Like all states, Rhode Island has certain places that are going on hard times. These Rhode Island places have an above-average percentage of people living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.
Even as the economy continues to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the places in each state struggling to make ends meet. So we set our sites on locating the poorest places in Rhode Island.
To do so, we used Saturday Night Science to analyze the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 17 cities in Rhode Island with more than 3,000 people.
What’s the poorest city in Rhode Island? According to the facts, Central Falls is the poorest place in Rhode Island for 2023.
This isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
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The 10 Poorest Cities In Rhode Island For 2023
Central Falls, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in Rhode Island thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 22,192 people averages the lowest median household income in Rhode Island and the highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.
The second poorest city in Rhode Island is Providence.
The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 3rd lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 7th highest in the Ocean State.
Placing as the third poorest city, Woonsocket’s median income ranks as the 2nd lowest.
And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 18.679267572356764% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.
But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Ocean State.
Pawtucket ranks as the fourth poorest place in Rhode Island.
The town ranks as having the 4th lowest median household income and the 6th highest incidence of poverty in the state.
That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.
The fifth poorest city in Rhode Island is East Providence.
The city ranks as having the 5th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 7th highest in Rhode Island.
Still not the best news for East Providence.
Newport ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Ocean State.
It ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty and the 5th highest unemployment rate.
Newport East places as the seventh poorest city in Rhode Island.
The city of over 11,903 ranks as having the 8th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $80,625 (12th lowest)
Poverty Rate: 18.3% (4th highest)
People In Poverty: 597
More on Narragansett Pier: Data
Narragansett Pier ranks as the eighth poorest city in Rhode Island.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 2nd highest in the state.
Cranston couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Rhode Island; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 9th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Cranston ranks as having the 10th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Rhode Island.
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Rhode Island is Warwick.
The city of 82,666 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Ocean State.
Methodology: How We Determined The Poorest Places In Rhode Island for 2023
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.
However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the “poorest places”. So we used Saturday Night Science to look at this set of criteria from the newly released 2017-2021 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
After we collected the data for all 17 places with more than 3,000 people in Rhode Island, we ranked each place from 1 to 17 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Poor Score” with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Central Falls, crowned the “Poorest Place In Rhode Island For 2023”.
This report has been updated for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the poorest places in Rhode Island.
Summary: The Poorest Cities In Rhode Island For 2023
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in Rhode Island, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Rhode Island.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in Rhode Island, according to data:
2nd Richest: Greenville
3rd Richest: Valley Falls
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
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Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Rhode Island
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