Clinton Becomes 1st Woman Presidential Nominee - See DNC Bio Video & Read Speech

Friday, July 29, 2016

 

View Larger +

Thursday night Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination for President of the Democratic party. She is the first woman to be nominated for President of a major U.S. political party.

Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome. 

Thank you all for the great convention that we’ve had. And Chelsea, thank you.

I'm so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you've become. 

Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.  And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong. It's lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.  And I've even gotten a few words in along the way.

On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job. I'm also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime. To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight. And to those of you who joined our campaign this week.  

And what a remarkable week it's been.  

We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton. And the man of Hope, Barack Obama. America is stronger because of President Obama's leadership, and I'm better because of his friendship.  

We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden. He spoke from his big heart about our party's commitment to working people, as only he can do. First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too. 

And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you're soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator.  He'll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.  

And I want to thank Bernie Sanders. Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.  You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.   

And to all of your supporters here and around the country:  I want you to know, I've heard you.  Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion.  That's the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.  We wrote it together – now let's go out there and make it happen together.

My friends, we've come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.  We all know the story. But we usually focus on how it turned out - and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.   When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.

Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way. The revolution hung in the balance. Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.    And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation. That's what made it possible to stand up to a King. That took courage. They had courage.

Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.   America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.  And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us.  We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together. Our country's motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one.  Will we stay true to that motto?  

Well, we heard Donald Trump's answer last week at his convention.  He wants to divide us - from the rest of the world, and from each other.  He's betting that the perils of today's world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He's taken the Republican Party a long way...  from "Morning in America" to  "Midnight in America." He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.  

Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.  “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have. We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.   

And we'll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!  We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight and defeat terrorism.  Yet we know there is a lot to do.  Too many people haven't had a pay raise since the crash.  There's too much inequality. Too little social mobility. Too much paralysis in Washington. Too many threats at home and abroad.  But just look at the strengths we bring as Americans to meet these challenges. 

We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world. We have the most tolerant and generous young people we've ever had. We have the most powerful military. The most innovative entrepreneurs. The most enduring values. Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. We should be so proud that these words are associated with us.  I have to tell you, as your Secretary of State, I went to 112 countries, and when people hear those words – they hear America. So don't let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We're not. Don't let anyone tell you we don't have what it takes. We do. 

And most of all, don't believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”   Those were actually Donald Trump's words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.   Really? I alone can fix it? Isn't he forgetting? Troops on the front lines. Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger. Doctors and nurses who care for us. Teachers who change lives.  Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.  Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe. He's forgetting every last one of us.  Americans don't say: “I alone can fix it.” We say: “We'll fix it together.”  Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power. Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.    

Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers. Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.  And you know how the community responded? Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days. That's how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.   20 years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.”  A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?    This is what I mean. None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.     

America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my heart.  That's why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history. It's not just a slogan for our campaign. It's a guiding principle for the country we've always been and the future we're going to build.  

A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.  A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach. Where families are strong… communities are safe…  And yes, love trumps hate.  That's the country we're fighting for. That's the future we're working toward…  And so it is with humility. . . determination . . .  and boundless confidence in America's promise… that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!

Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage. As you know, I'm not one of those people. I've been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York. Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State. But my job titles only tell you what I've done. They don't tell you why. The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part. I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me. So let me tell you. The family I'm from . . . well, no one had their name on big buildings. My family were builders of a different kind. Builders in the way most American families are. They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.

My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years. Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did. And he was right. My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.   When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.  I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.    He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had.  And he did.

My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl.  She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid.  She was saved by the kindness of others.   Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share.  The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me:  No one gets through life alone.  We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.  

She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”  I went to work for the Children's Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school.  I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house. She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn't seem possible. And I couldn't stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.  

It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough. To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws. You need both understanding and action.  So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.    It's a big idea, isn't it?  Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.    But how do you make an idea like that real?  You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door.   

And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education.   It's true... I sweat the details of policy – whether we're talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.    Because it's not just a detail if it's your kid - if it's your family. It's a big deal.  And it should be a big deal to your president.   

