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’re looking to live in Rhode Island, Providence might not be the best choice as it places 1st in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
The unemployment rate here is 9.7%, and households bring in a combined $40,366 a year in income. That’s not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Rhode Island.
Crime is the 4th highest in the state in Providence as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
Chepachet, where there’s absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 2nd worst city in Rhode Island.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Chepachet has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 5.0%, and families earn around $78,594 a year. It’s also the 4th highest in Rhode Island for crime, where 1 in 30.3 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
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.
You can sure expect that Pawtucket is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 6th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Pawtucket has the 11th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 311 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 40.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Pawtucket, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 10.5% which is the 2nd worst in Rhode Island.
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.
According to science, Greenville is the 8th worst place you can live in Rhode Island.
Let’s see why. Greenville has the 4th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Greenville is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($261,000), and the 12th-highest unemployment rate in the state (6.0%), and across the board, Greenville doesn’t sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there’s simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We’re aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you’d have to drive a ways away.
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.
Valley Falls places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Rhode Island. Here, 14.6% of the adult population lack’s even a high school degree. That makes Valley Falls have the 7th highest adult drop out rate in Rhode Island.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $219,100 each — the 9th lowest in Rhode Island.
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of demand to live here.
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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