Maine is located in the northeastern part of the country, it has one of the most beautiful wild forests in the area. Maine’s population density is fairly low, currently, the population is around 1.33 million people and this state doesn’t have any cities above 100k population. Generally speaking, states which do not have any cities above 100k population have some of the lowest crime rates, although the cost of living can be fairly high.
Maine is a fairly good off grid living state, living off the grid is legal, you can harvest rainwater legally and the state offers generous incentives and rebates both for solar and wind-powered energy. When it comes to the cost of living and the cost of property, Maine is right on the national average, although the property tax is somewhat higher than the national average. The main problem with this state is the local climate if you are not familiar with cold and long winters then you will be in for a shock.
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The biggest city in Maine is Portland with 66k people followed by Lewiston 36k, Bangor 32k, South Portland 25k, Auburn 23k, and Biddeford with 21k population. Maine is considered by many to be one of those states which are great for retiring, although it is somewhat costly. Due to the low population density, there are a lot of areas with untouched nature, and plenty of wildlife. Maine is famous for its seafood, almost everybody in this state loves eating seafood.
From an off grid living perspective, Maine has a couple of problems, due to its unique geographical position you will be somewhat limited to what kinds of crops you can grow. Most people who live off the grid in Maine tend to prepare for the winter through the summer. When preparing for winter I mean that they get as much firewood as they can, make all the maintenance during the summer, and even stockpile some food for the wintertime.
If you are planning to move to Maine and live off the grid then you will need to have a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle, and in some cases, you might also have to get a snowmobile. The quality of the roads are not bad, but during the wintertime black ice can form on the roads, and as there is plenty of wildlife in this state you will have to be really careful when driving especially during the wintertime. If you want to compare this state to one of its neighbors then I highly recommend you to check out my recent article Off grid living in New Hampshire ( The Granite State ).
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Maine has a typical east coast climate which is humid continental, summers are mild and winters are oftentimes long and fairly cold. The average temperatures during the summertime are around 70°F, and the average temperatures during the wintertime are 12°F. As Maine is a northern state you can expect the winters to last quite a bit, and almost everything you do during the summertime will be to get ready for the wintertime. If you want to raise farm animals for a profit then check out my recent article Best farm animals to raise to make a profit ( Top 9 Farm Animals ).
Types of crops grown in Maine
Due to its geographical position Maine is not the best state for growing crops, the main crops grown here are potatoes, followed by hay, oats, corn. Maine also produces a lot of vegetables and fruits although these are limited to greenhouses as summers tend to be fairly short which is not ideal for many types of vegetables and crops. In addition to this Maine also grows a lot of nursery products as well although most of them are grown in greenhouses. If you are looking for a state where you can grow plenty of crops then check out my recent article Off grid living in Ohio ( The Buckeye State ).
Freshwater availability in Maine
There is plenty of fresh water in Maine, there are not a lot of animal farms in this state which means that most of the groundwater is not contaminated with runoff from the farms. The average yearly rainfall is around 76″, and the average yearly snowfall is around 75″. Generally speaking, the areas which get the most rainfall and snowfall are in the south and southeastern areas which are close to the coast.
Maine has a fairly diverse wildlife, you can find anything from white-tailed deer, American black bear, moose, beavers to lynxes. Maine has a lot of lakes and rivers in which you can find lake trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout, splake, and chain pickerel. The main saltwater fish are alewife, Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic cod, pollock, Atlantic halibut, and American shad. You will need a separate license both for freshwater and saltwater fishing https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/laws-rules/license-requirements.html.
Generating power off the grid in Maine
- Solar power: The sun shines through the year and solar panels are a great way to generate power in this state. Main offers the Property-Assessed Clean Energy or PACE loan for those who can not afford a solar power system and the great thing about it that you do not even need a down payment. In addition to this, you can also use the federal tax credit which is around 26% of the total cost of the solar power system
- Wind power: You can use both the PACE loan and the federal tax credit for setting up a wind turbine. Generally speaking, the areas which are best for generating power with wind turbines are near the coast.
Maine off grid laws
You can live off the grid legally in Maine, you can also harvest rainwater legally so there is nothing stopping you from living off the grid as long as you follow the local building laws. If you want to homeschool your children you have the possibility to do so in this state, the homeschooling laws are fairly relaxed as long as you notify the local authorities. If you want to know where are the ebst places for off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Maine ( Top 6 Counties ).
Maine road access
The quality of the roads is fairly high in Maine, although due to the high snowfall during the wintertime you will definitely have some problems with road access. As the local climate is humid you will often find black ice forming on the roads which is a serious problem in some areas. In addition to this, some roads might be completely blocked off due to the snowfall although this tends to happen in remote areas only.
Maine price of land
The price of land and housing is right at the national average, the median cost of housing is around $229,400. Generally speaking the areas with the lowest costs for housing are in the northern parts of the state.
Maine property tax
The average property tax in Maine is around 1.35%, which is above the national average of 1.08%. York County has the lowest property tax in Main at 1.26%.
Cost of living in Maine
The cost of living in Maine is somewhat lower than the national average although barely. You will pay less for transportation with around 20%, but you will pay 3% more for utilities and around 7% more for groceries. Both the cost of housing and the health care costs are right on the national average level.
The unemployment rate in Maine is one of the lowest in the country, currently, it is at around 2.8% and the national average is at 3.6%. Over the past couple of years, the unemployment rate has dropped significantly, in 2018 Maine’s unemployment rate was at 3.5%. The minimum wage in Maine is at $11 per hour which is somewhat higher than in the neighboring states. The biggest industries where most of the people work are agriculture, manufacturing, shipbuilding, commercial fishing, tourism, and mining, although mining has seen a sharp decline over the past couple of decades.
Maine crime rate
Maine has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation, currently, there are around 1.12 crimes per 1000 people and the national average is at 4 crimes per 1000 people. The areas with the lowest crime rate are around Monticello – Bridgewater, Northern Piscataquis, Mount Desert, China, and Island Falls – Sherman Area. The areas with the highest crime rate are around Skowhegan, Rumford, Bangor, Portland, and Sanford.
Maine natural disasters
When it comes to natural disasters Maine is one of the safest in the country, the most common natural disasters are floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, and winter storms. The most frequently occurring natural disasters are snowstorms which can simply paralyze some areas of this state.
Overall Maine is a good state when it comes to off grid living, it has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation and natural disasters are fairly rare. When it comes to the cost of living Maine’s neighbors are a lot more expensive.