Over the last three days, you've seen some of the people who've inspired me. People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine.     People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning. They told their stories Tuesday night.   I first met Ryan as a 7-year-old. He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds because I leaned over to lift him up.  

Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed…and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children's Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kidsevery year.    Lauren Manning, who stood here with such grace and power, was gravely injured on 9/11. It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero.  I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.   In this campaign, I've met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change. 

And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.   And you heard, you heard from Republicans and Independents who are supporting our campaign. I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving and the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don't. For all Americans. Together. Tonight, we've reached a milestone in our nation's march toward a more perfect union:  the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President.   

Standing here as my mother's daughter, and my daughter's mother, I'm so happy this day has come. Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.    Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.  When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit.  So let's keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.  Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead. Let's begin with what we're going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead. 

Now, I don't think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.    Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office.  Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs.Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever.That's real progress.    But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot. We're still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the recovery. I've gone around our country talking to working families.

And I've heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn't working. Some of you are frustrated – even furious. And you know what??? You're right. It's not yet working the way it should. Americans are willing to work – and work hard. But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.

And less respect for them, period. Democrats are the party of working people. But we haven't done a good enough job showing that we get what you're going through, and that we're going to do something about it. So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.

My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wagesright here in the United States... From my first day in office to my last! Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind. From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian Country to Coal Country. From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures. And here's what I believe. I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives. I believe that oureconomy isn't working the way it should because our democracy isn't working the way it should. That's why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them.

And if necessary we'll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United! I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return. Many of them are. But too many aren't. It's wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.

And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again. I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs. I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out. Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together - and it's the right thing to do.

Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.   If you believe that companies should share profits, not pad executive bonuses, join us.  If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage… and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty… join us. If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care…join us. If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals... that we should stand up to China... that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers…join us.  

If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman's right to make her own health care decisions… join us.   And yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay… join us...  Let's make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. Now, you didn't hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention.   He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd.  And he offered zero solutions.

But we already know he doesn't believe these things.  No wonder he doesn't like talking about his plans. You might have noticed, I love talking about mine. In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.  Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure. If we invest in infrastructure now, we'll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future. And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs. Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!   

We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt. It's just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can't refinance theirs.  And here's something we don't say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.  We're going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.  We're going to give small businesses a boost.  Make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks.

In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.  We're going to help you balance family and work.  And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then Deal Me In! Now, here's the thing, we're not only going to make all these investments, we're going to pay for every single one of them. And here's how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes. Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that's where the money is. And we are going to follow the money.

And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we'll make them pay us back. And we'll put that money to work where it belongs … creating jobs here at home! Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking, well that all sounds pretty good. But how are you going to get it done?  How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Look at my record.  I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people.  

And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President. But Trump, he's a businessman.  He must know something about the economy.  Well, let's take a closer look.  In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you'll find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills. Now remember what the President said last night -- don't boo, vote. People who did the work and needed the money, and didn't get it – not because he couldn't pay them, but because he wouldn't pay them. He just stiffed them. That sales pitch he's making to be your president? Put your faith in him – and you'll win big?  That's the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away, and left working people holding the bag. He also talks a big game about putting America First.

Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado. Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin. Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again. The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security.

Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face. From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we're dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated. No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance. Looking for steady leadership. You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.

I'm proud that we put a lid on Iran's nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel's security. I'm proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves. I'm proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia. I've laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS.

We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won't be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.    

Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….” No, Donald, you don't. He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.” Well, I've had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee. I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure. We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces. Decisions about war and peace. Life and death.

A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country – including Captain Khan and the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines. Ask yourself:  Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?  Donald Trump can't even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.  He loses his cool at the slightest provocation.  When he's gotten a tough question from a reporter.  

When he's challenged in a debate.  When he sees a protestor at a rally.  Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.  I can't put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride. America's strength doesn't come from lashing out. Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power. That's the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be.  

And if we're serious about keeping our country safe, we also can't afford to have a President who's in the pocket of the gun lobby.  I'm not here to repeal the 2nd Amendment. I'm not here to take away your guns. I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place.  We should be working with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.    

