seat Year founded 2010 population[61] Percent of total Area (sq. mi.) Percent of total
Androscoggin Auburn 1854 107,702 8.11% 497 1.44%
Aroostook Houlton 1839 71,870 5.41% 6,829 19.76%
Cumberland Portland 1760 281,674 21.20% 1,217 3.52%
Franklin Farmington 1838 30,768 2.32% 1,744 5.05%
Hancock Ellsworth 1789 54,418 4.10% 1,522 4.40%
Kennebec Augusta 1799 122,151 9.20% 951 2.75%
Knox Rockland 1860 39,736 2.99% 1,142 3.30%
Lincoln Wiscasset 1760 34,457 2.59% 700 2.03%
Oxford Paris 1805 57,833 4.35% 2,175 6.29%
Penobscot Bangor 1816 153,923 11.59% 3,556 10.29%
Piscataquis Dover-Foxcroft 1838 17,535 1.32% 4,377 12.67%
Sagadahoc Bath 1854 35,293 2.66% 370 1.07%
Somerset Skowhegan 1809 52,228 3.93% 4,095 11.85%
Waldo Belfast 1827 38,786 2.92% 853 2.47%
Washington Machias 1790 32,856 2.47% 3,255 9.42%
York Alfred 1636 197,131 14.84% 1,271 3.68%
Total counties: 16 Total 2010 population: 1,328,361 Total state area: 34,554 square miles (89,494 km2)

State and local politics

In state general elections, Maine voters tend to accept independent and third-party candidates more frequently than most states. Maine has had two independent governors recently (James B. Longley, 1975–1979 and Angus King, 1995–2003). Maine state politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, are noted for having more moderate views than many in the national wings of their respective parties.

Maine is an alcoholic beverage control state.

On May 6, 2009, Maine became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage; however, the law was repealed by voters on November 3, 2009. On November 6, 2012, Maine, along with Maryland and Washington, became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot box.[62]

Federal politics

Presidential election results[63]
Year Democratic Republican
2012 56.27% 401,306 40.98% 292,276
2008 57.71% 421,923 40.38% 295,283
2004 53.57% 396,842 44.58% 330,201
2000 49.09% 319,951 43.97% 286,616
1996 51.62% 312,788 30.76% 186,378
1992 38.77% 263,420 30.39% 206,504
1988 43.88% 243,569 55.34% 307,131
1984 38.78% 214,515 60.83% 336,500
1980 42.25% 220,974 45.61% 238,522
1976 48.07% 232,279 48.91% 236,320
1972 38.48% 160,584 61.46% 256,458
1968 55.30% 217,312 43.07% 169,254
1964 68.84% 262,264 31.16% 118,701
1960 42.95% 181,159 57.05% 240,608

In the 1930s, Maine was one of very few states which retained Republican sentiments. In the 1936 presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt received the electoral votes of every state other than Maine and Vermont; these were the only two states in the nation that never voted for Roosevelt in any of his presidential campaigns, though Maine was closely fought in 1940 and 1944. In the 1960s, Maine began to lean toward the Democrats, especially in presidential elections. In 1968, Hubert Humphrey became just the second Democrat in half a century to carry Maine, due to the presence of his running mate, Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, although the state voted Republican in every presidential election in the 1970s and 1980s.

Since 1969, two of Maine's four electoral votes have been awarded based on the winner of the statewide election; the other two go to the highest vote-getter in each of the state's two congressional districts. Every other state except Nebraska gives all its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state at large, without regard to performance within districts.

Ross Perot achieved a great deal of success in Maine in the presidential elections of 1992 and 1996. In 1992, as an independent candidate, Perot came in second to Democrat Bill Clinton, despite the longtime presence of the Bush family summer home in Kennebunkport. In 1996, as the nominee of the Reform Party, Perot did better in Maine than in any other state.

Maine has voted for the Democratic candidate in six successive presidential elections, casting its votes for Bill Clinton twice, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Although Democrats have carried the state in presidential elections in recent years, Republicans have largely maintained their control of the state's U.S. Senate seats, with Edmund Muskie, William Hathaway and George J. Mitchell being the only Maine Democrats serving in the U.S. Senate in the past fifty years.

In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans made major gains in Maine. They captured the governor's office as well as majorities in both chambers of the state legislature for the first time since the early 1970s. However, in 2012 elections Democrats managed to recapture both houses of Maine Legislature.

Maine's U.S. senators are Republican Susan Collins and Independent Angus King. The governor is Republican Paul LePage. The state's two members of the United States House of Representatives are Democrats Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud.


