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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 needs some tough love as it ranks as the worst city to live in Rhode Island for 2020. 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 Chepachet is the 4th highest in the state, where 1 in 31.6 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
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.
While numbers in Rhode Island are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Rhode Island cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Providence average $192,100, which is the 5th lowest in the state. Say what you want about 'cheap living,' the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Providence.
Plus, 26.0% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 4th highest in the state here. Every year, when you're within Providence city limits, you have a 1 in 31.6 chance of being robbed. That's a lot of broken into cars and homes.
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.
Pawtucket is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Pawtucket is the 9th most dangerous place you can live in Rhode Island.
Residents in Pawtucket have a 1 in 38.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you're considering home prices, you can't do much lower than in Pawtucket, where average homes are valued at only$181,900. That's the 4th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
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 is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we're aware that it's beautiful and "fun". But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Valley Falls residents earn the 17th-lowest salaries in the state. At $76,004 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $224,000, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 4th highest in Rhode Island per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 2highest in the state, at 3.0%.
When you're looking at science and data, Greenville is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Rhode Island. Let's see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Rhode Island. Greenville is the 4th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 31.6 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $271,000, which is the 18th lowest in the state. You can defend 'cheap living' all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Greenville.
Income levels are just about $82,216, the 19th lowest in Rhode Island.
When you add it all up, Greenville really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
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:
- 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?