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Updated November 30, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Maine flag


Maine State Information

Capital: Augusta

Official Name: State of Maine

Organized as a territory/republic: 1820

Entered Union (rank): March 15, 1820 (23)

Present constitution adopted: 1820

State abbreviation/Postal code: Maine/ME

State Area Code: 207

Fun Facts About Maine

Nickname: Pine Tree State

Origin of name: First used to distinguish the mainland from the offshore islands. It has been considered a compliment to Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I of England. She was said to have owned the province of Mayne in France.

Motto: “Dirigo” (“I lead”)

Sloan: "Welcome Home"

State symbols

Treat: Whoopie Pie (2011)

Flower: White pine cone and tassel (1895)

Tree: White pine tree (1945)

Bird: Chickadee (1927)

Fish: Landlocked salmon (1969)

Mineral: Tourmaline (1971)

Song: State March: “State Song” (1937); State Ballad: “The Ballad of the 20th Maine”

Animal: Moose (1979)

Cat: Maine coon cat (1985)

Fossil: Pertica quadrifaria (1985)

Insect: Honey bee (1975)

Berry: Wild blueberry

Crustacean: Lobster

Dessert: Blueberry pie (2011)

Herb: Wintergreen (1999)

Soft Drink: Moxie (2005)

Treat: Whoopie Pie (2011)


Governor: Janet Mills, D (since Jan. 2019)

Secretary of State: Shenna Bellows, D (since 2021)

Treasurer: Henry Beck, D (since 2019)

Atty. General: Aaron Frey, D (since Jan. 2019)

U.S. Representatives: 2

Senators: Susan Collins, R (to Jan. 2026); Angus King, I (to Jan. 2024)

Historical biographies of Congressional members

State website:


Residents: Mainer

Resident population: 1,362,359 (39th largest state)

10 largest cities (2012): Portland, 68,085; Lewiston, 36,360; Bangor, 32,236; South Portland, 27,905; Auburn, 24,212; Biddeford , 22,726; Sanford 22,497; Saco, 21,207; Westbrook, 20,912; Augusta, 19,058.[1]

Race/Ethnicity: White: 1,279,255 (93.9%); Black: 27,247 (2.0%); American Indian: 9,536 (0.7%); Asian: 19,073 (1.4%); Other race: 4,261 (0.1%); Two or more races: 27,247 (2%); Hispanic/Latino: 28,609 (2.1%).[2]

Religion: Protestantism (41%); Catholicism (21%); Unaffiliated (30%); Judaism (5%); Unitarian/Universalist (1%); New Age (1%); Others (1%).

Sex: Male: 671,643 (49.3); Female: 690,716 (50.7). Median age: 42.7.

Age: Under 18: 18%; 18-64: 60%; 65 and over: 23.


GDP: 65.5 billion dollars (29th in U.S., 2023)

Unemployment: 2.8% (2023)


Land area: 30,862 sq mi. (79,933 sq km)

Geographic center: In Piscataquis Co., 18 mi. N of Dover-Foxcroft

Number of counties: 16

Largest county by population and area: Cumberland, 293,557 (2010); Aroostook, 6,672 sq mi.

State forests: 1 (21,000 ac.)

State parks: 32

State historic sites: 18 (403 ac.)

See additional census data

Tourism office



Maine is located in the far northeastern part of the contiguous United States. It is home to a varied landscape of mountains, lush pine forests, and thousands of miles of coastline. Residents of Maine are employed in a strong tourist economy, lumber, and fishing industries. The 1.3 million Mainers are perceived as strong, self-sufficient people who can withstand the harsh winters and celebrate beautiful summers in their homes.

