Don’t be fooled by its small size: Rhode Island, or The Ocean State, as it is also known, has always played an important role in the history of the United States — including being the first colony to renounce its allegiance to Britain and being the state that pushed the United States towards the Industrial Revolution!
With a population of a little over 1 million residents, Rhode Island has one of the best healthcare systems in the country, and it is also the most environment-friendly state in America, ranking at #1 in terms of air and water quality.
Rhode Island shares its borders with important states in the New England region, including Massachusetts and Connecticut. If you’re thinking of moving to the smallest state in the U.S., we’re here to help you! Check out our complete guide on moving to Rhode Island!
Pros and Cons
Just like every other state in America, or any place on the planet, moving to Rhode Island has its pros and cons. Whether one outweighs the other, it’s up to you to decide — but here are 7 advantages and 7 disadvantages of moving to Rhode Island:
- Close to major states: Rhode Island shares its borders with two major states in the region, Connecticut and Massachusetts. On top of that, New York City is only 3 hours away from Providence!
- Crime rates: Among all fifty states, Rhode Island is #7 when it comes to public safety, and has a violent crime rate that is well below the national average.
- Lots of activities: Whether you prefer going on hikes or spending the day at the beach, you’ll find that Rhode Island has it all!
- Short distances: One of the best aspects about Rhode Island is that this state is so small you can get pretty much anywhere without having to drive very far!
- Architecture: If architecture is something you’re interested in, you’ll get to see beautiful buildings and houses all over Rhode Island.
- Ocean State: Rhode Island was given this nickname for a reason: almost 14% of its area is covered in beautiful waters!
- Environment: The State of Rhode Island has the best air and water quality in the country — and it only dumps 349 pounds of industrial toxins in the air, way below the national average of 1,015 pounds per square mile!
- Weather: Just like its fellow states in the New England region, Rhode Island can experience scorching hot summers and snowy winters.
- Cost of living: Similarly to its border states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, Rhode Island has one of the highest cost-of-living rates in the country!
- Taxes: When it comes to tax-paying, Rhode Island is one of the least friendly states in America — especially for retirees.
- Traffic: Because of its small size, the traffic in Rhode Island can be pretty intense.
- Mountains: Unlike other states in the New England region, Rhode Island is mostly flat. If you want to visit a mountain, you’ll have to drive to Massachusetts.
- Not so friendly: According to some Rhode Island residents, the people in this state can be quite unfriendly at times.
- Infrastructure: Rhode Island has the worst transportation among all fifty states, according to reports on the best states in America. On top of that, the percentage of roads in poor conditions is above the average in the Ocean State.
A state with such an extensive history is certainly bound to have plenty of fun and interesting facts! One of the original thirteen colonies, Rhode Island is home to over 40 miles of shoreline, was the set location for commercially and culturally-successful films, and is also the birthplace of famous artists. Here are 8 fun facts about Rhode Island:
- Smallest state: Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S.A., at only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long!
- Just a few counties: Considering its small size, it’s no surprise that the state of Rhode Island only has five counties, and none of them have a local government.
- No prohibition: Back in the 20th century, Rhode Island was the only American state to reject the 18th amendment, which prohibited the manufacturing and selling of alcoholic drinks.
- Kennedy wedding: On top of being the oldest parish in Rhode Island, St. Mary’s was also the place where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy got married.
- Longest name: Just like its shoreline (which is approximately 380 miles long), Rhode Island’s official name is so long that it’s considered the longest official state name in America: it’s called the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”.
- Bill of Rights: Back when the first U.S. Constitution was being created, Rhode Island was the last state to ratify it, as they refused to ratify a constitution without a bill of rights!
- Oldest synagogue: Rhode Island is home to the oldest synagogue in North America, the Touro Synagogue in Newport.
- Industrial Revolution: When Samuel Slater built a water-powered cotton mill in Rhode Island, his invention paved the way for the United States to start their Industrial Revolution!
