Capital city Providence
Population 1,098,163 (2020)
Surface 4005 km²
Governor Daniel McKee (D)
Member of the US since 1790

A map of Rhode Island (click to enlarge)

Rhode Island is one of the fifty states of the United States. The state is located in the northeast of the country, in the New England region. Rhode Island’s abbreviation is RI. Its nickname is ‘The Ocean State’. The state has more than 1 million inhabitants and is the seventh least populous state in the US. That is not surprising, because Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US in terms of area. Rhode Island borders the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts. The state also lies on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Rhode Island is Providence. Rhode Island was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, who was expelled from the Massachusetts colony. Rhode Island became a place where there was freedom of religion. The colony was in the possession of the British. It was also the first state to outlaw slavery. In 1776, Rhode Island was the first colony to renounce its allegiance to the British crown. This means that Rhode Island is the first of the thirteen colonies to no longer declare itself a British colony. Rhode Island was the last of the colonies to sign the United States Constitution and therefore did not join the United States until 1790. Rhode Island was officially called Rhode Island and Providence Plantations until 2020, although the state was often referred to only as Rhode Island. After a referendum in 2020, it was decided to remove and Providence Plantations from the name. Like most New England states, Rhode Island is a “blue state,” meaning the Democratic Party has a large majority there. Rhode Island also has a comprehensive health and social security system. Rhode Island is one of the richest states in the United States by average income. Rhode Island is also known for the famous Brown University, its coasts and its seafood dishes.




The coast at Newport

Rhode Island is bordered to the north and east by Massachusetts and to the west by Connecticut. Rhode Island is located behind the strait between New York’s Long Island and the islands of Massachusetts. Called the Rhode Island Sound, this strait provides direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. Off the coast of Rhode Island are several islands, including Block Island. Eastern Rhode Island is formed by Narragansett Bay, into which several rivers flow, such as the Taunton. There are also several islands in the bay, including Conanicut Island and Aquidneck Island. The state is generally very flat, only the northwest is a bit more hilly. Jerimoth Hill is the highest point in the state at 247 meters high. Rhode Island has many beaches on its coasts. There are also many forest areas here.

Rhode Island’s 10 Largest Cities

Number City Inhabitants
1 Providence 180,393
2 Warwick 82,672
3 Cranston 80,387
4 Pawtucket 72.001
5 East Providence 47,600
6 residential socket 41,759
7 Coventry 34,933
8 Cumberland 34,927
9 New Providence 32.511
10 South Kingston 30,788


One of the forest areas in Rhode Island

Most of Rhode Island has a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. Rhode Island has to deal with precipitation throughout the year. The south of the state has a more maritime climate with milder winters and cooler summers. In winter there is often a mix of snow and rain. The highest temperature ever recorded in Rhode Island was 40°C in 1975. The coldest temperature ever recorded was -31°C in 1996. Rhode Island experiences tropical storms from time to time, but often these Rhode Island Island passed or are they weakened. The last hurricane to cause significant damage was Hurricane Bob in 1991.



In 2020, Rhode Island has more than 1,097,000 inhabitants. The population of the state is still growing, mainly due to migration to the state. The state’s population is mostly white Americans; who make up 76% of the population. 6% are African American and 5% Latino. Only 58% of the population was born in Rhode Island itself. 27% of the population was born in a US state and 2% is from Puerto Rico. 13% of residents were born abroad. Most of the people who move to Rhode Island come from other US states. Immigration from other countries is declining these days. Most residents have an Irish migration background, followed by an Italian, English and French migration background.

The Touro Synagogue; the oldest synagogue in the United States


75% of Rhode Island residents are 75%, of which 42% are Catholic, 30% Protestant, and 3% other Christian denominations. 20% are non-believers or have no faith. The rest of the population adheres to minor religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. The fact that the Roman Catholic Church has mainly to do with the many migrations from Ireland and Italy. Irish migrants came to Rhode Island in the colonial era for freedom of religion. In Ireland, then a British colony, the Catholic Church was banned. Because of the amount of Catholics, many Italian migrants later settled in the state. Most of the Jews in the state are originally from Portugal. Rhode Island owns the oldest synagogue in the United States; the Touro Synagogue in Newport.


State institution

The Rhode Island State Capitol in Providence

The Rhode Island government is located in the state capital Providence. The state governor is Democrat Daniel McKee with Sabina Matosas his lieutenant governor (sort of vice governor). The governor is the leader of the government of Rhode Island, which includes several ministers, including the Secretary of Transportation, Education, and Care. The governor is elected by direct election and can be removed by parliament. In that case, he/she is replaced by the lieutenant governor. A governor must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of Rhode Island for at least 30 days and registered as a voter in the state. Elections take place every four years and a governor can serve up to two terms. In addition, Rhode Island also has an elected parliament, the General Assembly. This parliament consists of two chambers:

  • The House of Representatives, consisting of 75 members.
  • The Senate, consisting of 38 members.

The Democratic Party has an absolute majority in both chambers. This means they can pass legislation without the help of the Republican Party. Besides the Democrats and Republicans, there are no other parties or independent members represented in parliament.

The counties of Rhode Island

Rhode Island has two seats in the United States Senate and two seats in the United States House of Representatives. The two state senators are Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed. The delegates on behalf of the state are also both members of the Democratic Party. Rhode Island has four electoral votes in the United States presidential election. In general, these electoral votes always go to the Democratic Party. Since 1952, Rhode Island has voted for a Republican presidential candidate only four times; the last time was in 1984 on Ronald Reagan. Rhode Island is considered a “blue state” as it is almost certain that the vast majority will vote for Democrats. For example, in 1964, more than 80% of voters voted for President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Administrative division

How many counties in Rhode Island? Rhode Island has 5 counties.

Counties of Rhode Island

Name Capital (County Seat) Inhabitants
1. Bristol County Bristol 50,793
2. Kent County East Greenwich 170,363
3. Newport County Newport 85,643
4. Providence County Providence 660,741
5. Washington County South Kingston 129,839


Slater Mill is considered the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution

Rhode Island’s economy was originally focused on fishing. This changed when Samuel Slater set up the first cotton mill in Pawtucket in 1793, Slater Mill. Rhode Island then became the center of American textile manufacturing and many textile mills remained in Rhode Island until the 1930s. During the Great Depressionhowever, many factories moved to the southern United States. Although Rhode Island is still a major producer of textiles and many fish are caught in Rhode Island, it no longer has the status it used to be. Rhode Island is a major jewelry and silverware state. The state is also a major maker of submarines and other ships. Many health care institutions and insurance companies are also located in the state. Rhode Island’s economy today is more service-oriented. In addition to health care, tourism is an important source of income for the state.

Rhode Island - The Ocean State

Rhode Island – The Ocean State
Tagged on: