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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 Pascoag.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
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 2021
Another census designated place, Pascoag is located in the middle of nowhere in the northwestern corner of Rhode Island, in the town of Burrilville. 6.6% 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.
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 10th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level--per resident--and homes valued around $173,300, 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.
The city of Central Falls filed for bankruptcy in 2011. If that's not enough to steer you away, back in 2020, 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.
Providence doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 7.8%, and people average less than $45,610 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $200,300, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Rhode Island.
And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Chepachet is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It's that simple.
Residents here have a 1 in 201 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 33.2 chance of being robbed each year. That's off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 4.1%, which isn't horrible, but the 16th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $80,463 a year in combined household income.
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 0.0%, 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.
Pawtucket needs some tough love as it ranks as the 8th worst city to live in Rhode Island for 2021. There's not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it's not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Pawtucket is the 9th highest in the state, where 1 in 43.8 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Valley Falls ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 11th cheapest in the state here at $239,000. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn't a lot of demand to live in Valley Falls.
The median income levels here are the 18th lowest in the state of Rhode Island, at $83,090. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we'll talk about in a minute. And almost 3.2% of people in Valley Falls were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
you're looking to live in Rhode Island, Tiverton might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2021.
Tiverton 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, Tiverton may not be your first choice for a vacation.
How we determined the worst places to live in Rhode Island for 2021
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 -- Pascoag. 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, Pascoag ranks as the worst city to live in Rhode Island for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Rhode Island:
- Cranston (Pop. 81,254)
- Ashaway (Pop. 1,195)
- Kingston (Pop. 6,513)
For more Rhode Island reading, check out:
- 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?