Funny State Laws
It’s safe to say that every state has at least one or two funny laws. Though we’re sure they weren’t meant to be funny when they were first created, these laws seem weird and always make us wonder why they were created in the first place! Here are 5 funny laws in the state of Rhode Island:
- No biting: If you’re in the Ocean State, please keep in mind that biting one’s limbs off is illegal! We’re not sure why someone would do that, or why this law was created, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Highway Horse: Do you have a horse? Beware: you’re legally forbidden to test your horse’s speed when you’re in Rhode Island!
- Transparent clothes: If you’re into wearing transparent clothing items, don’t do that in Rhode Island! It’s illegal to wear transparent clothes in this state.
- Sales on Sunday: Store owners are forbidden by law to sell toothpaste and toothbrushes to the same client on Sundays.
- Golden Hour: If you’re in Newport, keep in mind that it’s illegal to smoke pipes after the sun has gone down!
Weather and Climate
Similar to its neighboring states (Massachusetts and Connecticut), the climate in Rhode Island is classified as humid continental. This classification means that the Ocean State has hot summers and snowy winters — the temperature can go as high as 100 °F during the summer, while it can drop to 15 °F in the winter. An interesting characteristic of Rhode Island’s climate is that it’s not unusual for weather and the temperature to change drastically throughout the day. If you’re in Rhode Island anytime between November and February, you’ll experience a harsh cold and occasional blizzards. Now, if you’re in the Ocean State from June to August, you’ll get to see hot, sunny days — which makes this a great period to visit one of the beaches in Rhode Island!
Let’s face it: we’re all so immersed in modernity that it can be hard to even think about disconnecting from the world for at least a day. However, there’s nothing more refreshing and healing than spending some time connecting with nature instead. If you’re moving to Rhode Island, you’ll have the opportunity to visit beautiful beaches. Though this small state doesn’t have mountains, you can still visit some gorgeous cliffs — not to mention the amazing rivers and ponds all over the place! Here are 5 places in Rhode Island that you must visit:
- The Blackstone River
- Mohegan Bluffs
- Stepstone Falls
- Osamequin Nature Trails and Bird Sanctuary
- Ell Pond
No state is safe from natural disasters, unfortunately. However, some are more affected by different events than others, and that is the case in Rhode Island — this state is not affected by natural disasters as often as other states. To this day, Hurricane Bob (which affected a great part of the New England region) remains one of the worst disasters in Rhode Island’s history. According to data, there are several parts of Rhode Island that are more vulnerable to the different types of natural disasters, including Providence and Newport. Here are the most common natural disasters in Rhode Island:
Moving Prices from Major Cities
No matter where you’re moving, it’s highly likely you’ll have to spend quite a lot of money. While moving to some locations that are nearer to your new area will be cheaper, moving from major cities can be more expensive. Because of that, it’s important that you do thorough research and that you try to find the best prices possible — tools such as our moving costs calculator can help you with that. To help you get a head start, here are the moving prices to Rhode Island from 7 major cities in the States:
- Moving from New York City, NY to Rhode Island: $1668 – $2780
- Moving from Boston, MA to Rhode Island: $1491 – $2485
- Moving from Dallas, TX to Rhode Island: $3764 – $6273
- Moving from Milwaukee, WI to Rhode Island: $2853 – $4755
- Moving from Seattle, WA to Rhode Island: $5487 – $9145
- Moving from Los Angeles, CA to Rhode Island: $5442 – $9070
- Moving from Nashville, TN to Rhode Island: $2870 – $4783
Housing / Real Estate
The real estate market in the state of Rhode Island has seen a few great years over the past couple of years. Since 2018, the median house price has been on the rise, increasing by more than 9% over the past year alone. Currently, the median home price in Rhode Island stands at approximately $331,450. The median rent price in the region is also on the rise, and Providence has one of the highest rent prices in the state, at $1,950 per month.
