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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 24 cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Rhode Island:
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 Chepachet.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
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
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2020
Chepachet, RI needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 3.6%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 4th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 31.6 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Woonsocket is the 2nd 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 $164,600, 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.
Providence places 3rd in our ranking of the worst places to live in Rhode Island.
You can imagine it's a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.
Homes are the 5th cheapest in the state, and at $192,100, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (8.8%) is the 4th highest in Rhode Island, and income levels are far below the state average. And 26.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Would you have guessed that the area around Providence has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in Rhode Island?
Another census designated place, Pascoag is located in the middle of nowhere in the northwestern corner of Rhode Island, in the town of Burrilville. 5.8% 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.
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.
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 1.5%, 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.
Located on your way to somewhere else you'd want to be, Pawtucket has few options for some sort of entertainment.
The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (7.9%) and homes are the 4th cheapest in the state ($181,900).
Say what you want about 'cheap living', the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's absolutely no demand to live in Pawtucket.
The city of Central Falls filed for bankruptcy in 2011. If that's not enough to steer you away, back in 2019, 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 24th most densely populated areas in the state In fact, it's more packed in Central Falls than in Boston.
Valley Falls's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Valley Falls has the 4th worst crime index of any place in Rhode Island, and has the 17th lowest income.
you're looking to live in Rhode Island, Greenville might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.
Greenville doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Greenville may not be your first choice for a vacation.
How we determined the worst places to live in Rhode Island for 2020
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 24 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 24 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 -- Chepachet. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Rhode Island. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
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, Chepachet ranks as the worst city to live in Rhode Island for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Rhode Island:
- Hope Valley (Pop. 1,633)
- Ashaway (Pop. 1,186)
- Kingston (Pop. 6,789)
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Rhode Island
- Richest Cities In Rhode Island
- Safest Places In Rhode Island
- Best Cities For Singles In Rhode Island
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island?