For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics were too hot to touch. But I ask you: how can we just stand by and do nothing? You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence. You heard, you saw, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals. I refuse to believe we can't find common ground here.  We have to heal the divides in our country. Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more. 

That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other's shoes.   So let's put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable. Let's put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job. We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. 

We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights… women's rights and workers' rights… LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities!  And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from. You know, for the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump's comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.

They think he couldn't possibly mean all the horrible things he says – like when he called women “pigs.” Or said that an American judge couldn't be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.  Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain –a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect. At first, I admit, I couldn't believe he meant it either. It was just too hard to fathom – that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that.   

But here's the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump...This is it. And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn't get: that America is great – because America is good.   So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump's not offering real change. He's offering empty promises. What are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country - to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, and to give your kids the opportunities they deserve. The choice is clear, my friends. Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger. None of us ever have or can do it alone.     

I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we'll ever pull together again. But I'm here to tell you tonight – progress is possible.  I know because I've seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up. And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I've had to pick myself up and get back in the game. Like so much else, I got this from my mother.  She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said.

And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.   We lost our mother a few years ago but I miss her every day.  And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working and to keep fighting for right, no matter what. That's what we need to do together as a nation. And though "we may not live to see the glory," as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, "let us gladly join the fight."

Let our legacy be about "planting seeds in a garden you never get to see." That's why we're here...not just in this hall, but on this Earth. The Founders showed us that. And so have many others since. They were drawn together by love of country and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow. That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight. Yes, the world is watching what we do. Yes, America's destiny is ours to choose. 

So let's be stronger together, my fellow Americans. Let’s look to the future with courage and confidence. Let’s build a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country. And when we do, America will be greater than ever. Thank you and may God bless you and the United States of America!

 
 

Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Best Communities 2016

View Larger +
Prev Next

#39 Central Falls

At one time called Chocolateville because of a chocolate factory located in its center, Central Falls, which gets its name from the waterfall on the Blackstone River, is the most densely populated city in Rhode Island. Emerging from municipal bankruptcy in 2012, Central Falls has struggled to bring up its standard of living for many immigrants who call it home.   

Central Falls by the numbers

Established: 1730
Population: 19,376
Median household income: $29,025
Median housing price: $76,001

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 39
Affordability ranking: 18
Education ranking: 39
Economic condition: 39
Safety ranking: 35
Arts & Culture ranking: 32

Famous people

Lincoln Carter Almond, Governor
Michael Breault, game designer, editor and author
Francis Condon, congressman
Viola Davis, actress
Carl Russell Fish, historian
Roland Hemond, baseball executive
Jack McGee, aviator
Glyn O'Malley, playwright
Charles Risk, congressman
John Robitaille, politician
Michelle Siwy, Fashion Designer

View Larger +
Prev Next

#38 Woonsocket

The City has produced many of the best athletes in the history of the state and is the home to the corporate headquarters of CVS Health -- a Fortune 10 Company.

A lively, ethnically diverse community, rich with a history of Indian influence, Woonsocket has a legacy of industrial wealth evident in its architecture. The origin of the city's name has numerous theories, but the translation “thunder mist” from the falls on the Blackstone may be the most popular. A city that has historically relied on manufacturing as its primary form of income, Woonsocket continues to struggle with a myriad of challenges, from poverty to educational opportunity for its youth. 

Woonsocket by the numbers

Established: 1867
Population: 41,186
Median household income: $40,096
Median housing price: $133,125

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 38
Affordability ranking: 30
Education ranking: 37
Economic condition: 38
Safety ranking: 34
Arts & Culture ranking: 7

