Portland and South Portland named two of New England’s top three cities

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, another list.

Just a few days ago, my colleague Whit Richardson wrote about how Portland was named one of Techie.com’s 10 most “unexpected” cities for high-tech innovation. That came on the heels of countless other nationwide lists lauding Portland or an establishment therein for its job growth, farmer’s market, brunch, beer, coffee, environmental friendliness, fitness, child-rearing environment, outdoor recreation, attractiveness for empty nesters, and of course, eligible women.

We’re reaching a point where it’s become arguably more newsworthy when a list judging America’s top cities for some particular niche doesn’t mention Portland or its environs.

And, of course, although Greater Portland is indeed great, the ubiquitous lists should be viewed for the most part with a grain of salt. Good to use in marketing and tourism brochures, and fun conversation starters, but not always developed with scientifically sound methods.

Friends of Casco Bay researcher Elizabeth Thompson works in No. 2 South Portland’s Mill Cove last fall while No. 3 Portland stretches across the background. (BDN file photo by Seth Koenig)

Disclaimers aside, here’s your latest list: Regional news and lifestyles website GoLocalProv.com placed South Portland and Portland Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in its ranking of the top 30 New England cities.

In GoLocal’s defense, its methodology in developing its list is among the more rigorous I’ve seen. More on that in a moment.

Cambridge, Mass., finds itself at numero uno on the list, the same place that particular city occupied in the website’s first such rankings last year at this time.

To claim the No. 2 spot, South Portland inched up from a third place finish in the 2012 list. Portland bumped up three slots, from a fifth place finish last year to No. 3 this time around.

Dropping out of the top three to make room for a greater Maine presence was South Burlington, Vt., which fell from second to fourth on the list.

Looking toward Columbia Street from Pickering Square in Bangor. (BDN file photo by Gabor Degre)
Gabor Degre

Other Maine cities in the top 30 were Bangor at No. 9 — up two spots from 2012 — and Lewiston and Auburn at Nos. 20 and 21, respectively. A little jockeying going on there between the Cities of the Androscoggin, as they swapped spots from a year ago.

The biggest plummet from 2012 was made by Stamford, Conn., freefalling from a No. 7 placement to 23rd this year, while the greatest leap forward was made by Waterbury, Conn., which jumped all the way from No. 38 [off the top 30 chart altogether] to 29th.

Boston, New England’s biggest city and home to all of our favorite major league sports teams, dropped from No. 10 in 2012 to No. 16 this year, for what it’s worth.

Here’s a few sentences from GoLocalProv.com on the site’s methodology in devising this list:

Inspired by national rankings from media outlets such as US News & World ReportForbes, and Business Week, GoLocal’s evaluation compares each state’s five largest cities, from the region’s smallest contender (Rutland, VT) to its largest (Boston, MA) in five general areas: Economics/Prosperity, Safety, Culture, Health, and Overall Quality of Life. Utlizing a total of 17 metrics ranging from median household income, unemployment, school quality and crime rates to arts-related employment, wifi hotspots, public libraries and walkability among others, the GoLocal proprietary formula quantifies the many qualities that go into a city’s fabric.


Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.