Price of Living
If you’re moving to Rhode Island, one of the best things you can do beforehand is to estimate how much you’ll spend annually with costs of living. Some areas are naturally more expensive than others but keep in mind that higher costs of living are also associated with a better quality of living. To help you get an idea of how much a family of 2 adults and 2 children would spend annually in Rhode Island, here are the prices of living in 5 different regions of the Ocean State:
All data used in the tables were extracted from the Family Budget Calculator provided by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
As of July 2019, the population in the state of Rhode Island was approximately 1,6 million people. Out of this number, more than 51% were females and 10,8% were people living in poverty. More than 150,000 Rhode Island residents were born outside of the country, and the most used foreign languages were Spanish and Portuguese. The racial composition of the Ocean State was:
- White (non-Hispanic): 71,4%
- Hispanic or Latino: 16,3%
- Black or African American: 8,5%
- Asian: 3,7%
Among all fifty states, Rhode Island ranks #41 in terms of education. Unfortunately, that means that the Ocean State has one of the worst education systems in the country, both for Pre K-12 and higher education. Here are the top schools and universities in Rhode Island:
- Classical High School
- Barrington High School
- Blackstone Valley Prep High
- East Greenwich High
- Portsmouth High School
Universities / Colleges
- Brown University
- University of Rhode Island
- Providence College
- New England Institute of Technology
- Bryant University
Healthcare and Medical Institutions
Healthcare in Rhode Island is run by the government — the service is called HealthSource RI — and the state ranks #5 in terms of health care. That means that access to health care in Rhode Island is better than in most states, as well as the quality of health care. Every citizen in the Ocean State must have health insurance and over 20% of the population has a Medicare program. Here are the top medical institutions in Rhode Island:
- Miriam Hospital, Providence
- Eleanor Slater Hospital, Cranston
- Kent County Memorial Hospital, Warwick
- Newport Hospital, Newport
- Landmark Medical Center, Woonsocket
Tourism / Attractions
While Rhode Island is not as geographically diverse as Maryland or the other New England states, it still has plenty of attractions for tourists and for residents. If you’re moving to Rhode Island from a land-locked state, you’ll love to know that there are plenty of beaches for you to enjoy with your family. Now, if you’re more into forests and hiking, the Ocean State also has breathtaking trails! Here are the top attractions in Rhode Island:
- The Breakers, Newport
- Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence
- Colt State Park, Bristol
- Mohegan Bluffs
- Narragansett Bay Beaches
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in America, but it has some pretty amazing and well-known cities. While some are more modern-looking, other cities are picturesque and the perfect background if you’re looking forward to taking a bunch of pictures once you move to Rhode Island! Here are the top 5 cities in the Ocean State:
- Providence: On top of being the capital of Rhode Island, Providence is the most populous city in the state, being home to more than 175,000 people.
- Newport: One of the most beautiful cities in Rhode Island, Newport is known for the luxurious mansions located all over the place and the beautiful beaches.
- Warwick: Home to Rhode Island’s most important airport, Warwick has a rich history that dates back to 1642, including events that were crucial to the American Revolution!
- Cranston: After Providence, Cranston has the largest population in Rhode Island, with a little over 80,000 residents. It is considered one of the safest cities to live in America!
- Narragansett: While this town has a population of fewer than 20,000 residents, it is one of the most popular destinations during the summer, thanks to its amazing beaches.
Currently, there are over 500,000 people employed in Rhode Island — which means that more than 50% of the population has a job. The highest paying jobs in Rhode Island are in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, which pays over $155,000. Here are the top hiring companies in Rhode Island:
- CVS Health
- Citizens Financial Group
- Brown University
- Rhode Island Hospital
If you’re moving to Rhode Island and need help finding a job, you check the Employment section on the state’s official website.
In Rhode Island, the income inequality rate is lower than the national average, which means that men earn slightly more money than women in this state. The median income in 2018 was approximately $65,000 per household, and Washington County had the highest median household income (a little over $89,000). Here are the three top industries in Rhode Island:
- Food services
Things to do
Moving to a new place means that you’ll get the chance to experience a lot of new things. You’ll get a new job, meet new people — and you’ll have the opportunity to see new places and go on amazing adventures! If you’re moving to Rhode Island, here are 8 things you can do in the Ocean State:
- Mohegan Bluffs: Block Island in Rhode Island is known for its beautiful beaches, including Mohegan Bluffs. The best part about this beach? Your dog is more than welcome to come with you — as long as it’s leashed!
