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:
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
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2019
If you live in Providence, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 1st worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 4th highest crime rate in Rhode Island, which saw 960 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 30.3 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 186 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Providence.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Providence sports the state’s 4th highest unemployment rate (9.7%), and families bring in a combined $40,366 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $181,100.
The city of Chepachet is the 2nd worst place you can live in the state of Rhode Island in 2019.
It’s unlucky for Chepachet, which has the 18th highest unemployment rate (5.0%), the 18th lowest household incomes ($78,594) and the 12th lowest home prices in the state ($228,300).
Basically, a lot of people in Chepachet are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it’s not one of the most dangerous places we’ll look at, it’s in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live 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. 5.5% 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.
If you’re looking to live in Rhode Island, Pawtucket might not be the best choice as it places 6th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Ocean State for 2019.
The average family earns $44,909 a year out here, and 20.0% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 10.5% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Pawtucket, every year, you have a 1 in 40.1 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 11th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
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.
Greenville needs some tough love as it ranks as the 8th worst city to live in Rhode Island for 2019.
Crime in Greenville is the 4th highest in the state, where 1 in 30.3 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in Rhode Island.
If commute time is important, Greenville residents have the 8th longest commute of any residents on our list.
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.
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.
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)
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