Maine is a geographically diverse and large state that offers many real estate options and lifestyle alternatives. From the mountains to the seacoast determining the best place for you and your family can be a challenge. The counties of Southern Maine - York and Cumberland - are the most populous, yet each Maine county offers its own distinct characteristics - size, climate, population, business opportunites and housing market.
In general, municipalities in Maine are organized in one of two forms of government: the direct, town meeting form of government where the legislative body of the community is the town meeting, or the representational form of government where the legislative body of the community is the town or city council.
When Maine entered the Union in 1820 there were 240 incorporated towns in the state. Today there are nearly 500 municipalities in the state.
Local government in Maine provides many essential services to the citizens of the community. These services include road construction and maintenance, solid waste disposal, water utilities and waste water treatment, police and fire protection and emergency rescue, land use planning and building inspection, welfare, and public education for grades Kindergarten through 12.
Below is a list of the sixteen counties in Maine. Prior to statehood, Maine was officially part of the state of Massachusetts and was called the District of Maine. Maine was granted statehood on March 15, 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise.
Nine of the sixteen counties had their borders defined while Maine was still part of Massachussetts, and hence are older than the state itself. Even after 1820, the exact location of the northern border of Maine was disputed with England, until the question was settled and the northern counties took their final, official form by treaty in 1845.