Famous people

Greg Abate, musician
Rocco Baldelli, baseball player
Latimer Whipple Ballou, congressman
Bryan Berard, hockey player
Brian Boucher, hockey player
Marcel Desaulniers, chef
Eddie Dowling, actor, screenwriter and songwriter
Allen Doyle, golfer
Draco and the Malfoys, wizard rock band
Denise Duhamel, poet
Eileen Farrell, opera soprano
Ernest Fortin, theology professor
Stuart Gitlow, physician
Brian Harnois, paranormal investigator
Gabby Hartnett, baseball player and manager
Ambrose Kennedy, congressman
Clem Labine, baseball player
Nap Lajoie, baseball player
Catherine J. Lanctot, law professor and legal scholar
Neil Lanctot, historian and author
Francis Leo Lawrence, college president
William C. Lovering, congressman
James McAndrews, congressman
J. Howard McGrath, politician
Dave McKenna, jazz pianist
Edwin O'Connor, radio personality and novelist
Aram J. Pothier, governor
Duke Robillard, blues guitarist
Christopher Robinson, congressman
Mathieu Schneider, hockey player
Bill Summers, umpire

View Larger +
Prev Next

#37 Pawtucket

Known as much for the PawSox and ast the historic site where Samuel Slater constructed and operated machines for spinning cotton yarn at Slater Mill in 1793,

Pawtucket is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution - and most recently the battle for the Red Sox AAA team. This city faces challenges of struggling schools, depressed economic conditions, and high crime levels per capita, but certainly has its bright spots (like the popular winter Farmer's Market at Hope Artiste Mill and vibrant arts at the Armory).

Pawtucket by the numbers

Established: 1671
Population: 71,148
Median household income: $45,045
Median housing price: $129,950

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 37
Affordability ranking: 15
Education ranking: 36
Economic condition: 36
Safety ranking: 37
Arts & Culture ranking: 13

Famous people

Adam J. Barlow, basketball player
Willard L. Beaulac, diplomat
Don Bousquet, cartoonist
Jon B., singer and songwriter
Ernie Calverley, basketball player
Wendy Carlos, composer and electronic musician
Aram Chobanian, cardiologist
Ruth Clifford, silent film star
Mike Cole, actor
Jim Connors, radio personality
Thomas Gardiner Corcoran, presidential advisor
Michael Corrente, independent film director
Alice Drummond, actress
Jack Duffy, actor
Joseph L. Fisher, congressman
Joel Garreau, journalist, editor and author
David Hartman, television personality
Raymond Hood, architect
Galway Kinnell, poet
Armand Lamontagne, sculptor
John LaRose, baseball player
Irving R. Levine, journalist and foreign correspondent
Kevin Lima, film director
Peter Manfredo, boxer
Rosario Mazzeo, clarinetist
Louis Monast, congressman
Abraham Nathanson, developer of the game Bananagrams
Morris Nathanson, architect
Chet Nichols, Jr., baseball player
Sam Patch, daredevil
Gerry Philbin, football player
Red Pollard, Jockey
David Rawlings, musician
Charles Reilly, novelist
Al Rockoff, photojournalist
Ken Ryan, baseball player
Walter Schroder, author and lecturer
Samuel Slater, industrialist
Hank Soar, football player, baseball umpire
Samuel Starkweather, politician
Minton Warren, scholar
Craig Watjen, assistant treasurer at Microsoft
Tim White, professional wrestling referee
Gary Whitehead, poet and painter
Jeff Xavier, basketball player
Les Pawson, 3-time Boston Marathon winner

View Larger +
Prev Next

#36 North Providence

North Providence may be one of the state’s smallest communities, but has the eighth-highest population of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns. Formed on June 13, 1765, after separating from Providence, this small town makes up for its size by celebrating its schools, restaurants, and numerous points of pride. North Providence also embodies a bustling residential area with most of its residents working outside of their community.

North Providence by the numbers

Established: 1636

Population: 32,078

Median household income: $44,792

Median housing price: $156,300

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 36

Affordability ranking: 29

Education ranking: 31

Economic condition: 37

Safety ranking: 21

Arts & Culture ranking: 21

Famous people

Ernie DiGregorio, former NBA player

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the controversial Minuteman Project

Danielle Lacourse, Miss Rhode Island USA 2007, first runner-up at Miss USA 2007

Zellio Toppazzini, NHL - AHL hockey player, Rhode Island Reds Player of the Century, Providence College Head Coach

Bob Giammarco, former Providence radio talk show host and elected official in Cranston

View Larger +
Prev Next

#35 West Warwick

Did you know that West Warwick is the most recent community in Rhode Island? West Warwick established itself as a separate entity from Warwick in 1913. Host to some of the earliest textile mills in the United States, the community has a proud heritage based on immigrant influx and milling. Its continuous educational growth, rapid industrial expansion, and boost from immigrant influxes since the 19th century all contribute to its community.

