Maine is the 14th best state in the country, and No. 1 for cats

So says Politico, so it must be true. Actually, the cat part comes from elsewhere, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Politico Magazine, inspired by a 1931 endeavor by H.L. Mencken to rank each state from best to worst, undertook the same task today. A few things have changed since then — the statehood of Hawaii and Alaska, for one — but the results were eerily similar. New England states ranked high and Mississippi, poor Mississippi, ranked dead last.

Where Mencken’s list was hopelessly intertwined with the writer’s “prejudices of the time period” and its methodology flawed, wrote Politico’s Margaret Slattery, the D.C. news outlet considered metrics such as wealth, unemployment, poverty rates, education, home ownership and other metrics most Americans could agree on.

For what it’s worth, Mencken had Maine ranked 13th back in 1931. This year, the Pine Tree State ranked 14th, behind fellow New England entrants New Hampshire, which placed first, and Vermont (third), Massachusetts (fifth), and Connecticut (10th).  Rhode Island was the only New England state not to place in the top half of the rankings, weighing in at 28th overall.

The state was top-10 in several categories, including home ownership, high school graduation rate and grade 8 reading scores. And as you might expect, Maine was ranked No. 1 in terms of crime, making it the safest state in the nation.

We Mainers did less well in the categories of STEM employment (37th place), obesity (31st place), and wealth per capita (28th place).

The sources of Politico’s data are rock-solid, with much of the information coming straight from the U.S. Census. I encourage you to go check out the full article, for the full scores.

Politico wasn’t the only online outlet grading Maine this week. A blog called Estately ranked the 10 best states for cats, and our great state tops the list.

Estately writes:

This one wasn’t even close — Maine is far and away the best state for cat lovers. The great cat state of Maine has the second-highest ranking of any U.S. State in these categories: percentage of cat owners in America (46.4), Facebook “likes,” animal protection law strength, no-kill animal shelters, and percentage of cat owners over dog owners (11%). Maine is one of three states with an official state cat — the Maine Coon cat — a tall, muscular cat with heavily furred ears and feet ideally suited for cold winters.

My cat, Ella, totally agrees that Maine is great, though you’d never know by her expression. She is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.


Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.