Navigating the Northeast’s popularity: 5 special features about the Boston-to-Portland metro region

The 108-mile stretch from Boston to Portland encompasses multiple counties in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, all of which boast a host of chain and independent furniture retailing options. The greater Boston MSA ranks 10th for furniture and bedding sales, while Portland’s MSA is 96th.

Here are a few other highlights related to the appeal of this East Coast metro area:

Portland and Boston received many accolades in recent years, including being named No. 1 and No. 2 among the Best Places to Live on the East Coast by U.S. News & World Report. Travel & Leisure also called out Portland for top honors on its best places to live on the East Coast list in 2023.

Portland ranked No. 62 on Livability’s 2022 Top 100 Best Places to Live in America, joining other mid-size cities in the greater Boston MSA, including No. 49 Quincy, Mass.; No. 77 Framingham, Mass.; and No. 79 Portsmouth, N.H.

More than 19 million people visit Boston annually, along with another 1.7 million international visitors, making it a favorite tourist destination. Many people head for the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile red brick path through parts of the city associated with the American Revolution.

The greater Portland area, known for its lighthouses and lobster, also brings in its share of visitors—about 5.4 million each year.

The food scene in both areas is booming, with Portland named the 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine. This year, in the James Beard Award Best Chef of the Year category for the Northeast, Boston had five chefs nominated, while Portland contributed two to the list.

Portland also found itself with nominees for Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Bar, Outstanding Hospitality and Outstanding Pastry Chef. Additionally, Cambridge, Mass., added nominees in the categories of Outstanding New Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurant and Emerging Chef, while Portsmouth, N.H., made the list with an Outstanding Chef nominee.

Who lives within the Boston-to-Portland corridor? According to DATA USA, 19% of those living in the Boston MSA are foreign born, with the greatest numbers hailing from China, the Dominican Republic and India.

Portland, meanwhile, has less than 5% of its population being born outside the United States and boasts the largest percentage (97.8%) of U.S. citizens in the area, higher than the U.S. average of 93.4% and the Boston MSA’s 91.1%.

Retirement, jobs and cost are the three top factors bringing people into Maine and Massachusetts, according to the United Van Lines 46th Annual Movers Study. It’s a magnet for retirees with nearly half of those moving to both states being 65 or older, and in both cases as well the highest percentage of those inbound have incomes of $150,000 or more.

Overall, more people exited Massachusetts than moved there in 2022, but the opposite is true for Maine, which had about 8% more inbound residents than outbound ones.

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