West Warwick by the numbers

Established: 1648

Population: 29,191

Median household income: $51,927

Median housing price: $150,023

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 35

Affordability ranking: 17

Education ranking: 33

Economic condition: 33

Safety ranking: 26

Arts & Culture ranking: 31

Famous people

Ann Hood, novelist

Saint Andre Bessette, builder of St. Joseph's basilica in Montreal, canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010

Robert Quinn, 58th Governor of Rhode Island 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#34 East Providence

Whether its views of the bay, rides on the carousel, or packed high school sports games, East Providence is known for a diverse array of boasting points --  beautiful neighborhoods, historic cemeteries, and vibrant immigrant culture.

You gotta live "Townie Pride."

The growing city is nearly surrounded by bodies of water, is the state’s 5th-largest city, and is and home to the fastest-spinning carousel in the state and a bikeway that brings thousands of Rhode Islanders together. The city has worked to address environmental issues by tasking a commission with facilitating the redevelopment of old industrial sites and brownfields along the Seekonk River.

East Providence by the numbers

Established: 1812
Population: 47,037
Median household income: $46,859
Median housing price: $169,450

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 34
Affordability ranking: 27
Education ranking: 34
Economic condition: 35
Safety ranking: 22
Arts & Culture ranking: 11

Famous people

Claudia Jordan
Rebecca DiPietro, 2006 WWE Diva Search Contestant & ECW Vixen
Meredith Vieira, television journalist/host
Davey Lopes, former Major League Baseball player
Estes "Buddy" Rodgers, former Maryland Terrapins football running back
Arunah Shepherdson Abell, apprentice on the Providence Patriot, later publisher of the Philadelphia Public Ledger and the Baltimore Sun
Jamie Silva, NFL safety for the Indianapolis Colts
Pedro Braz, Professional Soccer Player
Ron Wilson, US Olympic Hockey Coach, coach of Toronto Maple Leafs
Kevin Robinson, Professional BMX Biker

View Larger +
Prev Next

#33 Johnston

Does a Rhode Island town ever outgrow its big hair reputation? Johnston might have had a chance, but the skyscraper stylings of perhaps its best-known local boy, Pauly D, have kept the big coif rep intact.

It's no surprise that 46.7% of Johnston residents identified themselves in 2000 as being of Italian heritage. In fact, the town has the highest percentage of Italian Americans of any municipality in the country. Johnston is the home to the Clemens Irons House a stone-ender museum and of course the only landfill in the state of Rhode Island. 

Johnston by the numbers

Established: 1636

Population: 28,769

Median household income: $56,266

Median housing price: $155,000

2015 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 33

Affordability ranking: 14

Education ranking: 30

Economic condition: 31

Safety ranking: 24

Arts & Culture ranking: 25

Famous people

Anthony Paul Cerbo, singer

Samuel Ward King, Governor of Rhode Island during the Dorr Rebellion

Pauly D, DJ and featured performer on The Jersey Shore and star of The Pauly D Project

Joe Polisena, former member of the Rhode Island Senate and mayor of Johnston

View Larger +
Prev Next

#32 Hopkinton

It's hard to believe, but Hopkinton had been aprevious hub of Rhode Island life when it was a stagecoach center. Now, this quiet, old-fashioned town shows off numerous fresh water fishing areas, campgrounds, and parks–attractions that make it a desirable vacation spot for locals and tourists alike. And along with these pleasant activities, Hopkinton has excellent public schools. It’s mostly a rural town but the community still shows a great pride in its history. 

