If you live in Rangeley, good news: You probably spend only about 15 minutes commuting to work, mostly because you work right in town. And once you get there, you earn a lot.
Life isn't so rosy if you're a Rumford resident: Your commute is longer, your job pays less and that family next door is a lot more likely to be living in poverty.
Call Lewiston home? If you're 60 or older, there's about a 50-50 chance you speak French or some other foreign language (but it's probably French) at home. Also, you may not have a phone.
So says the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey for 2006-10.
The state, county and town statistics are based on surveys conducted with residents over the past five years. Although the data is estimated, experts consider it reliable because it's gathered over such a long period. Organizations and local governments use the data when applying for grants, conducting market research, doing municipal planning, and making business or policy decisions.
"Your choice is to make that decision based on anecdotes or to make it based on data. And this is the data," said Joel Johnson, the state economist who deals with the census.
The Census Bureau changed the way it compiled the data, so year-to-year comparisons are fraught with problems. But towns and counties can be compared to each other. And the data can be used to get an intriguing snapshot of life in Maine.
Unlike the regular, 10-year Census, which gives basic information about the population — including age, race and where people live — the American Community Survey offers information about how those people get to work, how they like to heat their homes and how many cars they own.
Johnson calls it "cool stuff."
"This data really is about the smaller geographies: looking at how counties differ, looking at how towns differ," he said.
Rangeley, for example, is doing pretty well. The average household income is just under $61,000, about $1,000 more than the state average. Nearly every home in the Franklin County town has a vehicle, though one in 10 residents walks to work.
Rumford is at the other end of the spectrum. The average household income is about $41,300, almost $19,000 less than the state average. Nearly 14 percent don't have access to vehicles, and only about 4 percent walk to work. More than 12 percent of families live below the poverty line; in Rangeley, it's 3.2 percent, and the state average is 8.4 percent.
But Rumford isn't alone in its higher-than-average poverty. Farmington and Portland, too, are about 12 percent. Norway is nearly 14 percent. Lewiston is 16 percent, nearly twice as high as Auburn.
Because this survey was done between 2006 and 2010, including economic boom years, poverty levels might skew low.
The Maine Community Action Association, which serves low-income people across the state, works each year with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center in Orono to report on poverty levels in Maine. Rick McCarthy, senior adviser for the organization, said even the richest counties have poverty levels at 10 percent or higher. Washington County's is more than 19 percent.
"It's much worse now than it was a few years ago," he said. "People think about that concentration of lower-income folks in Portland or Bangor, but when you look at the state all around, there is an awful lot of rural poverty in Maine. It's a challenge we have to deal with."
Among the survey's other findings:
* Portland has a high percentage of foreign-born residents — 11 percent compared to the state average 3.3 percent.
* Residents overwhelmingly prefer fuel oil to natural gas, wood or any other heat source, but Portlanders are less likely to heat with oil (57.6 percent), while Augusta residents are more likely (85.8).
* More than half of grandparents statewide and in the tri-county area are still working.
* About 5.6 percent of homes in Portland and 4.5 percent in Lewiston don't have telephone service.
* Also in Lewiston, nearly half of people 60 years old or older speak a language other than English at home. Although the city has a large percentage of Somali residents, 98 percent of Lewiston's older residents are white. Given that and the region's history, experts say those people are likely speaking French.
Rita Dube, executive director of the Franco-American Heritage Center, isn't surprised. On the first Friday of every month she hosts the popular La Rencontre, a luncheon in which conversations are conducted solely in French. Two hundred to 300 people attend every month. Most are 60 or older.
"Back in the 1940s or so, '40s and '50s, 75 percent of the population here spoke French," she said.