If you’ve ever been to the great state of Maine, you may have picked wild blueberries on the side of the road, visited a harbor town or hiked a mountain trail in a national park. The pace of the state is a bit different than in other areas of the country. Graphic designers’ salary in Maine is competitive with other east coast locations.
Maine is the most northeastern state in the continental U.S. It’s bordered by Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Vermont and Ottawa. The coastline is often rocky and you might spot a moose or two when you visit Baxter State Park. Lighthouses dot the landscape and lobster boats go out on daily runs from most port towns.
Although you’ll still pay east coast prices for some things, you’ll find a much lower housing cost than in some of the nearby states.
It can get very cold in the winters in Maine, so when choosing whether you want to live and work in the state, consider your ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Even though the cost of living in Maine is a bit higher than southern states or the Midwest, it has one of the lowest costs along the eastern seaboard.
If you love the great outdoors and can eat fresh lobster with the best of them, then Maine is a good location for you.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Maine?
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median pay for a graphic designer in the country is $27.88 per hour with a bachelor’s degree. The job outlook through 2032 is a 3% growth rate per year.
The rate of nearly $28 per hour is on the higher end of what graphic designers make on average but keep in mind that rates are much lower in a coastal town so far from the major ports such as New York. Also, starting salaries will be even less. On the flip side, those with ample experience may find they can earn significantly higher wages for the same position.
Augusta serves as the capital city for the state. Indeed estimates graphic designers make an average of $19.60 per hour in the major city, which is around 8% lower than the national average. In Portland, the average drops to $18.86 per hour, about 11% lower than the national average.
Many other cities sit between those two options, from extremely rural to fishing villages to tourist areas. In addition, freelancers may be able to branch into serving clients in nearby bigger cities and making higher wages.
Graphic designers in the United States make about $50,710 per year, or around $24.38 per hour. As a career, design can pay less than some other options. You can up your pay by adding specialty areas, such as user experience (UX) knowledge or add in web design and other areas that pay a bit more. You can also pick up side gigs if you like to stay busy.
According to Indeed, the average graphic designer salary in Maine is $23.05 per hour, which equals $62,167 per year. Some of the highest paying cities for graphic designers include New York City at $62.318 per year and Los Angeles at $64,359 annually.
While you’ll make a decent wage in the Pine Tree State, but you’ll also pay a premium for housing and other expenses. Your best bet is to get slightly away from the ocean to reduce living expenses. You can still drive to the coasts and enjoy the seaside treasures Maine offers.
Average Cost of Living in Maine
If you love the quaint cobblestone streets of New England, beautiful fall colors, all four seasons and the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll be happy to hear the average prices to live in Maine are much lower than some other states in the region.
SoFi gathered data from government entities, such as the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Meric to decipher just how much it costs to live in the Pine Tree state. Expect to pay around $50,559 per year to survive in the state. Around $8,760 goes to housing and utilities and about $4,500 to food.
Out of the five neighboring states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, Maine has the lowest cost of living in the area. It’s clearly much cheaper to live there than one of the larger cities like New York or Los Angeles.
Housing and utilities come in at around $8,760 annually, food around $4,499 and gas and energy at $1,580. Plan on $4,213 per month for a single person. Housing runs anywhere from $673 to $1,398 a month, with a median mortgage of $1,471.
Finding affordable housing can be a bit difficult. The cost of homes rose over the last few years, although the real estate market nationwide is now evening out thanks to higher interest rates. However, the issue some people run into when house hunting in Maine is that there is a lack of available properties to purchase. Some examples of home prices include:
- Portland $447,810
- Lewiston $273,323
Where you choose to buy has a huge impact on how much you’ll pay for an average home. When a company offers you an employee compensation package, crunch all the numbers to see if you’ll be able to afford to live in a nice location in the area you’re planning to work.
As with most states, fuel costs vary by location. Those who live in Maine tend to drive a lot, which raises transportation costs. However, insurance for residents is the second cheapest in the country. MIT’s Living Wage Calculator puts tranportation costs for a single adult around $4,470 per year.
The state sales tax may be one of the most attractive parts of living in the state, coming in at only 5.5%.
Factor in other things such as whether they allow you to work from home some of the time and save money on clothes, lunches out and commuting costs.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Maine–Portland?
One of the more expensive places to live in Maine is Portland. However, many people choose to set down roots here because of the town’s frequent mention in best places to live in the United States. It has appeared on Pods, U.S. News and World Report and in many smaller publications as a top contender thanks to its small town New England vibe with a lot to offer in the way of shops, restaurants and activities.
Portland is one of the largest cities in Maine. You’ll find cobblestone streets from days gone by and ships off the Casco Bay. You’ll enjoy art, culture and fresh seafood. Locals call the area the “Peninsula.” Around 536,314 people call the city home, although the number varies as it’s a city on the move. You can buy your own place here for around $310,300. The median age is 43.7 years old.