Hopkinton by the numbers

Established: 1669
Population: 8,188
Median household income: $61,364
Median housing price: $220,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 32
Affordability ranking: 24
Education ranking: 23
Economic Condition ranking: 27
Safety ranking: 14
Arts & Culture ranking: 35
 
Famous people

John Wilbur, Quaker minister
Prudence Crandall, taught first desegregated classroom in USA
Billy Gilman, youngest country western star
Both the Aldrich and the Rockefeller families built small mansions in Hope Valley before the families merged. The Rockefeller house now serves as the rectory for St. Joseph's Parish

View Larger +
Prev Next

#31 Warren

Warren is the original home of Brown University, founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. With suburban, safe Barrington to the north and historic postcard-perfect Bristol to the south, this East Bay small town is often the middle child. As a town that has enjoyed a diverse and vibrant history, Warren maintains genuine sensibility amidst the wealth and publicity surrounding it.

Warren by the numbers

Established: 1620
Population: 10,611
Median household income: $58,681
Median housing price: $225,000

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 31
Affordability ranking: 28
Education ranking: 27
Economic condition: 30
Safety ranking: 33
Arts & Culture ranking: 24

Famous people

Lou Abbruzzi, NFL football player
Pat Abbruzzi, All-Star Canadian football player, RI football legend
Luther Blount, Started Blount Marine, American Canadian Caribbean Cruise Lines and Bay Queen Cruises
Hezekiah Butterworth, author and poet
Jo-Jo Morrissey, Baseball player
Mark Portugal, Former Boston Red Sox Pitcher
Brett Quigley, Professional Golfer

View Larger +
Prev Next

#30 West Greenwich

With Rhode Island being so small, it has a surprisingly large number of rural areas, and West Greenwich is exactly that. A landscape of woodlands covers much of more than 50 square miles, the 7th largest place in Rhode Island, in terms of land area, and living is quiet and unassuming in West Greenwich. Its sprawling woodlands and charming countrysides makes the town popular for its natural trails and scenic views.

West Greenwich by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 6,135
Median household income: $77,613
Median housing price: $236,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 30
Affordability ranking: 16
Education ranking: 12
Economic condition: 12
Safety ranking: 8
Arts & Culture ranking: 39

View Larger +
Prev Next

#29 New Shoreham

A bona fide jewel set just 13 miles off Rhode Island's southern shoreline, this charming, still-rustic island draws sailors, beachlovers, and even celebrities to its verdant hills and hollows. Even though Block Island is nearly 10 square miles of heaven to visit, New Shoreham has problems with affordability. The city still maintains a beautiful scenic view of broad hotels that stand along the waterfront that remind of the love affair with New Shoreham, and Block Island as a whole.

New Shoreham by the numbers

Established: 1664
Population: 1,051
Median household income: $94,625
Median housing price: $970,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 29
Affordability ranking: 39
Education ranking: 7
Economic condition: 2
Safety ranking: 36
Arts & Culture ranking: 23

Famous people

William Stringfellow, attorney and radical Anglican theologian
Kenneth Bacon, Department of Defense spokesman who later served as president of Refugees International
Jens Risom, Danish-American furniture designer
Christopher Walken, American actor

View Larger +
Prev Next

#28 Westerly

Located in the southwestern corner of Rhode Island, Westerly has a rich and storied history based on textiles and tourism.  Along with her fellow Rhode Island vacation enclaves like New Shoreham and Little Compton, this gracious town draws visitors from around the world to its beautiful beaches. The community is a prime vacation sport mainly due to spectacular Watch Hill and its Victorian architecture.

Oh, and it just so happens to be the summer home of superstar Taylor Hill. 

