These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In Rhode Island For 2019


We used science and data to determine which places in Rhode Island are basically dead broke.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the poorest places in Rhode Island.

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Rhode Island brings to mind images of Providence, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, Rhode Island has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in Rhode Island that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 17 places in Rhode Island with more than 3,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Ocean State for 2019:

  1. Central Falls (Photos)
  2. Providence (Photos)
  3. Woonsocket (Photos)
  4. Pawtucket (Photos)
  5. East Providence (Photos)
  6. Kingston (Photos)
  7. Narragansett Pier (Photos)
  8. Cranston (Photos)
  9. Westerly (Photos)
  10. Newport (Photos)

Again, 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.

And according to the facts, Central Falls is the poorest place in Rhode Island for 2019.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in Rhode Island or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the poorest states in America or the poorest cities in America.

For more Rhode Island reading, check out:

How We Determined The Poorest Places In Rhode Island for 2019

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 looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2013-2017 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The “median household income adjusted for the cost of living” attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

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 2019”.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 17 places.

Central Falls, RI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,395
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $30,794 (1st lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 30.7% (1st highest)
More on Central Falls:  Data | Photos

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 19,395 people averages the 1st lowest median household income in Rhode Island and the 1st 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.

Providence, RI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 179,509
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $40,366 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (3rd highest)
Poverty Rate: 26.9% (2nd highest)
More on Providence:  Data | Photos

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 3rd highest in the Ocean State.

Woonsocket, RI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 41,508
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $38,340 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (5th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.4% (3rd highest)
More on Woonsocket:  Data | Photos

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 24.4% 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, RI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 71,770
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $44,909 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (2nd highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.0% (6th highest)
More on Pawtucket:  Data | Photos

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.

East Providence, RI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 47,425
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Income: $54,707 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (6th highest)
Poverty Rate: 10.6% (10th highest)
More on East Providence:  Data | Photos

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 10th highest in Rhode Island.

Still not the best news for East Providence.

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 6,983
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $93,051 (17th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (4th highest)
Poverty Rate: 24.0% (4th highest)
More on Kingston:  Data | Photos

Kingston ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Ocean State.

It ranks as having the 4th highest incidence of poverty and the 4th highest unemployment rate.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,977
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Median Income: $62,054 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (15th highest)
Poverty Rate: 20.7% (5th highest)
More on Narragansett Pier:  Data | Photos

Narragansett Pier places as the seventh poorest city in Rhode Island.

The city of over 3,977 ranks as having the 5th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

Cranston, RI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 80,979
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Income: $64,282 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (7th highest)
Poverty Rate: 9.9% (13th highest)
More on Cranston:  Data | Photos

Cranston ranks as the eighth poorest city in Rhode Island.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 7th highest in the state.

Westerly, RI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,323
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $60,192 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (12th highest)
Poverty Rate: 10.4% (11th highest)
More on Westerly:  Data | Photos

Westerly couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in Rhode Island; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 6th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Westerly ranks as having the 11th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in Rhode Island.

Newport, RI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 24,745
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $65,365 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (14th highest)
Poverty Rate: 14.6% (7th highest)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in Rhode Island is Newport.

The city of 24,745 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Ocean State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In Rhode Island For 2019

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:

    Richest: Cumberland Hill
    2nd Richest: Greenville
    3rd Richest: Warwick

For more Rhode Island reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Poorest Places To Live In Rhode Island

Rank City Population Poverty Rate
1 Central Falls 19,395 30.7%
2 Providence 179,509 26.9%
3 Woonsocket 41,508 24.4%
4 Pawtucket 71,770 20.0%
5 East Providence 47,425 10.6%
6 Kingston 6,983 24.0%
7 Narragansett Pier 3,977 20.7%
8 Cranston 80,979 9.9%
9 Westerly 17,323 10.4%
10 Newport 24,745 14.6%
11 Newport East 11,211 10.1%
12 Pascoag 5,041 12.5%
13 Tiverton 7,727 6.5%
14 Valley Falls 12,056 11.2%
15 Warwick 81,218 6.7%
16 Greenville 8,388 3.7%
17 Cumberland Hill 8,062 5.1%

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