Rhode Island Population 2016

The state of Rhode Island is the smallest in the United States as far as surface area is concerned, but it has a healthy population by comparison. The last official US Census in 2010 showed that there were 1,052,567 people living here and that made Rhode Island larger than seven other states across the country.

The 2013 population of Rhode Island is estimated at 1,049,156, which is actually lower than the 2010 Census, and the previous year. That's because Rhode Island currently has a growth rate of -0.11%, which ranks 51st in the country. No other state, including the District of Columbia, has a slower growth rate.

Read on to find out more about the population of Rhode Island, or click through to our overview article about the population of the United States to find out more about the demographics of the country as a whole.

Rhode Island Population 2014

The national 2010 Census showed Rhode Island's population was 1,052,567 just three years ago, and Rhode Island has been slowly losing people since then. The state's history has bee filled with small falls alongside increases, although it has gone up steadily at every official census.

Rhode Island has just 1,214 square miles and the Rhode Island population figures means that there are 1,006 people on average for every square mile. The state is second only to New Jersey in terms of density.

Rhode Island has a corridor of population from the large Providence area to the northwest, following Blackstone River to Woonsocket. The state has just five counties, but no county government. Only the city of Providence has a population over 100,000, with an estimated 178,000 residents. Following in size are Warwick (82,600), Cranston (80,000), Pawtucket (71,000) and East Providence (47,000).

Rhode Island Population History

Although there has always been a healthy growth as far as the population of Rhode Island is concerned, it has been steady rather than spectacular.

Back in 1790, there were 68,825 people living here and ten years later that figure had grown by just 0.4% to 69,122. The biggest increase in decade on decade terms came in 1850 when the Rhode Island population was measured at 147,545, a 35.6% rise on numbers from ten years earlier.

In its early days, Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade, which eventually moved into the Industrial Revolution and fishing. Much of Rhode Island's growth and economy is today based on healthcare, education and some manufacturing.

Rhode Island Demographics

According to the 2010 Census, the Rhode Island population consisted of:

  • 81.4% White (76.4% non-Hispanic)
  • 5.7% Black or African American
  • 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native
  • 2.9% Asian
  • 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander
  • 3.3% two or more races
  • 12.8% Hispanic of Latino origin of any race

The largest ancestry groups include: Italian (19%), Irish (18.3%), English (12.1%), Portuguese (8.2%), French (8%), French Canadian (6.4%), Dominican (3.3%), Puerto Rican (3.3%), Chinese (2.2%) and Guatemalan (1.8%). The state has the highest percentage of people of Portuguese ancestry than any other state, as well as a high percentage of Liberian immigrants, accounting for 15,000 residents.

Rhode Island Population Growth

Rhode Island is currently experiencing a small decrease in population, which may continue. This is because its natural growth rate has declined as its population ages. Current estimates show there will be some growth between 2020 and 2035, but it will only be after further population decline.

Net migration has always contributed healthily to Rhode Island population statistics, although time will tell if this continues, and if it can make up for a population that is quickly aging.

The population of Rhode Island in 2012 is an interesting one to monitor because there are only very small fluctuations in numbers and there have even been some falls recorded throughout the State’s history.

With such a densely populated area, Rhode Island may have little capacity for further growth and the 2020 statistics could be very revealing indeed. It's estimated now that Rhode Island's population will reach just 1.073 million in 2035, but then start to decline again by 2040.

Population Data via US Census