Measures of Growth
Since 1994, MDF’s annual Measures of Growth has tracked 25+ indicators that provide a comprehensive snapshot of how Maine’s economy is faring.
Each year, MDF works with the Maine Economic Growth Council to develop the Measures of Growth Report. The indicators included collectively support the idea that Maine’s quality of life depends upon a vibrant and sustainable economy, thriving communities, and a healthy environment. Past performance and current conditions inform the establishment of future benchmarks for each indicator that are aspirational, potentially attainable and against which we can measure our collective progress.
For 2022, the Council assigns Gold Stars for significant progress in:
We assign Red Flags for needed attention to:
- Labor Force Participation
- Research and Development Expenditures
- Cost of Health Care
- Cost of Energy
- Housing Affordability
- Mental & Behavioral Health
Fundamental Performance Indicators
In 2021, average wages rose 0.5% after adjusting for inflation.
In 2020, poverty fell slightly from 10.9% to 10.6% due to federal stimulus measures.
Gender Income Equity+1%
In 2021, women’s median wages rose 1% compared to men’s, but remained about 83% of men’s earnings.
Racial/Ethnic Income Equity+3%
In 2016-2020, the average incomes of BIPOC* and Latino or Hispanic Mainers rose 3% but remained 33% below White Mainers, dramatically short of full equity. *Black, Indigenous, People of Color
Maine’s labor force grew 1% in 2021 but remains below pre-pandemic levels.
Labor Force Participation0%
In 2021, 60% of Maine adults were in the labor force – unchanged since 2020 and below the U.S. average.
In 2021 value-added per worker rose 2%, but remained 23% below the U.S. average.
Gross Domestic Product+5%
In 2021, Maine’s GDP rose 5%, resuming growth after its 2020 slump.
Air Quality+3 Days
In 2021, there were 28 moderately unhealthy days, three more than last year.
In 2022, Maine maintained its excellent water quality rating.
Sustainable Forest Lands+8%
In 2021, the growth-to-harvest ratio rose 8% to 1.43 and remained above the sustainability goal.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions-2%
From 2018 to 2019, GHG emissions fell 2%.
Research & Development+.2%
In 2019, Maine’s R&D spending rose from 0.8% to 1.0% of GDP.
Maine exports soared 32% in 2021, reaching their highest level in a decade.
In 2020, the number of business starts exceeded closures by 9%, up from 4% in 2019.
In 2021-22, the share of schools with pre-Ks fell to 77%, partly due to COVID, but this is expected to rebound next year.
In 2019, 36% of Maine 4th graders were proficient in reading. 2022 results were not available at the time of publication.
In 2019, 34% of Maine 8th graders were proficient in mathematics. 2022 results were not available at the time of publication.
Postsecondary Degrees and Credentials0%
In 2019, 53% of Mainers had a degree or a professional credential, below the New England average of 58%. 2022 results were not available at time of publication.
Cost of Doing Business0%
In 2021, Maine’s cost of doing business was unchanged.
Cost of Health Care-0.4%
Health care expenditures fell 0.4% in 2021 but remain an ongoing challenge.
Cost of Energy+10%
The price of industrial electricity rose 10% in 2021, mirroring increases across New England.
State & Local Tax Burden-.5%
In 2020, Maine’s tax burden declined but remained above the New England average.
In 2022, 78% of locations have high-speed or broadband internet. Annual comparison not available due to changed data methods.
In 2021, 66% of Maine roadways were rated good or fair, a noteworthy 7% increase.
Home ownership affordability got much worse in 2021, but the full index (including rentals) was not available at the time of publication.
In 2020, Maine’s crime rate was 46% below the U.S. average. The 2021 rate was not available at the time of publication.
About 2/3 of Maine adults are overweight or obese, virtually unchanged for several years.
Mental & Behavioral Health (NEW)+2%
In 2019-2020, the percentage of children with a mental and/or behavioral condition rose over 2%.
Health Insurance Coverage+.4%
Maine’s health insurance coverage is stable and above the U.S. average.
In 2019-2021, the share of Mainers experiencing food insecurity fell about 2 percentage points.
Measures of Growth 2020
Measures of Growth 2019
Measures of Growth 2019
Measures of Growth 2018
Maine’s quality of life depends upon a vibrant and sustainable economy, thriving communities, and a healthy environment.
Measures of Growth 2017
A long-term perspective on Maine’s economy
Measures of Growth 2016
At the heart of it all, it’s about our people
Measures of Growth 2015
A report card on Maine’s economy
Measures of Growth 2014
A high quality of life for all Maine people
Measures of Growth 2013
Maine’s prosperity action plan
Measures of Growth 2012
Policy recommendations for Maine’s economy
Measures of Growth 2011
Finding the way to move Maine’s economy forward
Measures of Growth 2010
Positioning Maine for growth in the new economy