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Cost of Living in Maine, 2023

April 10, 2023
Thinking about moving to the Pine Tree State? Find out more about the cost of living in Maine, from housing, food, transportation, and more!

Maine is the northeasternmost state of the United States and is commonly referred to as the Pine Tree State for its extensive pine forests covering a vast portion of the state. In addition to its pine trees, Maine is also known for its lobsters and wild blueberries, covering over 40,000 acres.

For the northeastern United States, Maine has considerably affordable housing options and a relatively low cost of living, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to make the most of living out east. Even better, U.S. News ranks Maine as #1 on its Public Safety Rankings, giving it a lower crime rate overall.

If you’re considering moving to Maine, you’ve come to the right place. First, you’ll want to check out this apartment guide. Next, do some research to determine Maine’s cost of living prices. Thankfully, here at Apartment List, you can take a closer look at the cost of living in Maine and gain a better understanding of what type of budget you’ll need.

Maine Housing Costs

Aerial view of Bar Harbor, Maine, maine housing costs, cost of living in maine

Your housing costs should always be one of your first considerations, as they are likely to be your highest living expenses. Whether you plan on renting or making mortgage payments each month, it’s safe to assume that housing costs will take up the most significant portion of your monthly expenses. You’ll want to start by building a budget, with housing costs at the top.

The Maine rental market is highly affordable, even amongst the most populated cities. Here is a list of median rent prices in four of the most densely populated Maine cities, including Portland, South Portland, Bangor, Auburn, and Lewiston.

CityStarting 1-Bedroom RentStarting 2-Bedroom Rent
Portland, ME$1,372$1,622
South Portland, ME$1,372$1,815
Bangor, ME$850$1,000
Auburn, ME$950$1,200
Lewiston, ME$650$1,200

Renting with a roommate might be an option to consider if you are looking for further savings on housing costs. For example, if you rent in Portland and split the costs of renting a two-bedroom apartment, you can pay just $831 per month versus renting a one-bedroom apartment on your own.

Maine has rental properties in all forms, perfect for any renter. Choose from the ideal townhouse, apartment, or condo in a bustling downtown area, or opt for a quieter suburb in a rental home.

Maine Transportation

Maine is one of the largest northeastern states in the country, which can increase transportation costs over time. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, average annual transportation costs are about $4,470 for a single individual. Larger families, such as families with two working parents and two children, can expect to pay around $11,821 in transportation costs annually.

Having a vehicle in Maine is the best way to get around, considering the limited public transportation available across the state. Luckily, the state does an excellent job of keeping highways in good condition year-round, despite temperamental bouts of weather. Gas prices in the state range from around $3.53 per gallon, depending on the city.

Portland is a more walkable city, only covering a 3.5-mile by 1.5-mile footprint. You can easily get around via train or bus within the compact downtown area. Greater Portland METRO provides public transportation via trains, planes, ferries, and regional buses throughout the Greater Portland area.

Most one-way fares cost $2.50, round-trip fares cost $5, and monthly passes cost $85. You can even go online to purchase tickets from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. You can purchase fares for all three transit systems with cash or through the DiriGo TouchPass system.

In Portland and Bangor, you'll spend $3.67 per gallon on gas. You can compare this to the national average of $3.78 per gallon.

Portland, Maine lobster company is a historical restaurant and lobster market at Portland sea side.

Maine Food Costs

The average single Maine resident spends around $4,559 annually on food costs and can expect to pay roughly $379.92 per month. For a family of four, with two working adults and two children, these costs nearly triple to $13,429 annually, approximately $1119.08 per month.

Compared to the rest of the country, these food costs are relatively reasonable. However, it’s important to remember that these figures are associated with food picked up at the local Hannaford, Shaws, or Food City and prepared at home. Those who aren't comfortable in the kitchen will likely need to add a considerable amount to properly budget for additional dining out costs.

Maine is known for its incredible seafood (most notably the Maine lobster), so you’ll want to get out and enjoy some from time to time. Erica’s Seafood in Harpswell, Wharf Gallery & Grill in Corea, or Thurston’s Lobster Pound boasts some of Maine's best lobster.

Here is a breakdown of the average cost for a meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant, with three courses, by city:

  • Portland: $85
  • Lewiston: $90
  • Bangor: $60

Maine Healthcare Costs

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is ideal and proper healthcare is an essential aspect of that. Even if just for simple annual checkups with the doctor, it is still critical to have health insurance wherever you live. Emergencies can happen to anyone, and health insurance can help ensure you get the necessary treatment.

Healthcare is a substantial aspect of your cost of living when moving to Maine. A single adult without children will pay around $3,107 for medical care in a single year. A family of four with two working adults and two children can expect to pay $9,316.

Check the federal healthcare marketplace to see what coverage is available in your new location. You’ll also want to report your move to qualify for out-of-state coverage, as relocating outside of an enrollment period can cause complications.

Even when moving to a new state, you can maintain your standing if you are under 26 on your parent’s insurance plan. Check with your current provider to see if your new Maine hometown has doctors that fall within the network.

Maine Utilities

Average utility bills in Maine can vary, depending on your city and climate. Because Maine is in the northeastern most portion of the United States, you can anticipate cold winters with an average annual snowfall of 50 to 70 inches along the coast and 60 to 110 inches inland.

