As most Rhode Islanders would agree, The Ocean State is a pretty awesome slice of America. It’s home to some of the most beautiful landscapes, some of the wealthiest and brightest Americans. Plus crime, in comparison to the rest of the country, is relatively low.
But, like any other state, there are some crummy areas here. Places that, if you were to move to, or consider visiting, you might want to avoid. We’re not here to argue for or against which places in Rhode Island stink. Instead, we use scientific data to decide that for us.
After analyzing all 23 cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Rhode Island:
- Providence (Photos)
- Chepachet (Photos)
- Pascoag (Photos)
- Central Falls (Photos)
- Woonsocket (Photos)
- Pawtucket (Photos)
- Harrisville (Photos)
- Greenville (Photos)
- Harmony (Photos)
- Valley Falls (Photos)
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Rhode Island? That would be Providence.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Rhode Island
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Rhode Island
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Rhode Island
Search For Places In
How we determined the worst places to live in Rhode Island for 2019
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 1,000 people were considered — leaving 23 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 23 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in Rhode Island — Providence. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Rhode Island.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Welcome to Providence, which might be one of the poorest areas in Rhode Island. Residents average $40,366 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 26.9% of Providence residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $181,100 and the unemployment rate hovers near 9.7%.
Chepachet, part of Providence County, is the 2nd worst place to live in Rhode Island for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $78,594, and crime 4th worst in Rhode Island.
Additionally, the poverty level is 11.8% in Chepachet.
Another census designated place, Pascoag is located in the middle of nowhere in the northwestern corner of Rhode Island, in the town of Burrilville. 5.5% of residents here are without jobs, and crime is abnormally high here.
The education system (dollars per student and teacher-to-student ratio) is 40th. Meaning, while the schools in Rhode Island might be exceptional, the schools in Pascoag are far below the state average when it comes to spending.
The city of Central Falls filed for bankruptcy in 2011. If that’s not enough to steer you away, back in 2018, the entire teaching staff at the city’s high school was fired, and in 2010, it was reported that Mayor Charles D. Moreau was acting in corruption and fraud.
Central Falls is the 23rd most densely populated areas in the state In fact, it’s more packed in Central Falls than in Boston.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Woonsocket is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of Rhode Island. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Woonsocket, located on the Massachusetts border, have the 12th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $158,500, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Rhode Island, that is.
Side note: Woonsocket is the birthplace of former NHL goalie Brian Boucher.
While the median household income in Pawtucket is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Pawtucket still has the 2nd worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 11th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Pawtucket household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn’t help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
Harrisville is a small city located not too far away from Pascoag. Three of the top 5 worst places to live in Rhode Island are on the northern part of the state. You can make your own assumptions from there.
Harrisville has a very-high crime rate, is respect to the state norm, an unemployment rate of 1.3%, and it’s one of the least densely populated places in the state, meaning there’s probably not a lot to do except cheer on the Sox and watch hockey.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Rhode Island, Greenville came in 8th. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Rhode Island residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Rhode Island, you can see some really big differences. In Greenville, the number of people out of work is 6.0%
In Rhode Island, that’s the 12th highest in the state.
The residents in Greenville have the 17th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Greenville average $77,219 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $261,000 on average. That’s the 18th lowest in the state.
Harmony is a village and census designated place located in the city of Glocester. Residents have one of the longest commute rates in the state, and it’s one of the least densely populated areas in the entire state.
Additionally, 1 out of 5 homes in Harmony is vacant.
If you live in Rhode Island, you may or may not be surprised that Valley Falls ranked, at least on paper, as the 10th worst place to live in the state. It has the 21st highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 4th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Valley Falls is the 17th most densely populated city in Rhode Island. Draw your own conclusions.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Rhode Island
If you’re looking at areas in Rhode Island with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Providence ranks as the worst city to live in Rhode Island for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Rhode Island:
- Ashaway (Pop. 1,118)
- Warwick (Pop. 81,218)
- Kingston (Pop. 6,983)
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Rhode Island
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Rhode Island
- 10 Safest Places In Rhode Island
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Rhode Island
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island