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Updated: April 16, 2024

Portland ranks as top US city for remote work, and among world's best

Portland city scene behind water File Photo / Renee Cordes Portland is ranked the top US city for remote work and No. 7 in the world, according to a comparison released Tuesday.

Among 100 cities worldwide ranked for being the best places to work remotely, Portland comes in at No. 7 and gets top billing in the United States, according to a study released Tuesday.

The No. 7 spot puts Maine's largest city between Paris, France, and Taipei, Taiwan, in a list compiled by Remote, a San Francisco-based tech company whose platform helps companies build, manage and support globally distributed workforces.

The Spanish capital of Madrid leads the global list, followed by Madeira, Portugal, at No. 2, and Toronto, Canada, at No. 3.

Among U.S. destinations, Portland is followed by Honolulu (No. 2); Des Moines, Iowa (No. 3); New York (No. 4) and Concord, N.H. (No. 5). Portland is well ahead of all four on the global list. 

Nate Wildes, the executive director of Live + Work in Maine who recently said all such rankings should be taken "with a few pounds of Maine sea salt," welcomed Portland's strong showing in this one.

"Those individuals and employers who are already living and working in Greater Portland should be proud of this acknowledgement," he told Mainebiz. "The supportive remote working culture, the social scene and thriving startup ecosystem are the evidence this ranking can point to.

He added that "Maine has been saying ‘the way life should be’ for decades — and now, employers are seeing evidence that having employees in Maine is an economic competitive advantage, too. The way life should be and the way work could be go hand in hand."

Pluses and minuses

Based on an in-depth analysis of factors from quality of life to safety and the cost of living, Remote's list aims to guide digital nomads and other remote professionals in deciding where to work.

“Some people might call this city the ‘Other Portland,’ but this East Coast locale ranks high on many 'best places to live' lists,” Remote says in its description of Portland. “Immigrant populations have increased diversity of a traditionally hard-to-reach region, so international visitors may feel more at home here than in the rest of Maine.”

Remote also notes that while housing costs are on the rise in Portland, they are still below the national average. The ranking's write-up mentions a $373 minimum tax credit (up to $15,660) offered to college graduates who live in Maine as an incentive to embrace living in the state.

But Remote also warns: “Be ready for foggy, damp weather all year with cold, snowy winters.” 

Portland's stellar showing in Remote's rankings presents a different picture from personal finance website WalletHub, which recently put Maine as the 9th-worst state for working from home.

Remote originally published its list of Best Destinations for Remote Work in 2021, when distributed work was still relatively novel and travel restrictions remained in place in some countries. 

This year’s tally was updated with new criteria including inflation and the availability of a digital nomad visa, which the company says is now offered by more than 50 countries. 

More information

Find the full list and rankings here. 

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