Rhode Island State: Population, Rankings, and Facts

#27 in Overall Ranking out of 50 in 2021

The smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island, is named after the island in Narragansett Bay. It’s also nicknamed the Ocean State, thanks to its proximity to the sea. The locals have a distinct accent that’s somewhere between Boston and New York, and, of course, clam chowder is a must-have here.

Updated: April 15, 2021
  • Area
    1,214 sq. mi.
  • Capital
  • Population
  • Income
  • Home Value
  • Crime
  • Unemployment
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Poverty
  • Environment
  • Infrastructure

Those who aren’t fans of seafood will have a hard time acclimated to life here. Given its proximity to the Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, locals enjoy all kinds of clam-based meals. Calamari and crab are other common dishes, as are Italian sandwiches.

Anyone who has watched the TV series Family Guy may be familiar with Seth MacFarlane’s portrayal of Rhode Island. In real life, celebrities like Frank Sinatra frequented this place, and it’s where John F. Kennedy and Jackie O. got married.

This is one of the original 13 colonies and also the first to prohibit slavery back in 1652. Narragansett Bay was the site of the first American rebellion against the British, making this state a significant part of the United States government history.

It is quite a diverse little area, with its beautiful shores and vacation spots, as well as its history of organized crime. It has just two professional sports teams and four NCAA teams (there are over a dozen colleges here).

Some famous places to visit include the capitol building, the First Baptist Church of Providence, Belcourt Castle, and Newport Tower, which is said to have a Viking history. The entirety of RI is just 48 miles long.

The Rhode Island population centers around Providence and the surrounding suburbs. The largest ethnic group here are whites, and about half of all people in RI are religious. The biggest religious group is Catholics.

As part of New England, the state of Rhode Island has a humid continental climate; the summers get warm, and the winters can bring freezing weather. Part of the state shares land with neighboring Massachusetts. Moreover, several islands are off the state’s mainland, including Block Island, Aquidneck Island, and Goat Island. Despite its small size, the state has a sound transportation system, some of the largest employer headquarters, and great universities.

How We Figured Out Which Were the Best States to Live In

To find the top places to live in the U.S., it was important to look at the complex data, including census info and facts from the FBI and other national and government organizations. The team took the time to analyze the key metrics that families and individuals look for when moving, including education, crime, health outcomes, and home values.

Rhode Island Rankings

  • Population
    Data: 1,059,361

    The region has a pretty high population density for its size. It is a decent option for families looking for a place to call home for years to come, thanks to its ratio of residents to the general living area.

  • Median Income
    Income in $
    Data: $ 63870

    The people here make a modest income, but they can still afford a decent living. Given its location, fishing is a huge industry here. Other popular sectors include healthcare-related jobs, tourism, manufacturing, and banking. The sales tax is 7%, and the property tax is 1.53%, which is above the national figure.

  • Home Value
    Home Value
    Data: $340,811

    Home values are on the rise and have increased over 11% in the past year. The average rent is about $2,000 a month, so it’s not the cheapest place to live in. Towns like Narragansett Pier and Newport are neighborhoods with some of the highest rents.

  • Unemployment Rate
    Data: 7.9%

    While unemployment is a problem throughout the United States, the state population overall has better job stability. The Rhode Island unemployment rate increased by 0.7% in early 2021, to 7.9%. However, a lack of work remains a struggle for Black and Native American residents, and men are likely to out-earn women.

  • Poverty
    Data: 11.9%

    It is an abysmal situation here, with nearly 12% of residents living below the poverty line. That’s over 125,000 people, and women are more likely to suffer from poverty than men. Living conditions are worse for Hispanics and Native Americans, while whites have some of the best outcomes, on average.

  • Education
    Data: 33%

    About a third of residents have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and 98% have completed high school. Asians have the highest percentage of higher education degrees, at 52%. Despite its small size, the state has 13 institutes of higher learning. Compared to other states in the United States, it ranks quite highly with one of the largest percentages of college-educated residents.

