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Rhode Island

Basic Information

2010 Census Population: 1,052,567 (43rd)
Land Area: 1,033.8 square miles (50th)
Density: 1,018.1 persons per square mile (2nd)
Capital: Providence
Became a State: May 29, 1790 (13th)
Bordering States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York
Abbreviation: RI
ANSI Code: 44


The area of Rhode Island was part of the original territory of the United States. An original patent was granted for the Providence Plantations in 1643, and a charter was granted for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1663. Rhode Island ratified the Constitution on May 29, 1790; it was the 13th of the original 13 states to join the Union, with generally the same boundary as the present state. However, there were changes to the boundary between Rhode Island and Massachusetts in 1862, and additional changes from a resurvey of that boundary in 1897. The official name of the state is "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

Census data for Rhode Island are available beginning with the 1790 census.

About the Geographic Areas


Rhode Island has one federally recognized American Indian reservation.


Rhode Island has core based statistical areas based on both counties (metropolitan statistical areas and combined statistical areas) and county subdivisions (metropolitan New England city and town areas (NECTAs) and combined NECTAs).

There is one metropolitan statistical area, one combined statistical area, two metropolitan NECTAs, and one combined NECTA.


There are five counties in Rhode Island.  Counties in Rhode Island were legally abolished as governmental units but they continue to serve as geographic subdivisions of the state for Census Bureau purposes.


There are 40 county subdivisions in Rhode Island which are known as minor civil divisions (MCDs). There are 31 towns which are functioning governmental units, each governed by a town council.  The eight cities in Rhode Island are independent of MCDs and serve as county subdivisions.  In addition, there is one undefined MCD which consists of water area.


Rhode Island has 34 places; 8 incorporated places and 26 census designated places (CDPs).  The incorporated places in Rhode Island are all cities and can legally exist in a single county only.  All MCD and place governments in Rhode Island have the same powers and function.  Incorporated places are independent of county subdivisions.


Rhode Island has 244 census tracts, 815 block groups, and 25,181 census blocks.


For the 111th Congress (January 2009-January 2011), Rhode Island had two congressional districts.  For the 113th Congress (January 2013-January 2015), Rhode Island continues to have two congressional districts as a result of reapportionment based on the 2010 Census.


Rhode Island has 5 elementary school districts, 1 secondary school district, and 30 unified school districts.


There are 38 state senate districts and 75 state house districts in Rhode Island.


Rhode Island has 4 urban areas; 3 urbanized areas and 1 urban cluster.


There are 77 ZIP Code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) in Rhode Island.


Rhode Island is the smallest in land area of the 50 states.

Centers of Population

Year North Latitude West Longitude
20106 41° 45′ 13″ 71° 27′ 03″
20006 41° 45′ 12″ 71° 26′ 56″
19905 41° 45′ 16″ 71° 26′ 47″
19804 41° 45′ 34″ 71° 26′ 31″
19703 41° 45′ 39″ 71° 26′ 02″
19603 41° 46′ 13″ 71° 25′ 52″
19503 41° 46′ 47″ 71° 26′ 15″
19402 41° 48′ 36″ 71° 32′ 01″
19302 41° 48′ 50″ 71° 32′ 04″
19201 41° 47′ 43″ 71° 26′ 27″
19101 41° 47′ 24″ 71° 27′ 40″
19001 41° 47′ 05″ 71° 27′ 42″
18901 41° 46′ 46″ 71° 27′ 49″
18801 41° 46′ 14″ 71° 27′ 40″

1  Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1923
2  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, recomputation for historical county level data which relied upon aggregate county level population data with an estimated county centroid resulting in a possible error of up to one mile.
3  Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Centers of Population for States and Counties, 1974
4  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division, recomputation from archived national block group/enumeration area data resulting in a possible error of up to 1,000 feet.
5  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division, recomputation from archived national block group data resulting in a possible error of up to 1,000 feet.
6  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, computation from national block-level data

Most Populous, Largest, and Dense Areas

Population Land Area
(square miles)
Population Density
(Persons per square mile)

Name Population Name Area Name Density
County Providence County 626,667 Providence County 409.50 Bristol County 2,064.0

 - Inc Place Providence city 178,042 Warwick city 35.04 Central Falls city 16,171.7
 - CDP Westerly CDP 17,936 Westerly CDP 15.82 Kingston CDP 4,480.6
Town Coventry town,
Kent County
35,014 Coventry town,
Kent County
59.05 North Providence town,
Providence County

List of Entities

See the Gazetteer Files for a list of geographic entities. See the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas page for a list of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and related statistical areas.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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