Ask the average American to list the eight biggest cities in Maine, and they might come up with two. But there’s more to the Pine Tree State than Portland and the capital of Augustus, with college towns, beach retreats and suburban communities between.
Here’s a closer look at Maine’s biggest cities:
Maine’s most well known city is also its largest. Portland’s diverse population of 66,318 has risen slightly over the past three years, census data shows
, while the state’s population of 1.3 million has stayed flat. And thanks to Portland’s strong economy, scenic coastal setting and thriving food scene, the city frequently lands on national “best city” lists.
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Not far from Portland is Lewiston, a city of 36,437 that sits inland along Maine's Androscoggin River
. Once known for its textile mills, Lewiston has reinvented itself in recent years and earned recognition for economic growth. The city is also known for its elaborate Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
, built in 1870.
This city on the Penobscot River is a bit smaller than Lewiston, with 32,673 residents. Lumber and paper mills once drove the local economy. Today, Bangor has a college town feel, with the University of Maine in an adjacent suburb. But Bangor is best known as hometown of author Stephen King and the fictionalized setting of many of his stories.
4. South Portland
As with neighboring Portland, South Portland’s population of 25,255 is a bit younger, more diverse, and more highly educated than Maine overall. The suburban town has a huge working port, rail yard an airport, plus Maine’s busiest mall, making it an industrial and retail center for the state. And this city is more affordable than Portland, with its population growing a bit faster in recent years.
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This city of 22,987 has similar demographics to the state overall, though Auburn’s population has shrunk a bit in recent years. Adjacent to Lewiston, the neighbors are known as the Twin Cities, sharing everything from a college to an airport. Incomes are a bit higher in Auburn, as are median home prices. Plus Lake Auburn is here, offering excellent salmon fishing.
Just southwest of Portland along the Gulf of Maine is the state’s sixth largest city, with 21,297 residents. Biddeford is home to the University of New England, plus resort areas and one of the America’s earliest European settlements. Thanks to a revitalization effort, old mills have been converted in recent years to retail, food and art spaces.
A twin city with Biddeford, Saco boasts a growing population of 18,877. Residents here are a bit younger, more highly educated, and earn a higher median income than most Mainers. Saco is a tourist town during the summer, with beaches and popular theme parks luring crowds from throughout New England and beyond.
Rounding out the list of the eight biggest cities in Maine is the state’s capital, Augusta. The State of Maine is by far this city’s largest employer
, with high-tech, health, and utility companies also employing many of Augusta’s 18,793 residents. The city along the Kennebec River, in central Maine, is also home to a number of historic sites and museums.
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