Organized municipalities

An organized municipality has a form of elected local government which administers and provides local services, keeps records, collects licensing fees, and can pass locally binding ordinances, among other responsibilities of self-government. The governmental format of most organized towns and plantations is the town meeting, while the format of most cities is the council-manager form. As of 2013 the organized municipalities of Maine consist of 23 cities, 431 towns, and 34 plantations. Collectively these 488 organized municipalities cover less than half of the state's territory. Maine also has 3 Reservations: Indian Island, Indian Township Reservation, and Pleasant Point Indian Reservation.[64]

  • The largest municipality in Maine, by population, is the city of Portland (pop. 64,249).
  • The smallest city by population is Eastport (pop. 1,640).
  • The largest town by population is Brunswick (pop. 20,278).
  • The smallest town by population is Frye Island, a resort town which reported zero year-round population in the 2000 Census; one plantation, Glenwood Plantation, Maine, also reported a permanent population of zero.
  • In the 2000 census, the smallest town aside from Frye Island was Centerville with a population of 26, but since that census, Centerville voted to disincorporate and therefore is no longer a town. The next smallest town with a population listed in that census is Beddington (pop. 50 at the 2010 census).
  • The largest municipality by land area is the town of Allagash, at 128 square miles (332 km2).
  • The smallest municipality by land area is the plantation of Monhegan Island, at 0.86 square miles (2.2 km2). The smallest municipality by area that is not an island is Randolph, at 2.23 square miles (6 km2).

Unorganized territory

Unorganized territory has no local government. Administration, services, licensing, and ordinances are handled by the state government. The unorganized territory of Maine consists of over 400 townships (towns are incorporated, townships are unincorporated), plus many coastal islands that do not lie within any municipal bounds. The UT land area is slightly over one half the entire area of the State of Maine. Year-round residents in the UT number approximately 9,000, about 1.3% of the state's total population, with many more people residing only seasonally within the UT. Only four of Maine's sixteen counties (Androscoggin, Cumberland, Waldo and York) are entirely incorporated, although a few others are nearly so, and most of the unincorporated area is in the vast and sparsely populated Great North Woods of Maine.[65]

Most populous cities and towns

Fact Finder US Census Maine Portland:

The 49 most populous cities and towns as of the year 2010 US Census
South Portland
Presque Isle
Cape Elizabeth
Old Orchard Beach
Old Town
South Berwick

Throughout Maine, many municipalities, although each separate governmental entities, nevertheless form portions of a much larger population base. There are many such population clusters throughout Maine, but some examples from the municipalities appearing in the above listing are:

  • Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook, Scarborough, and Falmouth
  • Lewiston and Auburn
  • Bangor, Orono, Brewer, Old Town, and Hampden
  • Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach
  • Brunswick and Topsham
  • Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, and Oakland
  • Presque Isle and Caribou[66]


Main article: Education in Maine

Public schools

Public schools are run by one of four types of school districts: 1) local for a single school; 2) School Union whose members share only a superintendent; 3) School Administrative District containing multiple towns and one superintendent; and 4) Community School District that has one elementary school that towns share.

Private schools are less common than public schools. A large number of private elementary schools with under 20 students exist, but most private high schools in Maine can be described as "semi-private." This means that while it costs money to send children there, towns will make a contract with a school to take children from a town or School Administrative District at a slightly reduced rate. Often this is done when it is deemed cheaper to subsidize private tuition than build a whole new school when a private one already exists.


Sports teams




State symbols


Maine in fiction


  • Stephen King, a Maine native and resident of Bangor, sets much of his fiction in Maine.
  • Charlotte Agell lives in Maine and has written several books set in Maine.
  • Gerald Warner Brace (1901–1978) lived in Deer Isle. All of his novels are set in New England, some in Maine.
  • Carolyn Chute (1947–) lives in Maine and set several novels in the fictional town of Egypt, Maine.
  • Robert P. T. Coffin (1892–1955) — Iconic Maine writer.
  • Terry Goodkind's The Law of Nines takes place in Maine.
  • John Irving wrote The Cider House Rules, a novel (and later a motion picture), set in several fictional Maine towns.
  • Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909) lived in South Berwick, Maine. Many of her novels and short stories were set in Maine.
  • John Cariani is an actor and playwright whose play "Almost, Maine" is set in a fictional town in the state of Maine.
  • Dean Koontz wrote Night Chills, horror/suspense novel, which takes place in the fictional town of Black River, Maine.
  • H. P. Lovecraft, who set almost all of his stories in New England, occasionally mentions Maine.
  • Robert McCloskey (1914–2003 ) authored several beloved children's books including "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Blueberries for Sal."
  • Ruth Moore's novels were based almost entirely in Maine, although she rejected the label of "regional writer."
  • Van Reid wrote The Moosepath League series of books, which are humorous adventures set in 19th-century Maine.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe composed Uncle Tom's Cabin almost entirely in Brunswick, Maine.
  • Henry David Thoreau wrote The Maine Woods, which he visited during his stay at Walden Pond.
  • Lewis Robinson's novel Water Dogs and many of his short stories in Officer Friendly and Other Stories are set in Maine.
  • E. B. White lived in Brooklin, Maine and used Maine as the setting of Charlotte's Web. He also wrote many essays about his experiences in Maine including "Once More to the Lake."
  • Kenneth Roberts (1885–1957) was a novelist of the Regionalist school, who wrote about Maine in works such as Arundel (novel)|Arundel, Northwest Passage (novel), Rabble in Arms and Boon Island (novel).
  • Janet Chapman writes several series of paranormal romance and contemporary romance novels set in Maine.
  • John Connolly's Charlie Parker mystery series is based in and around Maine.
  • Richard Blanco, the poet who read at President Obama's second inauguration, lives in Bethel.
  • Carrie Jones set a series of best-selling books in Maine, the 'Need Pixies Series'.
  • Elisabeth Olgilvie born in MA but summered in Maine wrote High Tide at Noon and others about lobster families of Maine's Islands.