  • Medicine
    Health Outcomes: 18

    Over 4% of the population is uninsured, and 54% receive coverage through their employer. Over 20% of residents are under Medicaid. This place has some of the best behavioral health outcomes and services in the entire country. On average, white citizens are more likely to have insurance. Rates of uninsured are the highest among Hispanics and 18-34-year-olds.

  • Crime Rate
    Violent Crime: 2,342

    Larceny-theft and property crimes are the most common instances here. There is a lower rate of murder compared to surrounding states. However, violent crime is quite prevalent, especially considering the overall size of the state. The areas with a minor crime include Glocester, Scituate, Jamestown, and Portsmouth. As for gun laws, each town may give out carry licenses on a shall-issue basis.

  • Natural Environment
    Air: 11

    It has an excellent drinking water score, with just 94 violations, which is among the best in the nation. The air quality is quite good, thanks to the coastal air. The largest number of problems occur in the hazardous waste category, probably because healthcare jobs are typical. Compared to other states in the United States, it’s in a pretty good spot overall.

  • Infrastructure
    Poor Roads: 24.6%

    Nearly a quarter of the streets here are in bad shape, including those in Providence, and over one-fifth of the bridges are structurally dangerous. This, unfortunately, places RI at the bottom of the national list. Residents pay quite a bit in government taxes for road work and infrastructure, and they also spend about 25 minutes commuting to work each day.

Rhode Island Facts

  • This area’s motto is “Hope.”
  • The Rhode Island abbreviation is RI.
  • Providence is the capital of Rhode Island.
  • The flag is a golden anchor with a circle of gold stars around it.
  • The state flower is the violet.
  • The red hen is the state bird.
  • The oldest schoolhouse in the United States was built in 1716. It can be found in Portsmouth, RI.
  • America’s oldest library, the Redwood Library, and Athenaeum are also in RI.
  • Watch Hill is where visitors can see the Flying Horse Carousel, the oldest in the country.
  • It is just 47 miles long and 37 miles wide.
  • Some of the most common animal species here include river otters, raccoons, beavers, minks, and black bears.
  • A few of the famous people from this area are Viola Davis, George Michael, and Pauly D from Jersey Shore.
  • Some of the most popular foods here include clam chowder, clam cakes, stuffed clams, steamed clams, and the state drink, coffee milk.

Rhode Island Photos

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Rhode Island Map
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Rhode Island Capitol Build
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Rhode Island Light House
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Rhode Island Newport Bridge
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Rhode Island Providence Downtown
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Rhode Island Providence Park
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Rhode Island Providence River
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Rhode Island Providence
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Rhode Island River Canal
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Rhode Island State House

FAQ Section

  • Where is Rhode Island?

    It is in New England, in the United States. More specifically, it borders Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. However, its border with New York is purely a maritime division. Also, the southeastern corner of the state is shared with Massachusetts.

  • How Many Counties in RI?

    There are five Rhode Island counties: Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence, and Washington counties. Also, there are 92 zip codes. The biggest county in the state is Washington County, while the smallest is Bristol County, with less than 50,000 people.

  • When was Rhode Island Founded?

    It was founded on May 4, 1776, and was the first of the original 13 colonies to declare independence from the British. Two years later, there was a battle at Narragansett Bay to kick out British troops, but this fight was unsuccessful. Roger Williams founded this region in 1636 after he was forced to exile from Massachusetts.

  • What to Do in Rhode Island?

    Providence and Newport are two tourist meccas in RI, so there are lots of things to do there. For example, many visitors enjoy the beaches, where they can do water sports, go swimming or boating, suntan, or enjoy a bowl of clam chowder. Going on hikes, as well as long bike rides, are two other common activities.

  • What is RI Known for?

    Besides being known as the smallest of the United States, RI is known for interesting sites like Historic Federal Hill, Cliff Walk, Water Park Place, and Brown University. Also, even though it’s a small place, RI has a large population density. Other things that it’s known for are its beaches, RISD (the design school), and coffee milk, which is the official drink of RI.