Who Lives here?

Rhode Island became home to the exiled Reverend Roger Williams in 1636. He was a religious zealot who was deemed to be an out-of-control rabble-rouser by the leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Exile, however, did not silence him and Williams was followed by other religious exiles over the next few years.

Just like the youngest child in a large family, Rhode Island periodically feels the need to scream for attention. It is the tiniest state of the 50 United States of America and is distinguished for various rebellions over the years since its founding.

It was the first to claim its independence from England in May of 1776. However, it was not until May 29, 1790 that it joined the other 12 original colonies and ratified the new Constitution. True to its reputation as a rebellious little colony, it steadfastly refused to sign this cornerstone document until it contained a Bill of Rights for all citizens of the new country. These rights had to include - but were not limited to - religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom from incrimination, freedom from unlawful search and seizure.

The Smallest State

Officially known as “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”, this tiny state measures only 1,044 square miles. There are just five counties - with no governing powers - which only serve to establish regions within the state. The largest of these counties is Providence County.

Providence is the state capital, founded by the Reverend Roger Williams upon his arrival in this area.

“Little Rhody” has five counties, the largest being Providence County, covering 413 square miles of Rhode Island. Ironically, there are 639,653 people living within that small area - as of the most recently available 2005 figures.

The geographic center of Rhode Island is said to be one mile south/southwest of Crompton, a town in Kent County. The other three counties are Bristol, Newport and Washington.

This little state with the longest name is ranked #11 on the 2007 list of the healthiest states for its residents. In 2006, it was ranked #13. Unfortunately, it dropped from #26 on the 2006 list of most livable states to #28 on the 2007 list. The 2004 United States’ crime rates showed a bit of a rise in the Rhode Island statistics, although there are still 34 other states with the distinction of being more dangerous than this one.

Cities and Towns

Although there are only five counties in Rhode Island, this little state has 39 cities and towns - plus (approximately) 176 villages and tribal sectors. Each of the 39 cities and towns has something unusual or distinctive about it. The tribal sectors lend a rich history and tradition to the Ocean State.

The following figures are rounded off and are taken from the 2005 estimated population count. Providence is the capital and the largest city in Rhode Island with an approximate population of 176,000 people. Warwick is the second largest city and is home to about 87,000 people. Cranston - with close to 82,000 - is third in line. Pawtucket, East Providence and Woonsocket follow with 74,000, 49,000 and 44,000 respectively.

About the People : Certain Rhode Island Demographics

The latest information available from the Office of Rhode Island Secretary of State was reported in 2002 and showed an average personal income of $31,000. This per capita income stretches across a working population of 723,094 ages 17- 69.

The total population is estimated at 1,076,000, with 61,500 under five years old. The latest records show that the general population consists of 518,400 males and 557,750 females. Statewide, the school-age population (5-17 years old) totals approximately 175,500. The Rhode Island senior group is aged 70 and above and numbers 116,000 strong.

Based on these demographics, it is easy to see how Rhode Island has been ranked the second most densely populated state. There are at least 1,000 people packed into each square mile and each State Legislator represents a district of 9500 constituents.

The Rhode Island demographics show the following:

6,102 American Indian and Native Alaskan
29,180 Asian
64,001 Black / African American
1,268 Hawaiian / Pacific Islander
102,660 Hispanic / Latino
960,415 White / Caucasian
15,198 Other races