THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2020


We used science and data to determine which Rhode Island cities are the cream of the crop.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Rhode Island.

If you've never hiked Newport's Cliff Walk, surfed Westerly's Misquamicut State Beach, or had a fresh plate of clam cakes in Narragansett, then you've not witnessed what the good people of Rhode Island already know; they have some of the best places in America to call home.

Lucky for you, HomeSnacks is handing you the ultimate Rhode Island life hack: we've created a list of the top ten best places to live in The Ocean State for 2020. You should definitely take a look below, there might be some places on this list that surprise you.

But what is not surprising is the gold star quality of life in Rhode Island; and that folks, comes with a price. If you want to live in one of Rhode Island's best places, you're going to have to find a good job. This shouldn't be too hard considering Rhode Island's unemployment rate is 3.3%. Coincidentally, Rhode Island is super safe. It's one of the least dangerous states in the country.

So, want to know where the best places in Rhode Island are to find a good job, the best neighborhood, affordable housing, and Blue Ribbon schools?

We suggest you grab an ice cold Del's Lemonade, find a quiet spot along the Black River in Valley Falls, and read on.

Notables like Taylor Swift and Conan O'Brien have been singing Little Rhody's praises for years; and rightfully so, this New England state has some of the best landscapes, amazing seafood, and friendly people.

However, there can be only one number one best place to live in Rhode Island. What's the best place to live in Rhode Island for 2020? According to the most recent Census and FBI data, the best place to live in Rhode Island would be Kingston.

To see Rhode Island's other best places to live, take a look below. And if you don't find your favorite there, head to the bottom.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Rhode Island reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2020

Kingston, RI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 6,789
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $353,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (23rd best)
More on Kingston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We think the motto in Kingston should be "Everything is greater in Kingston," and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.

Kingston has some of the highest home values in Rhode Island, and they're going up fast. Additionally, Kingston only has 21.1% of its residents living in poverty.

Crime is also well below the state average, making Kingston a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.

Ashaway, RI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,186
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $241,800 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.7% (3rd best)
More on Ashaway: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Looks like little Ashaway might be a hidden gem in Rhode Island. The population is shrinking a bit, despite the fact that home values are still rising ($241,800) and crime is really low (6th lowest in the state).

Perhaps the cat's now out of the bag -- quick better move in before prices go up more.

Hope Valley, RI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,633
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $248,200 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (7th best)
More on Hope Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hope Valley had the 7th lowest unemployment of any place in our research (4.7%) and the 6th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.

Hope Valley is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it's like to live there.

Cumberland Hill, RI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,142
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $251,300 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.4% (1st best)
More on Cumberland Hill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cumberland Hill makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Rhode Island mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 0.4% of folks are jobless, you can bet Cumberland Hill residents are glad to live where they do.

Wakefield-Peacedale, RI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 9,092
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $320,100 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (18th best)
More on Wakefield-Peacedale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

You might be surprised to see the Town of Wakefield-Peacedale so high on the list. Unless you live in Wakefield-Peacedale.

The unemployment rate here is really low, and at 7.8%, Wakefield-Peacedale residents are some of the hardest working in the state of Rhode Island. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Wakefield-Peacedale is doing quite well.

Let's be honest -- Wakefield-Peacedale is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Warwick, RI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 81,079
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $213,300 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (10th best)
More on Warwick: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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!

Cranston, RI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 81,196
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $228,300 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (11th best)
More on Cranston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cranston has a strong showing in our best places to live in Rhode Island analysis, coming it at 7th best.

It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.

If you're thinking of moving to Rhode Island, Cranston is a great option.

Narragansett Pier, RI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,725
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $515,500 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (14th best)
More on Narragansett Pier: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Narragansett Pier isn't just the nicest place to live in Rhode Island - it's also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It's got the 14th lowest unemployment rate, the 15th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you're looking at science and data, Narragansett Pier definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2020.

Newport, RI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 24,762
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $425,400 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (6th best)
More on Newport: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newport's unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 17th highest, making Newport a great place to work and settle down if you're look for a stable job with a stable income.

Additionally, Newport has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.

Westerly, RI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,435
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $283,300 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (16th best)
More on Westerly: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Westerly has it made. In fact, according to science, it's one of the best places to live in the state of Rhode Island.

The unemployment rate is the 16th lowest in the state at 7.2%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $62,830, and the average cost of a home is $283,300. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.

We wouldn't be surprised if more and more publications call Westerly one of America's gems.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Rhode Island

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Providence with a population of 179,435 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 1,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 1,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 24 cities, 0 towns, and 8 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Rhode Island have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 1,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Rhode Island

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Rhode Island across a number of criteria from one to 24, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Rhode Island".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Rhode Island? That would be Kingston.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Rhode Island.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Kingston at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Rhode Island

If you're looking at areas in Rhode Island with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Kingston made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Rhode Island for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Rhode Island

Best Small Towns To Live In Rhode Island

  1. Watch Hill (Pop. 167)
  2. Weekapaug (Pop. 402)
  3. Quonochontaug (Pop. 639)
  4. Harmony (Pop. 909)
  5. Carolina (Pop. 754)
  6. Greene (Pop. 728)
  7. Misquamicut (Pop. 416)
  8. Hopkinton (Pop. 450)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Rhode Island according to the data:

  1. Harrisville (Pop. 1,348)
  2. Providence (Pop. 179,435)
  3. Woonsocket (Pop. 41,539)

For more Rhode Island reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Rhode Island?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Kingston 6,789 12.9% $353,000
2 Ashaway 1,186 1.7% $241,800
3 Hope Valley 1,633 4.7% $248,200
4 Cumberland Hill 8,142 0.4% $251,300
5 Wakefield-Peacedale 9,092 7.8% $320,100
6 Warwick 81,079 5.2% $213,300
7 Cranston 81,196 5.4% $228,300
8 Narragansett Pier 3,725 5.9% $515,500
9 Newport 24,762 4.7% $425,400
10 Westerly 17,435 7.2% $283,300

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

2 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Rhode Island For 2020

  1. Anyone who puts Central Falls and Cranston ahead of places like Bristol as a best city to live in Rhode Island, knows nothing about Rhode Island.

  2. Please please Must leave wonderful Colorado But can’t do high altitude breathing at 91 years Still intelligent independent Make my own meals Must be driving distance from son lives Pawtucket I can do $2000 a month rent. Ideas?? Please city ?

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