  • 40 West (2011) a drama filmed and produced in Maine.
  • Belfast, Maine (1999) a documentary film on the quotidian life in Belfast, Maine by Frederick Wiseman.
  • The Beans of Egypt, Maine is a 1994 film directed by Jennifer Warren and is based on the 1985 novel by Carolyn Chute.
  • Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel, is set in Maine.
  • Casper, a 1995 children's film, is set in the town of Friendship, Maine.
  • The Cider House Rules, based on the John Irving novel, is set in several fictional Maine towns.
  • Dark Harbor, a 1998 mystery/suspense film is set on an island off the coast of Maine.
  • Darkness Falls, a 2003 horror film, is set in the fictional Maine town of Darkness Falls, but was filmed mostly in Australia.
  • Dreamcatcher, 2003 film adaptation of the Stephen King novel, is set in and around the town of Derry, Maine.
  • Empire Falls, a motion picture based on Richard Russo's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, was filmed almost entirely in Waterville and Skowhegan.
  • Graveyard Shift, a 1990 film adaptation of the Steven King novel, was filmed in Harmony, Maine but set in the fictional Gates Falls, Maine.
  • Todd Field's 2001 Academy Award–nominated film for Best Picture, In the Bedroom, is set in many towns throughout Maine including Rockland, Owls Head, Rockport, Camden, Thomaston, Trevette and Old Orchard Beach.
  • The Iron Giant, based on the novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, is an award-winning animated film that takes place in the fictional town of Rockwell, Maine, in the 1950s.
  • It Happened to Jane, a 1959 romantic comedy, is set in the fictional town of Cape Anne, Maine and prominently features the fictional Eastern & Portland Railroad, which was based loosely on the Boston & Maine Railroad and the New Haven Railroad.
  • Lake Placid, a 1999 comedy-horror film, is set by a fictional lake in Maine, starring Bridget Fonda and a large man-eating crocodile.
  • The Man Without a Face, a 1993 film starring Mel Gibson, was shot throughout Mid Coast Maine.
  • The Mist, a Stephen King novel, is set in Maine.
  • Pete's Dragon, a 1977 Walt Disney live-action/animated musical is set in Passamaquoddy, Maine[72]
  • Peyton Place, filmed in 1957, was set in New Hampshire but filmed in Camden region of Maine.
  • Red vs. Blue, a comic science fiction video series, features a character named Maine.
  • The Shawshank Redemption, an award-winning 1994 movie, was set in Maine.
  • Storm of the Century, a miniseries based on the Stephen King novel, takes place in Maine, along with many other adaptations of his books.
  • Welcome to Mooseport was a 2004 movie set in the fictional city of Mooseport, Maine.
  • Wet Hot American Summer is set near Waterville, Maine.


Video games

Web series

  • The award-winning web series Ragged Isle tells the story of a small island lobstering community located twenty-one miles off the coast of Maine. The island in the show is a fictionalized version of the real-life Maine island of Criehaven.

Notable residents

A citizen of Maine is known as a "Mainer,"[2] though the term "Downeaster" may be applied to residents of the northeast coast of the state.

See also


External links

State government
  • Maine government
  • Maine Office of Tourism Search for tourism-related businesses
  • Visit Maine (agriculture) Maine fairs, festivals, etc. - Agricultural Dept.
U.S. government
  • Maine State Guide, from the Library of Congress
  • U.S. EIA Energy Profile for Maine - economic, environmental and energy data
  • U.S. Geological Survey Real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Maine
  • U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Maine State Facts - agricultural
  • U.S. Census Bureau Quick facts on Maine
  • Portland Magazine Editorial on Maine news, events, and people
  • DMOZ
  • Maine Historical Society
  • Old USGS maps of Maine.
  • 1860 Map of Maine by Mitchell.
  • 1876 Panoramic Birdseye View of Portland by Warner at LOC.,
  • Portland Stage Company
  • Comprehensive compilation of media sources in Maine.
  • Geographic data related to OpenStreetMap

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on March 15, 1820 (23rd)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 45°30′N 69°00′W / 45.5°N 69°W / 45.5; -69

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