New England

‘Secret's Out': Portland, Maine, Among Top 10 Places to Live in New National Report

Boston, Worcester, Providence and New Haven were also on the the U.S. News and World Report list of the top 150 places to live in 2021-2022

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Several cities in New England ranked among the best places to live in the United States, including Portland, Maine, which made it in the top 10. It even beat out the other Portland. Oregon's landed at No. 10.

Boston, Worcester, Providence and New Haven were also on the U.S. News and World Report list of the top 150 places to live in 2021-2022.

Here's a breakdown of how the New England cities ranked:

Portland, Maine: No. 8

  • Job market: 7.6
  • Value: 6.6
  • Quality of life: 7.4
  • Desirability: 7.9
  • Net migration: 6.6
  • Overall: 7.2

Boston, Massachusetts: No. 31

  • Job market: 7.9
  • Value: 5.6
  • Quality of life: 7.1
  • Desirability: 7.8
  • Net migration: 6.2
  • Overall: 6.9

Hartford, Connecticut: No. 53

  • Job market: 7.6
  • Value: 6.4
  • Quality of life: 7.4
  • Desirability: 5.7
  • Net migration: 5.5
  • Overall: 6.7

Manchester, New Hampshire: No. 67

  • Job market: 7.3
  • Value: 6.3
  • Quality of life: 7.1
  • Desirability: 5.8
  • Net migration: 6.2
  • Overall: 6.6

Worcester, Massachusetts: No. 83

  • Job market: 6.7
  • Value: 6.5
  • Quality of life: 7.1
  • Desirability: 5.6
  • Net migration: 6.1
  • Overall: 6.5

Providence, Rhode Island: No. 106

  • Job market: 6.4
  • Value: 6.0
  • Quality of life: 6.7
  • Desirability: 6.2
  • Net migration: 6.0
  • Overall: 6.3

Springfield, Massachusetts: No. 109

  • Job market: 6.3
  • Value: 5.7
  • Quality of life: 7.0
  • Desirability: 6.1
  • Net migration: 5.7
  • Overall: 6.2

New Haven, Connecticut: No. 111

  • Job market: 7.4
  • Value: 5.3
  • Quality of life: 6.8
  • Desirability: 5.9
  • Net migration: 5.4
  • Overall: 6.2

Boulder, Colorado, held onto its title as the best place to live in the U.S., while Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, and Huntsville, Alabama, were ranked second and third.

"While Boulder maintained its place, the overall rankings show how the COVID-19 pandemic that overtook much of 2020 impacted many metro areas across the U.S., with soaring unemployment rates, altered views on where would be an ideal place to live and a rising cost of living in many parts of the country," the report read.

Portland ranked No. 1 for safest places to live in the U.S. while Boston came in at No. 13. The Maine city was also No. 9 for best places to live for quality of life.

A Maine couple found out the dumpling machine they'd ordered to be delievered to them in Portland was sent to Portland, but the wrong one. Portland, Oregon.

The publisher noted Portland's "fairly steady job market and growing reputation as a desirable place to live." It also touted its "college readiness among high school students, proximity to quality health care, crime, average commute time and overall well-being."

"I'm sorry the secret's out, we've known it for a long time," said Carol McGorrill, a Portland resident who was walking her dog along the Eastern Promenade on Thursday.

But Erin Abraham, the innkeeper at The Chadwick, a bed and breakfast in the city's West End, said she was "excited " to see Portland, "so high on the list," but "didn't feel like it was a secret before this."

She noted that Greater Portland had already gotten a lot of attention during the pandemic as a desirable place to live and home prices over time have shown that.

The city's government is also proud of the accomplishment, with an official Twitter account posting a link to the U.S. News & World Report List. However, city leaders and residents noted that increased popularity does create a literal cost when it comes to finding affordable housing.

Home prices in South Portland, Maine, are skyrocketing right now, and some are blaming the pandemic

Portland's government has been working to find solutions to that problem for years and people living in the city say it continues to be an issue, especially for young people and newcomers.

"My own kids are in that position where they live in Portland, want to work in Portland and it's really hard to find a place," McGorrill said.

"I feel like I'm walking a fine line because I want people to come here, I love it here, I think it's a great place, I feel lucky that I'm going to be able to stay here as someone that's running a business for tourists, but as a person that's rented for the last seven years, I feel for anyone that's looking for an apartment," Abraham said.

Even the U.S. News article notes the housing issue: "Portland is at a crossroads on how to move forward. New development is often met with opposition, while demand for affordable housing is high. An aging rental and housing stock combined with a tight market on mid-tier units has left middle-income earners struggling to settle in Portland."

That grappling over the future of affordable housing in the city creates a lot of unknowns over what's to come.

Some, like Abraham, wonder if high-rise buildings will become more of the norm in Portland, in order to create more housing in areas like its "peninsula" and, if so, how that might affect the city's appearance.

"The peninsula can't expand out, it can only expand up. I wonder how much people will build up," she said.

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