- Jamestown Outdoors: What is the point of visiting the Ocean State if you’re not going to throw yourself in the water? Jamestown Outdoors features plenty of water sports that will give you the time of your life!
- Watch Hill in Westerly: If you’re all about that scenic view, you must visit Watch Hill. This picturesque village will give you great pictures — and you may even catch a glimpse of pop superstar and Watch Hill summer resident Taylor Swift.
- The Breakers: Do you enjoy learning about the history of our beautiful country? Then you can’t miss the opportunity to visit The Breakers in Newport — this Vanderbilt mansion is an important landmark.
- Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village: This is the perfect place to go if you love animals and want to see as many of them as possible! The Roger Williams Park Zoo houses over 150 species — including endangered species!
- Blackstone River State Park: Built in 1828, this state park has walking trails, bike paths, and freshwater fishing — the perfect combination of activities to have fun over the weekend!
- Cliff Walk: If you’re a fit person who happens to love scenic views, you’ll love to take a walk on this 3.5-miles-long walkway with an ocean view!
- Brown University: This Ivy League school is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in America. Brown University is the alma mater of artists including Laura Linney and Emma Watson — and it has guided tours!
In terms of transportation, Rhode Island ranks in the last position among all fifty states. The Ocean State has one of the worst bridge and road qualities in the United States, and the commute time in Rhode Island is also one of the longest, in spite of being the smallest state in the country. Here are the main means of transportation in Rhode Island:
|RIPTA Farebox||One way: $2.00|
|RIPTA Wave||Full fare: $2.00 / Senior off-peak: $1.00|
|RIde/Paratransit||Full fare: $4.00|
|Pt. Judith Traditional Ferry||One way: $11.80|
|Newport Hi-Speed Ferry||One way: $25.50|
|Amtrak (Providence to NYC)||One way: $35-$50|
|Fall River Hi-Speed Ferry||One way: $30|
|Pt. Judith Hi-Speed Ferry||One way: $25.50|
Crime and Safety
Rhode Island is the smallest state in America, and it has its perks: it is also one of the safest states in the country! While the national average rate of violent crimes is 394 per 100,000 residents, Rhode Island’s rate is only 232 per 100,000. The property crime rate of approximately 17 per 1,000 residents is also considerably below the national average. Crime rates in Rhode Island are decreasing, and the Ocean State ranks #7 in terms of public safety. Here are the 5 safest cities in Rhode Island:
Acquire a New Driver’s License
In the United States, when you move to a new location, one of the first things you have to do is transfer your documentation to your new state. In Rhode Island, the law is no different: you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 30 days after becoming a resident in the Ocean State. Here’s what you have to do to acquire a new driver’s license in Rhode Island:
- Fill in the LI-1 form (Application for License, Identification Card, and Permit)
- Check the
document checklist. You’ll need a:
- Proof of identity
- Two proofs of residency
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Current out-of-state driver’s license
- Pay the license transfer fee of $54.50 (as of January/2021)
- Set an appointment at the DMV.
Road Safety, Highways, and Routes
The Ocean State may only be 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, but that doesn’t mean that this small state is safe from road accidents. In Rhode Island, the most common causes of fatal crashes on highways are drunk driving and distracted driving. That is why the Department of Transit has created several safe driving programs through the Office of Safety. Here are the main highways and routes in Rhode Island:
Interstate and U.S. Highways
- US 1
- US 6
- Route 1A
- Route 102
- Route 114
- Route 138
- Route 7
Rhode Island is also known as the Ocean State, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have other things to offer. In fact, Rhode Island is pretty well-known for the arts that can be found in its museums. If you prefer to spend your free time getting immersed in art and history, here are the top 7 museums you can visit in Rhode Island:
- Rhode Island School of Design Museum
- Warwick Center for the Arts
- Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark
- Bristol Historical and Preservation Society Museum and Library
- Coggeshall Farm Museum
- Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
- Herreshoff Marine Museum
In the end, is moving to Rhode Island worth it?
