Maine and the communities herein are frequently lauded by national websites and publications for their qualify of life, a somewhat intangible trait our state nonetheless seems to be known for.
Even Forbes magazine, which annually and with great aplomb places Maine at the bottom of its business friendliness rankings, acknowledges the state is a nice place to live, offering it high marks for “qualify of life” while criticizing it for tax costs and regulations.
Earlier this month, the website 24/7 Wall St. — another financial news and opinion organization with a history of needling Maine for its relatively high taxes — tried its best to quantify what makes up a high quality of life. And Maine, taxes and all, was named one of the country’s best 10 in terms of quality of life.
The state was given points for its high employment rate (nearly 73 percent, 11th highest in the nation), low homicide rate (1.88 per 100,000, eighth lowest) and high voter turnout (nearly 69 percent, ninth highest).
But how did Maine really move the statistical needle? We have a lot of rooms.
“Like more than half of the best states for quality of life, Maine received a nearly perfect score for its housing,” reads the 24/7 Wall St. write-up. “Maine homes had an average of nearly three rooms per person, more than all but one other state. Spacious households are likely favored by Maine residents as the state’s long winter can keep people indoors for long periods.”
For what it’s worth, Maine ranked No. 8 on the website’s top 10, sandwiched between Massachusetts at No. 7 and Washington at No. 9.
Up at No. 1? Our neighbors in New Hampshire, where they have even higher employment and voter turnout rates and a lower homicide rate than Maine, as well as the nation’s best access to services and broadband Internet and America’s lowest poverty rate.
Minnesota came in at No. 2, with Vermont, Iowa and North Dakota rounding out the top five, in that order.
The worst qualify of life in the nation? That dubious honor, according to 24/7 Wall St., belongs to Mississippi, which had the country’s second lowest employment rate and household disposable income per capita, the second highest homicide rate and the highest poverty rate. The bottom five also included Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia and Tennessee.