We used science and data to determine which places in the Ocean State are the best of the best.
Everyone from the Northeast knows that Rhode Island is pretty sweet overall – great beaches, great sea food, and just a generally good atmosphere to be in. But what are the absolute best places to live in the Ocean State?
After analyzing 59 cities and towns, we came up with this top ten:
- North Kingstown
- South Kingstown
- East Greenwich
How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?
In order to rank the best places to live in Rhode Island, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Highest Home Values
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
- Low Crime
If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from worst to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart. Providence residents might be a bit upset about how low they are on the list.
But hey, the data never lies, does it?
Read on below to learn more about these wonderful places to live in Rhode Island.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
1. North Kingstown
Unemployment rate: 6.3%
Median income: 80,102 $
Crime index: 27th best in Rhode Island
North Kingstown isn’t just the nicest place to live in Rhode Island – it’s also the fasted growing township in the state. And with good reason.
It’s got the 4th lowest unemployment rate, the 9th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.
North Kingstown is both part of the Providence metropolitan area and in Washington County, which comprises the southern portion of the wee state of Rhode Island and is a County you’ll be seeing a lot of on this list.
Unemployment rate: 6.7%
Median income: 83,661 $
Crime index: 3rd best in Rhode Island
Good things do come in small packages; it’s as true of the whole state as it is of Carolina, which with a population of 1,394 is the 13th lowest populated in the state and the smallest on this list.
Relatively low unemployment and relatively high adjusted income are just two blessings Carolina residents enjoy.
The third lowest crime rate in all of Rhode Island makes Carolina the safest place on this list.
Washington county; rt 112 passes through; straddles the border of the towns of Charlestown and Richmond (#6)
Unemployment rate: 6.5%
Median income: 73,308 $
Student-teach ratio:3rd best in Rhode Island
Portsmouth is one of the three places representing Newport County on this list, and it’s the best among them.
Mostly located on Aquidneck Island, which it shares with #5 Middletown, Portsmouth has some of the best education scores in the state.
Add to that a low commute time and some lovely beaches and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet life in Portsmouth.
4. South Kingstown
Unemployment rate: 6.6%
Median income: 73,624 $
Crime index: 14th best in Rhode Island
South Kingstown may not (technically) be as nice as its northern counterpart, it’s still one of the greatest places to be in Rhode Island.
Being in the top 25% for unemployment, education, and crime index all help to keep South Kingstown from acquiring a Kingstown inferiority complex.
That, and the fact that South Kingstown is largest town, in terms of land and water area, in the state.
Washington county; largest town in county + largest TOWN (land and water area) in state
Unemployment rate: 7.1%
Median income: 70,766 $
Crime index: 18th best in Rhode Island
Middletown is so named because it’s in the middle of Portsmouth to the south and Newport to the north – meaning Aquidneck Island gets progressively better as you head south.
Perhaps this location contributes to the fact that Middletown has the 4th lowest commute time in the state, and the lowest on this list.
Not like that’s all Middletown has going for it – the town also has the 11th best student-teacher ratio in Rhode Island.
Unemployment rate: 5.2%
Median income: 82,468 $
Crime index: 6th best in Rhode Island
Located about 35 miles south of the state’s capital, Providence, Richmond has a lot going for it.
The town has the lowest unemployment rate in the whole state, the 6th best crime index, and ranks 8th in education.
Given these impressive numbers, it’s really surprising to see Richmond so low on the list, but if long commutes don’t bother you, Richmond might rank a little higher than indicated here.
Washington county; tho 35 miles south of capital, mostly forested and landlocked
Unemployment rate: 6.4%
Median income: 85,337 $
Crime index: 21st best in Rhode Island
The last of the Newport representatives on this list, Jamestown is located almost entirely on Conanicut Island, the 2nd largest island in Narragansett Bay.
With solid numbers across the board (top 25% in student-teacher ratio, unemployment, and adjusted income), Jamestown is easily in the top ten places to live in Rhode Island.
Unemployment rate: 6.9%
Median income: 95,260 $
Crime index: 5th best in Rhode Island
Exeter is the last of five Washington County towns on this list, and shares a border with Connecticut to the east and #4 South Kingstown and #6 Richmond to the south. It’s a very nice area.
Despite having the highest median income on the list so far, it also has the lowest adjusted income so far, meaning it’s a super pricey area as well. Most residents would argue that it’s worth every penny.
9. East Greenwich
Unemployment rate: 7%
Median income: 97,623 $
Crime index: 12th best in Rhode Island
East Greenwich, part of Kent County, is the first non-Washington or Newport County town on the list.
East Greenwich enjoys the distinction of being the wealthiest municipality in the state, as well as doing well in most in most categories, especially student-teacher ratio and crime.
Unemployment rate: 7%
Median income: 60,980 $
Student-teacher ratio: 6th best in Rhode Island
Warwick is second only to Providence in state as far as population goes, but it’s by far the most populated place on this list.
Located 12 miles south of downtown Providence, Warwick ranks in the top 30% for almost every category.
Also, if you ever fly into Rhode Island, Warwick will probably be your first impression, since its home to the state’s main airport. Not a bad place to start!
There You Have it
It looks like life in Rhode Island just gets better the further south you go. And, if you’re analyzing places in Rhode Island with the best economic situations, where there’s low crime and there’s a lot to do, this is an accurate list.