More and more people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Providence to avoid all the hustle and bustle.
So the question arises: what suburbs of Providence are the worst?
Today, we’ll use Saturday Night Science to determine which Providence ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Providence area if you will. Realistically, you can only expect some of the suburbs to live up to Providence proper, although Attleboro certainly tries.
We examined the 13 biggest suburbs of Providence to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Rhode Island lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Providence in terms of quality of life.
Now don’t freak out.
What’s the worst suburb of Providence? Central Falls ranks as the worst suburb of Providence for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Providence too.
The 10 Worst Providence Suburbs To Live For 2023
Median Income: $40,235 (lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (2nd highest)
Median Home Value: $187,300 (2nd lowest)
More on Central Falls: Data
We’ll get the ball rolling with Central Falls, the absolute worst place to live around Providence according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Central Falls beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the worst in the Providence area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd worst when it comes to home values.
But hey, at least it’s cheap to live there. But there’s a reason for that… it’s Central Falls.
You won’t feel bad about not having a great income for the area. There aren’t a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.
Median Income: $62,870 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 18.4% (highest)
Median Home Value: $183,000 (lowest)
More on Danielson:
Welcome to Danielson. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 24.0 miles to Providence. Income levels here are the 6th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $62,870 a year, which only goes so far even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Median Income: $48,822 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (3rd highest)
Median Home Value: $208,400 (3rd lowest)
More on Woonsocket: Data
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Providence suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Woonsocket on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that’s an understatement.
In terms of numbers, it’s in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school dropout rate is poor compared to other Providence suburbs.
But at least there are lovely parks to bring the kids during the day.
4. Fall River
Median Income: $49,613 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (5th highest)
Median Home Value: $282,500 (9th lowest)
More on Fall River:
If you live in Fall River, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 3rd lowest Providence suburb for median household incomes.
Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Providence. Remember, we looked at 13 cities for this study.
Fall River is about 18.0 miles to downtown.
5. New Bedford
Median Income: $50,581 (4th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (7th highest)
Median Home Value: $258,300 (7th lowest)
More on New Bedford:
New Bedford has the distinction of being a Providence suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, New Bedford has the 7th lowest home values in the metro Providence area, where the median price is $258,300. The median income is $81,627.
New Bedford has an unemployment rate of 7.47% which ranks 7th worst.
Median Income: $56,427 (5th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (8th highest)
Median Home Value: $228,500 (4th lowest)
More on Pawtucket: Data
Pawtucket has 75,200 residents that probably know it’s a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you’ve ever been there, you don’t need to look at the data.)
Incomes are towards the bottom, and the poverty rate sits at 14.851564804634073%.
Median Income: $65,016 (7th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (9th highest)
Median Home Value: $242,100 (5th lowest)
More on East Providence: Data
Ah, East Providence. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Providence.
It’s the place with the 9th most out of work residents in the Providence metro area (5.85%).
Median Income: $77,092 (10th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $529,900 (13th lowest)
More on Newport: Data
Newport is a city about 24.4 miles from Providence, but Providence probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a worse place to live. Newport has the 3rd most uninsured people, 10th worst incomes, and has the 4th highest unemployment rate (9.04%) in the entire Providence metro area.
Homes only cost $529,900 for a reason. That’s cheap for Providence standards.
Median Income: $66,787 (8th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $313,300 (11th lowest)
More on Taunton:
If you absolutely have to live near Providence, then Taunton might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Providence suburb.
About 5.27% of residents are out of work.
Median Income: $68,067 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (6th highest)
Median Home Value: $307,600 (10th lowest)
More on Brockton:
Rounding out the ten worst Providence suburbs to call home is Brockton.
Located 27.0 miles outside the city, Brocktons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 6th highest unemployment rate (8.19%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Providence for 2023
To figure out how bad a Providence suburb is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what suburbs have the least amount of those things.
It’s Saturday Night Science.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2017-2021, this is the criteria we used:
- High unemployment rate
- Low median household incomes
- Low population density (no things to do)
- Low home values
- A lot of high school dropouts
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
We defined a suburb as any town within 30 miles of Providence.
We also limited the analysis to places with over 4,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 13 suburbs to evaluate around Providence.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 13 in each category, where 1 was the “worst.”
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index, the “Worst Suburb near Providence.” We’re looking at you, Central Falls.
We updated this article for 2023, which reflects our tenth time ranking the worst suburbs around Providence.
Summary: The areas around Providence where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2023
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Providence with Central Falls casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Providence aren’t all bad. Attleboro takes the cake as the best place to live around Providence.
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Rhode Island
- Cheapest Places To Live In Rhode Island
- Most Dangerous Cities In Rhode Island
- Best Places To Retire In Rhode Island
- Richest Cities In Rhode Island
- Safest Places In Rhode Island
- Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island
Detailed List Of The Worst Providence Suburbs
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