Glassdoor lists around 14 graphic designer jobs for the whole state. Several are in the Portland area. The salary ranges from $41,000 to $82,000 per year. One mid-level position lists a possible salary range between $48,000 and $52,000. Another goes up to $61,000. On the other hand, moving into management can bring in quite a bit higher salary, with one job listing the range up to $100,000 per year.
There aren’t a lot of comparables to living in Maine. The state has a very unique vibe and offerings. However, pricing wise, midwestern Indiana graphic designers make around the same amount with housing costs in a similar category. The states are just quite different from one another and not likely to attract the same types of people as residents.
There do seem to be very few positions at any given time for the state. Seeking outside, remote jobs might be more conducive to the highest salary possible and more opportunities. You can always take something fully remote while you’re looking for a local position, too.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Maine–Augusta?
Augusta serves as the state capital of Maine, bringing with it some interesting opportunities. Smack in the middle of the state, August sits about 55 miles north of Portland. The city was founded in 1849 and runs alongside the Kennebec River.
The governor’s home resides in the city and residents enjoy a riverside park, trains and beautiful gardens at the Viles Arboretum. A mere 19,000 people live in the city, making it quite small in comparison to other areas.
Glassdoor estimates the median salary for a graphic designer in Augusta runs about $49,438 per year. Entry-level wages run as low as $35,000 and upper-level tiers hit upwards of $70,000 per year.
In your spare time, you can peruse the old fort, visit the Maine’s state musuem or or hike the Kennebec River Rail Trail.
How Much Is Graphic Designer Salary in Lewiston, Maine?
Because of the lower housing costs, we looked at Lewiston, Maine as a possible place to live and work.
Lewiston is one of the large cities by population in the Pine Tree State. Indeed listed the base salary for Lewiston around $19.30 per hour. Those with over 10 years of experience make closer to $25.00 per hour.
The rates are pretty comparable to other areas, when you factor in a slower pace of life and lower vehicle maintenance and insurance costs. For example, median pay in Dallas, Texas is $22.02 per hour.
The second largest population in Maine, Lewiston is in the central part of the states. It is around halfway between Augusta and Portland. Around 36,000 residents call the town home.
If you’re a Patrick Dempsy fan, you may recognize the town, which still has a small town feel with small bakeries and community gatherings. In your spare time, you can go hiking, fishing or take in a Blue Devils soccer game.
The cost of housing in this small town is fairly inexpensive as it is further from the coast and the other larger cities of Augusta and Portland. By most measures, a town of 36k is pretty small, with a homey feel.
However, the severe limitation of available positions may make it much more competitive to land a job. As with many locations, consider starting your own business or working remotely for the widest available opportunities.
The area is home to a number of fun festivals and has shops, restaurants and activities along the riverfront, making it a pleasant place to work and live.
Should You Move to Maine?
The Pine Tree State is quite beautiful, especially in the spring and summer. In the fall, the leaves turn gorgeous colors, although not quite on par with Vermont and some of the other eastern states. Winters can be harsh, so be prepared to brave the cold for several months a year and deal with plenty of snow.
The feel of the Pine Tree State is quite rural, putting one in mind of the empty spaces in states such as Indiana and Nebraska. Maine is a gorgeous state tucked up in the northeastern arm of the country. Just as with any place, there are pros and cons to living in Maine. The people of Maine have learned to be self-sufficient thanks to harsh winters and living in the middle of nature. The state serves as an endpoint to the Appalachian Trail.
You might see moose while hiking through Baxter State Park or stumble upon a lighthouse at West Quoddy Head. Old forts, widow’s walk houses and lobster shacks dot the coastline. There are many reasons to love Maine. Let’s look at the pros and cons of living there as a full-time resident.
Overall, the state has a slower paced vibe than other parts of New England. It’s a great place to raise a family and kick off your graphic design career.
- Affordable housing
- Lower cost of living for New England
- Coastal activities, drives and views
- Fresh fish and excellent local cuisine
- Low crime rates
- Natural beauty
- Enjoy all four seasons
- Extreme weather (brutal winters)
- Lack of available jobs
- Low wages for graphic designers compared to other areas
- Very rural in many areas
- Older population
- Lack of diversity
- Things close early
Summers are some of the most pleasant in the country and are very mild, more than making up for the harsher winters. Maine sits right up at the northern tip of the country, so is sometimes overlooked as a smaller distant state. However, it has its own personality and those who have visited or live there tend to love the location.
Even though job opportunities are scarce in most areas in Maine, you can always open your own design agency or seek out remote opportunities. It’s definitely a location worth looking at because of the higher graphic designer salary in Maine and what the state offers to those who enjoy a slower pace of life.
Is Moving to Maine a Smart Move for a Graphic Designer?
If you have family in Maine or just want a slower pace of life, moving to the state might be the perfect solution for your career. Keep in mind that you’ll need plenty of time to job hunt and should network to find the best connections.
Living in Maine can be quite rewarding and the lower cost of living makes this an attractive east coast state to consider.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.