The smallest state in America, Rhode Island is known for having scenic views and picturesque towns all across its area. It is the #1 state for the natural environment, one of the best states for healthcare, and one of the top states in terms of crime and corrections. Rhode Island is home to a few of the safest cities in America, and that makes it a great place to move with your family, especially if you’re in the food, or education, or pharmaceutical industries.
How to move to Rhode Island
Any disruption in our daily routines can be quite stressful — and moving to a new place is no different. There are several little details that must be taken into consideration before, during, and after moving. Our goal is to help your moving process go as smoothly as possible, so here are 10 tips on how to move to Rhode Island!
- Plan Ahead: First things first — if you’re moving to Rhode Island, you have to plan ahead, mainly because you don’t want anything to go wrong.
- Downsize: We’re all aware that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that’s why we want to save our hard-earned money. When you’re moving to Rhode Island, downsizing is one of the things you can do to save money.
- Get Moving Quotes: Another tip to save money is to get three or more moving quotes from different movers. Our moving costs calculator can help you get free moving quotes in less than 5 minutes!
- Book Movers: Once you’ve got enough quotes and found the best moving company for your needs, it’s time to book their services.
- Visit Your New Area: If you want to avoid any regrets in the long-run, one of the things you can do is visit your new area and see if it’s truly a fit for you and your family.
- Start Packing: The bureaucratic part of getting moving quotes and hiring movers is over. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and start packing your belongings! Our downloadable moving checklist can help you throughout this step!
- Create Essential Box: A fact: once you get to your new home, you’ll be exhausted. Another fact: you’ll want to find certain items (such as toothbrushes, water bottles, food packages, et cetera) as easily as possible. A solution: creating an Essentials box!
- Say Farewells: This is probably the most emotional part of moving to a new location. You’ll be leaving behind dear friends and beloved relatives — so make sure to save a lot of time to say your farewells before the big day!
- Get Some Rest: Try to get a good night’s sleep before you move to Rhode Island. You’ll want to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible for this moment!
- Enjoy the Move: This may seem like an obvious tip but trust us when we say that making sure that nothing in your moving process will go wrong is pretty stressful and will take its toll on you. Try to stay positive and keep your head high — the moving company you booked will take good care of your belongings, so enjoy the move!
Moving services to help you relocate to Rhode Island
Are you moving to Rhode Island but have never moved before? If that’s the case, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the amount of information, and terms, and details that are related to the moving process. We want to make your life simple, so here are the definitions of 10 common terms related to moving services that will help you when you’re moving to Rhode Island:
- Furniture Transportation: This moving service should be hired when you’re moving to a new location and bringing your furniture with you.
- Residential Movers: Residential movers work with the transportation of items from one house to another.
- Piano Transportation: Piano players that might be interested in moving a piano to a new location should contact movers that offer piano transportation services specifically.
- Art and Antiques Movers: Considering that art pieces and antiques require more attention and care, you should contact moving companies that specialize in this type of service.
- Hot Tub Movers: Hot tubs are heavier than most items and require a significantly larger amount of attention — not all movers offer this service, so be mindful of that when hiring a mover.
- Pool Table Movers: Another bulky item that will take slightly more work to move is a pool table. Try to find a mover that offers pool table moving services.
- Office Movers: If you’re not moving from one house to another, but rather moving from an office to another office, there are moving companies that focus on this type of moving service.
- Long Distance Movers: If you’re moving to Rhode Island from a state on the other side of the country, for instance, keep in mind that not all companies work with long-distance moving.
- Last Minute Movers: In the event that your plans end up changing and you have to move earlier than expected, some companies will offer services for last-minute moving — but keep in mind that this type of moving service will probably cost more money.