Maine Geography

Maine is located in the far north-eastern part of the United States. Its southern border is the Atlantic Ocean.  Maine shares its southwestern border with New Hampshire. The northern part of Maine extends into Canada, with the province of Quebec to the west and New Brunswick to the east. In total area, it is approximately 33,215 square miles (82,793 sq km). The other five New England states will almost fit inside Maine.[5] 

The highest mountain in Maine is Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park. It reaches a height of 5,268 feet (1,606 m) above sea level.[5] The name, Katahdin, is a Penobscot word meaning “Greatest Mountain.” Mount Katahdin is the northernmost point of the Appalachian Trail which stretches almost 2,200 miles to Springer Mountain in Georgia.[3][4]

The state of Maine has almost 3,500 miles (5,633 km) of coastline due to the number of bays, coves, and islands. One of the over 2,000 coastal islands, Machias Seal Island, is politically claimed by both Canada and the United States. Another unique feature is Old Sow, which, located in Passamaquoddy Bay in Maine, is one of the largest tidal whirlpools in the world.[3][5]

The coastlines of Maine vary greatly. Sandy beaches stretch from Kittery to Portland, while rocky coastlines dominate Acadia National Park. The state's shoreline stands out for its rugged and raw beauty. Maine boasts 65 lighthouses, which are stunning to view at night. Several are open to the public for museum tours during the day.[7]

Much of Maine is covered by a vast pine forest. Approximately 17 million acres of Maine’s interior is forested land.[5] Acadia National Park is one of the most popular Maine parks. Its 50,000 acres include Mount Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, rocky coastline, scenic motorways, and 150 miles (241 meters) of hiking trails.[6]

Maine sparkles with 5,100 inland waterways and 6,000 lakes and ponds which are home to land-locked salmon, trout, and other fish. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine offers 92 miles of canoeing, stunning fishing areas, and backcountry camping.[8]

Maine People and Population

The first people of Maine were the Wabanaki. This First Nation group is a collection of other tribes: the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot.[10]

Because Maine is such a large state in terms of area — 33,215 square miles (82,793 sq km) —and has a low population (1,362,359) there are only about 43 people per square mile in Maine. Aroostook County, Maine’s largest and most northern county, has the lowest population density of only 10 people per square mile.[9]

The greatest percentage of the state’s population (Mainers) (93%) reported themselves as white in the 2020 U.S. Census. The next two racial groups by size based on the census are Black (2%) and Hispanic/Latino (2.1%). Today, many other groups are reported on the census, though they are in small percentages.[2] Most immigrants to Maine in the modern day come from Canada, the U.K., Asia, and Africa. 

Over 44% of the population of Maine lives in the three most southern counties: York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin. In the last 20-30 years, people have moved from northern small towns to larger cities in the southern part of the state.[11] 

Maine Government

Like the United States federal government as a whole and many other U.S. states, Maine established a government with three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. 

The executive branch is headed by the Governor who is an elected official. The governor may serve 2 consecutive 4-year terms. The executive branch ensures that laws are carried out properly and oversees the Maine departments including Administrative and Financial Services; Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry; Corrections; Defense, Veterans, and Emergency Management; Economics, Education, Health & Human Services, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Public Safety.[12]

The Judicial branch is tasked with interpreting the laws of the state. Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court is made up of seven Justices. They decide appeals on a legal question that arises in lower courts, publish opinions about these appeals, and make policies for the lower courts.[13] The Judicial Branch oversees the Supreme Judicial Court, Superior Court, District, and Treatment Courts.[12]

The Legislative Branch creates the laws for the state of Maine. The Senate and the House of Representatives mirror those of the U.S. Government. The Senate’s 35 members and the House’s 151 members are elected every 2 years. This branch is responsible for the Office of the Executive Director, the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, the Office of Policy and Legal Analysis, and the Office of Fiscal and Program Review.[12]

Maine Economy

Maine’s diverse industries are directly related to the state’s wealth of natural resources. The major industry clusters are Forest Products, Life Sciences, Marine Aquaculture, Food/Agriculture, Outdoor Recreation, and Clean Energy.[14]

