Introduction to Portland, Maine

Portland is situated on a peninsula located along Casco Bay on the southern portion of the Maine coast. The historic Old Port area is a very popular tourist destination in Portland. The city is recognized as the economic and social center for the state of Maine. Over the years the economy of the city had been primarily based in fishing, agriculture and manufacturing. However, the city now has a more service based economy.


Christopher Levett is recognized as the first European settler in the area. Levett was an English naval captain and in 1623 created a settlement in the Casco Bay region. Another settlement was established by the English in 1632 and was primarily used for fishing and trading. The town was given the name Casco. The named had been changed to Falmouth in 1658. In 1675 during the King's Philip's War the Wampanoag natives destroyed the village. A new village was constructed and was again ruined by the Wampanoag. The village was then rebuilt and subsequently torn apart by the Royal Navy during the American Revolutionary War. After the war was over a portion of Falmouth known as "The Neck" became a thriving commercial port.

Falmouth Neck became a separate town and was given the name Portland in 1786. Portland was recognized as a major railroad location in the 20th century. The Great Fire which occurred in 1866 during an Independence Day celebration destroyed a vast majority of the commercial buildings and ruined hundreds of houses. The city was rebuilt and the new structures were made from brick and provided the city with a Victorian appearance.


Amtrack's Downeaster provides train service to Boston. Portland International Jetport provides service for the area. Numerous locations in Casco Bay are provided service by ferry. The Metro offers bus transportation throughout the city.


Portland offers visitors numerous attractive historic buildings and a variety of other noteworthy attractions including:

  • Portland Museum of Art
  • Portland Observatory
  • Willard Beach
  • Portland Head Light and Museum
  • Western Promenade
  • Bug Light
  • Casco Bay
  • Stroudwater Village
  • Eastern Promenade
  • Victoria Mansion
  • Old Port
  • Wadsworth-Longfellow House
  • Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad

Higher Education

Portland is home to one of the campuses of the University of Maine. The primary academic subjects taught at the Portland campus include business, modern and classical languages, computer science, English and math. Other colleges with campuses in the area include:

  • Maine College of Art
  • University of Maine School of Law
  • University of New England


Total Population 66,490
Male Share of the Population 49.1%
Female Share of the Population 50.9%
Senior Citizens 12.8%
Employed Population 16+ 36,318
Age of the Population 36


% of people married 36.6%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 46.2%
Median Earnings25+ $33,441
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $15,377
Median Earnings With High School Degree $24,282


Median Family Income $66,831
% Above Poverty Level 80.3%
% Below Poverty Level 19.7%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 18 minutes
% Working from Home 5.7%
% Walking and Biking to Work 13.8%
% Using Public Transportation 3.1%


People Living Alone 38.7%
Median Gross Rent $946
Median House Value $239,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 15.8%
US/American 0.4%
English 17.4%
Irish 20.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Portland Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 98 miles NE of Boston, Massachusetts
County Cumberland
Metro Area Portland
Standard Zip Codes 04101, 04102, 04103, 04105, 04106, 04107, 04108, 04109, 04110
P.O. Box Zip Codes 04104, 04112, 04116
Company Zip Codes 04122, 04123, 04124
Phone Area Codes 207
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 43.661
Longitude -70.255

Portland Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.3 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 31 F
Apr Temp 35 to 53 F
Jul Temp 59 to 79 F
Oct Temp 37 to 58 F
Annual Precip 45.8 inches
Distance 23.1 miles
Jan Temp 10 to 31 F
Apr Temp 33 to 54 F
Jul Temp 58 to 80 F
Oct Temp 37 to 59 F
Annual Precip 48 inches
Distance 24 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 32 F
Apr Temp 32 to 52 F
Jul Temp 57 to 76 F
Oct Temp 36 to 58 F
Annual Precip 47 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Portland, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Cape Cottage (04107)

Cape Eliz (04107)

Cumb Foreside (04110)

Cumberland Foreside (04110)

Cushing Island (04109)

Diamond Cove (04109)

Diamond Island (04109)

Great Diamond Island (04109)

Little Diamond Island (04109)

Peaks Island (04108)

Pond Cove (04107)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Cape Elizabeth 9,157 $120,034
Falmouth 2,051 $128,036
Long Island 229 $60,938
Scarborough 4,601 $76,500
South Portland 25,304 $67,051
Westbrook 17,754 $59,219

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Portland Public Libraries

Portland - Stone Library
Portland, Maine

Portland Public Library
Portland, Maine
(207) 871-1700
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Portland Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(207) 879-3000
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(207) 871-0111
Emergency Service: Yes

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Portland High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,375 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.9

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,227 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.5

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 47 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 5.9

A Vocational School

Additional Details
Portland Careers
Portland career and employment information.
Portland Colleges
Portland colleges and trade schools.
Portland Graduate Schools
Portland Graduate and Business Schools
Study Online in Portland
Historic Portland


Portland (from House Island) between 1900 and 1906

Select a photo to view (Source):

Portland (from House Island) between 1900 and 1906

Union Station c1904.

Union Station between 1900 and 1910

Additional Resources
Info for Portland Government Officials

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