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How’d RI Cities Do: New England’s Best Cities 2012

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Neck and neck with Cranston for top spot in RI: Warwick.

The numbers are crunched, the rankings are in… how did Rhode Island's five largest cities do in GoLocal's first-ever ranking of New England's Cities?

Cranston and Warwick: Neck and Neck in the Top 15

Cranston, the city that has claimed the #1 spot in GoLocal's Top Community in RI rankings for two years running, also placed highest among Rhode Island's competitors in the New England ranking, coming in at #14 overall. Warwick followed closely at #15. Both cities posted moderate crime rates overall, and claimed a reasonably educated population (29.1% of Cranston's population has a BA or above; Warwick's figure is 30%).  Cranston edged out

Warwick in arts-related businesses per capita; as for public schools, both cities earned a GreatSchools.org rating of 6 out of 10, tying them with East Providence for #1 position in Rhode Island. Warwick edged out Cranston for air quality, earning the #1 position in the state, and it also claimed the highest median household income in Rhode Island at $59,497.

East Providence: In the Top 20

Making its first New England appearance at #18 overall, East Providence earned its highest marks for safety, garnering the lowest rate of property crime among the 5 RI cities assessed. East Providence also claimed the highest number of arts-related businesses per capita in the state. With lovely parks along Narragansett Bay, East Providence also claimed the most parks and recreation spots per capita in the state, edging out Providence for #1.  On the down side, the city of 47,037 people was the #2 least walkable city in Rhode Island and among the worst 5 cities for walkers among all the New England cities GoLocal ranked.

Providence: In the Top 25

Crime rates and high unemployment subracted from Providence's strengths: arts, culture, and walkability.

Bolstered by lots of wifi hotspots, arts-related businesses, parks, and the best walkability score in the state (and the #3 overall among the New England cities), the capital city lost considerable ground in the overall rankings and came in at #23 because of high crime rates and (like all RI cities) double-digit unemployment rates. With a median household income of $36,925, Providence placed last in the state and only ahead of Springfield, MA, Lewiston, ME, and Hartford, CT (the worst in the region's sampling at $28,970).

Pawtucket: Bottom 5

The news wasn't good for Pawtucket's #26 ranking in the 2012 survey. Hampered with high unemployment even by RI standards and the #2 worst rate of violent and property crime per capita in the state behind Providence, the scrappy urban city of 71,148 also claimed the state's lowest education level among the 5 cities and a GreatSchool's rating, with Providence, of 3--among the lowest rankings in the region.

For how GoLocal got the rankings, go here.

For more coverage of New England's Best Cities, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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