Maine’s forests have been in high demand for centuries. White pine trunks were used for masts on sailing ships. Pulpwood was used to create newsprint as the newspaper industry took off. Currently, Maine is involved in marketing mass timber, packaging, and using lower-quality logs to make new products from sustainably supported forests.[14]

The life sciences industry including medical research and biotech companies is flourishing in New England. Many companies are finding that facilities in Maine are less expensive and crowded while still offering easy access to major cities.[14]

Maine produces exceptional seafood. Ninety percent of the U.S. lobster supply comes from Maine’s lobster fleet. Aquaculture facilities in Maine produce clams, crab, seaweed, and sea vegetables.[14]

Agriculture and food development are strong industries in Maine. Maine produces 90% of the wild blueberries in North America. This state is also known for its potato production, coming in 4th in the United States.[5]. Beyond single-crop foods, Maine farmers produce local grains for breweries in the state.[14]

Tourism has long been an area of economic growth for Maine, especially outdoor recreation. The state has 25 ski areas for winter sports.[5] Summer recreation includes hiking, camping, canoeing, and an abundance of outdoor activities in the many State parks. Further economic benefits in the outdoor industry are evident in the manufacture and sale of outdoor gear.[14]

Clean energy is the wave of the future, and Maine is poised to meet that need. Maine uses solar, wind, and biofuels to supplement non-renewable energy resources. Offshore wind resources provide a major economic boost for Maine.[14]

Maine History

The history of Maine is rich and varied, stretching back thousands of years to when Native Americans first populated the state. The area was a center for shipbuilding during the American Revolution, while in the 19th century, the state's fishing industry flourished and literature born in Maine grew to prominence. During the early 20th century, tourism became an important industry. Today, Maine is a great place to visit or live due to its beautiful natural setting and charming communities. with its picturesque coastlines, quaint towns, vibrant cities, and outdoor activities.

Pre-Colonial History

The region which is now Maine was covered by glaciers 14,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found that Paleo-Indians lived in the area between 9,000 and 13,000 years ago. As the climate settled, native peoples used stone tools for hunting and fishing and began making pottery. These peoples became known as the Wabanaki Tribe.[10]

In the 1500s, European fishermen, explorers, and fur traders began exploring the region. They were treated as friends by the Wabanaki people.[10]

Colonial History

The Wabanaki and the Europeans created an extensive trade network across the Atlantic. Furs were the primary commodity at first. Beaver and other furs were in high demand by Europeans, while the Wabanaki wanted cloth, copper pots, and firearms in exchange. Both the English and French tried to claim the land in Maine for their own countries and tried to attract the Wabanaki people to their side. 

French settlers to the region called themselves Acadain and the region of land they were settling, Acadia. Conflicts with the British forced the Acadians west across what is now Maine into Quebec. Eventually, the Acadians made their way south to Louisiana where they preserved the French language. Their culture merged with those already in the south and the Acadians became the Cajuns.[23]

The British repeatedly tried to push the Wabanaki out of their homeland, or force them into treaties that took away their power. Therefore, the Wabanaki generally sided with the French to prevent the British from settling in Maine.[15]

Pre-Civil War History

After the American Revolution, Maine was considered part of Massachusetts. Business owners and political leaders attempted to separate Maine from Massachusetts in an effort to maintain their social power. However, this call for separation failed when the inland residents and farmers demanded equal representation and power in politics and business.[15]Differences between residents of Maine and those of Massachusetts stacked up. The Massachusetts Military did not support Maine against British occupation in the War of 1812. Another point of contention was religious freedom. Massachusetts had a law that allowed state taxes to support the Congregational church. However, Mainers did not want to send their money to the Congregational church. Eventually, political party conflicts strengthened the argument that Maine should be a separate state from Massachusetts.[15]

 The Missouri Compromise

In the years before the Civil War, the U.S. Government had an agreement called the Missouri Compromise which maintained the balance between free states and slave-holding states. In short, any time new states joined the United States, they had to join in pairs: one free state and one slave-holding state. Maine, the 23rd state, and Missouri, the 24th state, joined the United States together in 1820 with Maine as the free state.[15]

Civil War

Maine supported the Union when the Civil War began. 70,000 troops from Maine joined the fighting and Maine’s shipbuilding industry supported the Navy. With many of the men away fighting in the war, the women in Maine had to step forward into work that was typically done by men. They ran business, took over the farmwork, and worked in the textile mills.[16]

Post-Civil War History

After the Civil War, Maine’s lumber, granite, fishing, and other natural resource industries continued to provide work for almost half of the working population. These industries used traditional methods instead of incorporating new technologies. Joshua Chamberlain, a former governor of Maine, believed that the state should find a way to sustainably use its natural resources to increase its economic power.

With this in mind, Maine settled into a “dual economy” that produced industrial products like textiles, leather, canned goods, and foundry products as well as small, independently managed industries like local shops, artisans, and farms.

As the steel industry increased and ships were made of steel rather than wood, Maine’s shipyards lost business. They pivoted to making the Downeaster,  “a huge square-rigged vessel of tremendous strength and speed built to carry grain from Australia and California.”[17] 

Maine fisheries learned to improve their shipping methods by shipping live products in barrels filled with ice and seaweed. Other products were canned and shipped. 

The lumber and paper industries saw both growth and decline over the years in Maine as pine woods were depleted and uses were found for spruce forests to create pulped fiber. Alternating between these species gave the forests time to regrow allowing the industries to rise and fall. 

Modern History

In the early 1900s, modernism rocked life in Maine. Small communities tended to hold on to traditional ways of life and resist new technologies and ways of life.[17]

Paper production from pulp wood became a major industry in Maine. To support the conservation of the forests, the paper companies would not harvest spruce trees below nine inches in diameter. They also instituted forest fire controls with a Fire Commissioner, fire towers, and trained firefighters. Tourism continued to support the economy of Maine with Europeans touring North America and people seeking a cooler climate during the summer.[17]

From the 1920s through the 1940s, rural Mainers were fiercely independent, producing what they needed and only purchasing items in town occasionally. By the 1940s, there was an increase in rural Mainers moving into urban areas for work.

The Great Depression impacted Maine somewhat less than other states. Textile and paper industries in Maine were already functioning at fairly low levels. However, the potato farmers in Aroostook County did suffer from the Depression due to the decrease in potato prices. Rural Mainers struggled also, but since they were accustomed to self-sufficiency, they were better off than many others.

Like other Americans, many Mainers fought in the two World Wars. Portland, Maine was a base of Naval operations by 1941. Military defense spending turned Portland into a bustling city. In Bangor, Maine, Dow Air Force Base was built to support smaller twin-engine aircraft.

After the war, Maine clung to its traditional methods of industry and production keeping it behind the rest of the country economically. Between the 1970s and 2000 Maine modernized its various industries. However, Mainers still managed to hold on to and celebrate their traditions. Tourism grew from 10 million visitors to 45 million visitors in 2004.[18] Maine’s paper, service, and defense industries remained fairly stable throughout this time. The fishing industry faced ups and downs, though the lobster industry developed an outstanding example of how to sustainably manage a fishing industry.[18]

While Maine tried to adapt to changing technologies, some decisions negatively affected the environment that many Mainers revered. The Kennebec River, a 230-mile watershed, was dammed in 1837. The dam devastated fish populations and wetland areas. The dam was removed in 1999 in order to help restore the land and the river to its proper place in the ecology of Maine.[22]

Today, Maine is committed to preserving a traditional way of life, preserving the ecology of the state, supporting industry, and innovating new developments in health, education, and artisanal products.

Maine Interesting Facts

Maine, the northeasternmost U.S. state, is known for its rocky coastline, maritime history, and nature areas like the granite and spruce islands of Acadia National Park. It's also home to unique wildlife, delicious seafood, and a rich cultural heritage. Here are some interesting facts about Maine that make it stand out from the rest.