In Maine, utilities typically fall below the national average of $240 monthly. The average cost of monthly utilities, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 square foot apartment, is broken down by the major cities in Maine:

  • Portland: $164.18
  • Lewiston: $237.32
  • Bangor: $206

These costs only cover basic utilities, and do not cover additional items such as Internet. The average monthly costs of internet of 60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, or cable/ADSL in these major cities are roughly:

  • Portland: $71.43
  • Lewiston: $92.50
  • Bangor: $70.36

Consider your cell phone bill too, with a national average monthly payment of $127.27. Bundling your cell phone with your internet provider may help with additional discounting in some areas. Sometimes you can ask about additional discounts for new customers.

Learn more about the estimated utility costs per city!

Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park in Maine

Maine Fitness and Entertainment

Maine has fitness and entertainment opportunities for everyone. Enjoy running, hiking trails, and fitness classes throughout the state. There is a wide range of national and state parks available, which help encourage residents to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful state. Just don’t forget to account for some of your fitness and entertainment expenses in your budget.


Because of the snowfall in the cold winters, maintaining your fitness year-round will require a gym membership. Thankfully, the average cost of a fitness club in major cities throughout Maine is relatively low:

  • Portland: $44.80
  • Lewiston: $22
  • Bangor: $15

In warmer months, you can save on some of your gym membership fees by taking up other outdoor activities like checking out Bar Harbor, Monhegan Island, or the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

National and State Parks

Maine is home to four national state parks. Entrance fees vary, but you can also purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass annual pass for $80, which allows access to:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
  • Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Aside from national parks, Maine has 32 state parks with daily rates ranging from $3 to $7 per adult Maine resident. Some of the most popular state parks include:

  • Camden Hills State Park in Camden
  • Reid State Park in Georgetown
  • Baxter State Park in Piscataquis County
  • Rangeley Lake State Park in Rangeley
  • Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth

Otherwise, take to popular indoor activities around the state such as the Farnsworth Art Museum, Allagash Brewery, or the Portland Museum of Art.

Other Expenses to Consider in Maine

One major downside to this east coast state is its progressive income tax rate, one of the highest in the country. Maine’s income taxes are currently at the rate of 7.15%. Thankfully, the state has one of the country’s lowest sales tax rates at 5.5%, with no additional local sales tax.

Moving from out of state might come with additional expenses, requiring additional budgeting for movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. Moves can require apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other additions that stack up.

Another overlooked moving expense is furnishing your new home. Decorating can be fun, though it can be costly unless you are careful to decorate your apartment on a budget.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Maine?

DDetermining a liveable salary in Maine will mostly depend on your preferred lifestyle. The living wage in Maine is $16.53 per hour, which is the basic wage needed to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities for an individual adult. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Maine is $63,182 per year, roughly $31.41 per hour.

Using this information, you can determine your recommended salary by utilizing the 30% rule. The 30% rule says you should not be spending more than one-third of your gross income on rent.

So, to determine how much money you will need to make, you can assume you’re planning to rent in Portland, where the starting rent for a one-bedroom is $1,600. According to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least three times this amount, equalling $5,333.33 per month, or $64,000 annually.

Final Thoughts

Maine offers incredible food, breathtaking coastal views, and fairy-tale winters, perfect for renters looking for anything from quiet cabins to high-rise city apartments. So, if the east coast is calling you and you just can’t ignore the low cost of living it has to offer, Maine might be the place for you. Register with Apartment List today and start browsing hundreds of available apartments available for rent in Maine!

FAQs: Cost of Living in Maine

How expensive is an apartment in Maine?

Depending on the city you choose, the rents for Maine apartments vary. The starting rent for a one bedroom apartment in Portland, ME is $1,372 and $1,622 for a two bedroom apartment. A one bedroom apartment in South Portland, ME is $1,372 and a two bedroom apartment is $1,815. A one bedroom apartment in Bangor, ME starts at $850 and a two bedroom at $1,000. A one bedroom apartment in Auburn, ME starts at $950 and a two bedroom at $1,200. A one bedroom apartment starts at $650 in Lewiston, ME and a two bedroom apartment starts at $1,200.

What is the cheapest rent in Maine?

Lewiston is among the cheapest cities in Maine. A one-bedroom apartment in Lewiston costs $650. A two-bedroom apartment in Lewiston is $1,200.

How expensive is it to live in Maine?

The starting rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Portland costs $1,600. A single adult in Maine will spend $4,559 a year on food and a family of four will pay $13,429. Adults will spend $4,470 on transportation and a family of four will spend $11,821.

How far is Maine from New York?

Maine is 447.6 miles to New York via I-95 S. Driving between Maine and New York takes 7 hours and 24 minutes.

What is the population of Maine?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Maine was 1,377,238 in 2021.

What is a good salary in Maine?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income in Maine is $63,182. However, we recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on rent. If a one-bedroom apartment in a city like Portland costs $1,600, you should earn at least $64,000 per year or $5,333.33 per month.

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Emily Kho
Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics associated with the rental market and real estate industry. With over a decade of professional writing experience, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a Bachelor of Science from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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