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October 4, 2022

Portland ranked among top 10 U.S. small cities

Map with dots Courtesy / WalletHub Portland is No. 9 in a WalletHub ranking of America's top small cities in 2022.

Maine's largest city ranks among America's best small cities, according to a WalletHub list released Tuesday.

The ranking puts Portland at No. 9 overall, less than a month after Forbes magazine named Portland among the top 25 places to retire. In the WalletHub list, Portland is in the 99th percentile, or top 1% of small cities. 

Among other Maine cities on the list, Lewiston was No. 43 and Bangor was No. 59.

For the ranking, the personal finance website compared more than 1,300 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 based on 43 key indicators of livability. They range from housing costs to school-system quality to restaurants per capita, and Portland is one of 20 cities in the top 1% of small cities in America.

Portland is No. 13 on the list in terms of quality of life, but way down the list, at No. 1.056, for affordability.

Lancaster, Penn. was at the top of the overall list, followed by Carmel, Ind., and Fair Lawn, N.J. Portland was one of three New England cities in the top 10, joining Lexington, Mass. (No. 4) and Needham, Mass. (No. 8).

Noting that nearly half of Americans say they would prefer to live in the suburbs, WalletHub researchers observed that "not everyone craves the bright lights and crowded spaces of big cities."

Some of the pluses of smaller communities: "More wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes."

While researchers cited fewer restaurant options as a tradeoff of living in a smaller city, that's clearly not the case in Portland, where new eateries are opening all the time and getting national attention.

Regards restaurant on Congress Street recently made Bon Appetit magazine's tally of the year's 50 best new restaurants, and Twelve, a new eatery on the city's East End, made a Vogue magazine list of the year's most anticipated restaurant openings.

Other takeaways from the WalletHub report: Los Altos, Calif., has the highest median annual household income at, $240.094, which is 11.4 times higher than Isla Vista, Calif., the city with the lowest at $21,018.

Castle Rock and Parker, Colo., have the lowest share of adults in fair or poor health, 8.9% each. That percentage is 4.1 times below Eagle Pass, Texas, the city with the highest percentage of adults in fair or poor health, at 36.9%.

Find the full WalletHub report here. 

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