Lobsters Galore!

Maine’s annual lobster yield is over 40 million pounds. This is about 90% of the nation’s lobster supply.[20]

Frightfully Famous

Acclaimed horror novelist Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. He divides his time between Bangor, Maine, Center Lowell, Maine, and a winter home in Florida.[19]

Where Do Toothpicks Come From?

Maine once produced 7 billion toothpicks per year. The Strong Maine toothpick company closed in 2003 due to the rise of floss and the influx of toothpicks from Asia.[20]

People Also Ask...

If you are interested in more information about the state of Maine, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common FAQs below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our quiz on Which U.S. States Have the Most Electoral Votes?

And, while you’re here, find out about the largest lobster ever caught and more facts about lobsters, or discover more information about potatoes and where they grow.

Is Maine a Good Place To Live?

Maine is one of the safest places to live. Life in Maine is laid back and traditional but also has pockets of active urban life. Southern Maine is close to big cities like Boston and New York so it is conveniently located. Maine definitely has winter, however, so if you don’t like the cold and snow, this may not be the best choice. On the other hand, if your love winter sports, Maine has you covered.

What Is Maine Most Famous For?

Maine is the most northeastern state in the United States. It is known for its rugged beauty, extensive coastlines, lighthouses, lobsters, and outdoor activities.

Why Is Maine Called Maine?

The theory is that the name comes from a nautical term referring to the mainland rather than the islands. So it was called “the Main,” or “Meyne” which developed into today’s spelling, Maine.[21]

See more on Maine:
Encyclopedia: Maine
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
Monthly Temperature Extremes

Selected famous natives and residents:

The 50 States of America | U.S. State Information
Sources +

[1] World Population Review. (2023). 10 largest cities in Maine. Cities in Maine by Population (2023). 

[2] QuickFacts: Maine. United States Census Bureau. (2022b). 

[3] The geography of Maine. Maine Home Connection. (2022). 

[4] Greenspan, J. (2023, May 16). 10 things you should know about the Appalachian Trail. 

[5] Facts about Maine. (2023).,bays%2C%20coves%20and%20similar%20indentations

[6] U.S. Department of the Interior. (2023a). Acadia National Park, Maine: Places to go. National Parks Service.

[7] Maine Office of Tourism. (2023). Over 60 historical lighthouses in Maine. Visit Maine.

[8] Maine Office of Tourism. (2023a). Allagash wilderness waterway . Visit Maine. 

[9] Aroostook County Quick Facts. Aroostook County Government. (2023). 

[10] Jalali, R. (2023). 400 years of New Mainers. Maine Memory Network. 

[11] Population density by county. Maine: An encyclopedia. (2019, October 21). 

[12] Branches of Government. (2017).,%2C%20Legislative%2C%20and%20Judicial%20branches

[13] Supreme Judicial Court. Supreme Court: State of Maine Judicial Branch. (2023). 

[14] Maine Office of Business Development. (2022). Key industries. Key Industries . 

[15] First peoples. Maine State Museum. (2021a). 

[16] Maine and the Civil War. Maine State Museum. (2021c). 

[17] 1870-1920 the end of the Ocean Highway. Maine History Online. (2010). 

[18]1970-present Rediscovery & Rebirth. Maine History Online. (2021). 

[19] King, T., & DeFilippo, M. (2020). Stephen King. 

[20], says:, says:, Says:, says:, says:, says:, says:, & says: (2023, March 17). 53 interesting facts about Maine: What is Maine known for?. VisitMaine.Net. 

[21] Schroeder, E. (2022). Origin of Maine’s name. Origin of Maine’s Name: Maine State Library. 

[22] Kennebec. Maine Rivers. (2023, March 8). 

[23] National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior. (2022, July 22). From Acadian to Cajun. Jean Lafitte National Pard and Preserve Louisiana. 

See also: