The 10 Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2021

We used science and data to determine which Ocean State places are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Rhode Island.

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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2021

  1. Pascoag
  2. Woonsocket
  3. Central Falls
  4. Providence
  5. Chepachet
  6. Harmony
  7. Harrisville
  8. Pawtucket
  9. Valley Falls
  10. Tiverton

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.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Rhode Island reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2021

Pascoag, RI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,594
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $221,700 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (10th worst)
More on Pascoag:  Data | Photos

Pascoag, sitting in the northwest part of the state, straddles the Pascoag Reservoir, providing a significant source of waterfront and boating fun. You can also get an additional taste of the outdoors at the nearby Pulaski/Washington State Forest.

At the same time, the town boasts a strong economy. The median income around $85,000 and the unemployment rate stands at 6.6%. With all these benefits, how did the town end up the number 1 worst spot in Rhode Island?

Well, Pascoag suffers from isolation. The community of just 4,594 people has very little diversity. And at 40 minutes from Providence, any commute to a major urban area becomes a hassle.

Woonsocket, RI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 41,603
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $173,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (4th worst)
More on Woonsocket:  Data | Photos

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.

Central Falls, RI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,429
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $159,100 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (9th worst)
More on Central Falls:  Data | Photos

Sitting just north of Pawtucket on the eastern edge of the state, Central Falls is part of the metropolitan sprawl that surrounds Providence. Poverty represents the major challenge for the 19,429 residents of the city, landing it at number 3 on this list.

The poverty rate sits at 30.2%, a product of a 6.8% unemployment rate and a $32,982 median income. These financial woes lead to other issues. Most of the schools in the area rank a 5/10 or worse on Great Schools. And at $159,100, the median home price is out of the reach for many of Central Falls' low-income inhabitants.

Providence, RI

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Population: 179,494
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $200,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (5th worst)
More on Providence:  Data | Photos

In most ways, Providence represents the key city in Rhode Island. It's the biggest urban area and the state capital. It also serves as a kind of historical monument, with a continuous history as a settlement stretching back to 1636.

Unfortunately, the community also has its challenges. Poverty stands as a huge problem, with 1 in 4 residents struggling below the poverty line. Safety is a concern as well. The city's crime rate runs 40% above the national average.

Still, there are reasons people have lived in town for nearly 400 years. It features a long waterfront and a significant number of historical attractions. It's also the home to the Rhode Island School of Design.

Chepachet, RI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,530
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $243,800 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (16th worst)
More on Chepachet:  Data | Photos

Famed horror writer H.P. Lovecraft once came to Chepachet in search of a purported Dark Swamp of evil. The town also gets a shout out on the TV show The X-Files. Scary stuff.

The real Chepachet may not serve as the home for a supernatural terror. But it does have its share of more mundane problems.

Specifically, the community of 1,530 faces issues related to its remote location. (Maybe that's where those Dark Swamp rumors started too.) Situated in the northwest part of the state, Chepachet suffers from a lack of amenities. Diversity is also scarce and the education system falls below expectations.

Harmony, RI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,207
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $271,500 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (7th worst)
More on Harmony:  Data | Photos

What could be better than living in Harmony? It's a Buddhist's dream: to reach an exalted level of spiritual balance, harmony with nature and the cosmos. Unfortunately, this Harmony doesn't attain that kind of nirvana. Instead, it ranks as the number 6 worst location in Rhode Island.

Truthfully, things are generally pretty good in Harmony, at least on the financial front. The economy supports a median income of $91,181 and the poverty rate comes in at a puny 7.1%. The town also boasts strong schools and good housing.

However, there are issues. Situated away from major urban areas, Harmony experiences a shortage of amenities and almost nonexistent diversity.

Harrisville, RI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,460
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $180,300 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 0.0% (23rd worst)
More on Harrisville:  Data | Photos

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, RI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 71,844
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $194,600 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (8th worst)
More on Pawtucket:  Data | Photos

For 50 years, Pawtucket hosted the AAA minor-league baseball affiliate for the Boston Red Sox. In 2020, after attempts to build a new stadium failed, the Pawtucket Red Sox moved to Worcester. Take that as a metaphor for the town as a whole. It ranks as the 8th worst place to live in Rhode Island for 2021.

Why would you want to move away from Pawtucket? (Besides not getting a new baseball stadium, that is.) Well, the city, located just outside of Providence, supports a sluggish economy, including an unemployment rate of 7.1%. High crime and weak schools are problems as well.

In addition, the area is relatively expensive. The cost of living tracks at 10% above the national average, with a median home value of $194,600. This compares to a median income of $50,476.

Valley Falls, RI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,882
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $239,000 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (20th worst)
More on Valley Falls:  Data | Photos

Valley Falls ranks as the 9th worst place to live in Rhode Island for 2021, let's take a look at why.

Valley Falls was an early manufacturing hub in the country. A firm started in town in 1839 continues to exist today as Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett. However, Berkshire is now headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Guess the Valley Falls glory days are a century or two in the past.

To be fair, the economy of this town, located in the northeast corner of the state, is actually rather strong. The median income equals $83,090 and the unemployment rate hovers at 3.2%.

Despite this economic base, the town faces other problems. For instance, the school system is spotty and any real diversity is lacking.

Tiverton, RI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,804
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $258,800 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (11th worst)
More on Tiverton:  Data | Photos

Tiverton is a coastal town located across the Sakonnet River from Aquidneck Island. As a result, it's physically separated from the main part of Rhode Island. (If you're afraid of crossing bridges, you'll have to drive through Massachusetts to get to Providence.)

This comes with benefits. The area has plenty of natural beauty and access to beaches, like Fogland Beach. These amenities, though, come with a high cost of living. The desire for summer getaways drives up housing costs, with a median home value in town of $258,800. At the same time, the isolation leads to low diversity in the community.

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

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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:

  1. Cranston (Pop. 81,254)
  2. Ashaway (Pop. 1,195)
  3. Kingston (Pop. 6,513)

For more Rhode Island reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Pascoag 4,594 6.6% $221,700
2 Woonsocket 41,603 7.9% $173,300
3 Central Falls 19,429 6.8% $159,100
4 Providence 179,494 7.8% $200,300
5 Chepachet 1,530 4.1% $243,800
6 Harmony 1,207 7.6% $271,500
7 Harrisville 1,460 0.0% $180,300
8 Pawtucket 71,844 7.1% $194,600
9 Valley Falls 11,882 3.2% $239,000
10 Tiverton 7,804 6.4% $258,800

How Is The Area In ?

16 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2021

  1. Wow I live in burrillville what you have wrote is I bunch of crap… Spend the day here.. Meet the people..crime lmao the crime is 9times out of 10 from people from other coming to out town.. This is total bull…… Go to Pawtucket. prov. Central falls… You took the smallest towns in Rhode Island towns where people keep to themselves and help everyone else when they need it and you drag them through the mud….. Foster really?? Wanna know what I think I think you guys are scumbags city slickers stay the hell out of our lil towns If it offends you if it offend you we don’t need people like you to bring in city people and make our quiet town over populated with city rats…

  2. I’m from that “lousy” VILLAGE known as Pascoag. Must be nice to sit behind a desk and spew your misinformation. Here’s some info you missed about our TOWN OF BURRILLVILLE. First of all, we all know at least 70% of our neighbors never hesitating to help one another if the need ever arose. Where you came up with you statistic on jobless is beyond me. I’m assuming it came from somewhere deep in your anal bowels along with the rest of this horrible article you call “reporting”…stick to reporting you may be good at. Oh I don’t know, try little league stats….

  3. Your stats on foster are way yyyyyyyyyyy off. I am a resident and a researcher with commercial and residential properties in Providence and cranston and I can show you worse with verifiable and more credible statistics.

  4. Is this the same science used in that ridiculous Ted Well’s report? Both of these reports aren’t worth the paper they’re wrote on! Both uninformed idiots!

  5. Haha this is one of my all time new 10 worst articles ever posted. It just goes to show you that any dbag with an Ipad can make up what ever crap they want and post it on the internet. I don’t think Nick Johnson is even a real person. The only articles that he’s written are “10 worst places to live”. Well here’s a list of 10 worst places to visit with “Nick Johnson”

    10. Abandoned Paper Mills
    9. Pawtucket after 10pm
    8. His van
    7. His basement
    6. any basement really…
    5. Newport Mansion tour
    4. “Asian massage parlor”
    3. Twin River
    2. The “conjouring house”
    1. The parking garage at Providence Place.. good luck getting out

  6. Yeah, I’ve lived in Warren for 35 yrs. Disappointed in this article. Crime……seriously?! There isnt much of it. There is some petty theft etc but nothing major. There are no shootings or anything of significance, ever!. Now drugs…..they are everywhere unfortunately…Even in the rich popular towns in RI!

  7. With all the crime in providence areas how did it not fall under worst places to live. Especially as a child.

  8. we take a 45 minute drive to work everyday from Foster. It is the drive people take on a Sunday to see how beautiful the world is. We take it twice a day. We love every minute of it and listen to Brahms in the morning. There is virtually no crime in Foster. 20 years ago I moved from Providence after the 5th time our car was stolen or vandalized. toys, clothes missing from my backyard. sick of it. I looked at the 5 top school systems in RI and Foster was there. I have never regretted my decision, on the contrary. we love it here and cannot imagine living anywhere else.

  9. Who is this person? He doesn’t sound like a native Rhode Islanda to me because he listed the best places to live in Rhode Island.

  10. I live in Florida, have been here for 14 years. Every day I think of my hometown of Burrillville. I can’t tell you how much I long for the weather, friends, food, comradeship and the general warmth of friends being part of a community.

  11. I agree ! I do think pawtucket would have been on there vs warren..but warrens streets are so bad .

  12. Not sure who you are or if you’ve ever been to Warwick, but where I live in Warwick it is very peaceful and quite. Every town/city gets a few nuckleheads, but that’s no reason to say that we are one of the worse places to live. This whole world is gone mad.

  13. I love all the comments I am moving to rode island from FL it is a real dump here and im in a rich area! FL sucks RI even in the worst area is by far better then FL! facts

  14. Im born and bread in RI I have best friends from all over the state. The job market is tough there, true that’s why i left in 1992, but the cities you mentioned I never heard of. My first reaction what What?? Where is this writer getting their information from. Crime happens in any parts of the world, but growing up in RI it was only Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Providence. We were happy not to live in New York. Later in the 90’s it trickled to Woonsocket as the generations changed. But we went to church every Sunday and many times Wednesday. And the Central Falls teachers that was 2010 not 2019 and its not them its the students they don’t care so the teachers push them out the door. I also know people that moved to RI and they say they are there to stay. I wish i grew up in Burriville, Woonsocket, or Narraganset. I should send you a copy of the police report when the Lincoln police pulled us over after a high school baseball game because we looked like gang members.

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