Westerly by the numbers

Established: 1661
Population: 22,787
Median household income: $58,746
Median housing price: $275,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 28
Affordability ranking: 32
Education ranking: 20
Economic condition: 29
Safety ranking: 23
Arts & Culture ranking: 14

Famous people

Dr. Joshua Babcock, physician, American Revolution general, RI Supreme Court Justice
Samuel Ward, Royal Governor, Chief Justice of RI
Ruth Buzzi, television star and actor
Eddie Sawyer, former major league baseball manager
Dave Stenhouse, former Washington Senators pitcher
Frankie Frisch, player-manager of the St. Louis Cardinals' famous "Gashouse Gang"
Elisson "Tarzan" Brown, marathon runner

View Larger +
Prev Next

#27 Tiverton

Tiverton is a town for a perfect summer getaway or a weekend trip with the beautiful waterfront views. Tiverton embraces a breathtaking waterfront, four-corners-style retail village, and a renowned clam shack Evelyn’s and Gray’s Ice Cream. This beautiful stretch of waterfront land also has great history from its role in the Revolutionary War as it was an asylum for Americans fleeing from British influence and occupation. Now facing a bit of change with a proposed casino.

Tiverton by the numbers

Established: 1694
Population: 15,780
Median household income: $68,012
Median housing price: $207,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 27
Affordability ranking: 12
Education ranking: 25
Economic condition: 22
Safety ranking: 31
Arts & Culture ranking: 25

Famous people

Robert Gray, merchant sea-captain and explorer
Russell Warren, architect
Paul Di Filippo, science fiction author
Mika Seeger, ceramic artist
Shane Palmer, marine biologist

View Larger +
Prev Next

#26 Little Compton

With a very small town feel, both old-money families and longstanding rural clans populate Little Compton. A prime vacation destination with the nostalgic mood of New England, Little Compton may be Rhode Island’s most small-town small town with a legacy of insularity that makes residents practically family. 

Little Compton by the numbers

Established: 1862
Population: 3,492
Median household income: $84,097
Median housing price: $507,500
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 26
Affordability ranking: 37
Education ranking: 4
Economic condition ranking: 7
Safety ranking: 10
Arts & Culture ranking: 37
 
Famous people

Awashonks, female sachem of the Sakonnet tribe
Sydney Richmond Burleigh, artist
Captain Benjamin Church, father of American ranging
Christopher R. Hill, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and current United States Ambassador to Iraq
Henry Demarest Lloyd, muckraking journalist
J. William Middendorf, diplomat, civil servant, and artist
Arden Myrin, cast member of MADtv
Elizabeth Pabodie, daughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, recognized as the first white girl born in New England
Abel Head "Shanghai" Pierce, a rancher and cattleman in Texas
John Simmons, clothing manufacturer and founder of Simmons College
Henry Tillinghast Sisson, Civil War hero, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, and inventor of the three-ring binder
Charles Edwin Wilbour, journalist and Egyptologist
Isaac Wilbour, Governor of Rhode Island, member of the United States House of Representatives, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Paul Suttell, current Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court

View Larger +
Prev Next

#25 Charlestown

Coastal beauty at its best.

Another beach community that helps to creates beautiful shoreline in Rhode Island. The South County town on the small side enjoys open spaces and old-fashioned beachfront life. In addition to vast expanses of conservational and recreational ground, the headquarters to Rhode Island's Narragansett Indian Tribe are located in Charlestown. State parks, wildlife refuges, and beaches also serve to attract visitors and local residents alike.

Charlestown by the numbers

Established: 1669
Population: 7,827
Median household income: $72,797
Median housing price: $308,750
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 25
Affordability ranking: 25
Education ranking: 22
Economic Condition ranking: 17
Safety ranking: 17
Arts & Culture ranking: 28
 
Famous people

Eric Lutes, actor

View Larger +
Prev Next

#24 Coventry

Named in 2011 as a community on the move, this town of just over 35,000 in Kent County has rural, historic roots and a legacy of its 8 once-vibrant mill villages. Interestingly, the east and west side of the town have different features. While the western half of Coventry remains mostly rural in nature, the eastern half is one of the fastest growing communities in Rhode Island.

Coventry by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 35,014
Median household income: $62,105
Median housing price: $169,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 24
Affordability ranking: 7
Education ranking: 24
Economic Condition ranking: 26
Safety ranking: 25
Arts & Culture ranking: 18
 
Famous people

Henry B. Anthony, notorious anti-Catholic newspaperman, later became a United States Senator and Governor of Rhode Island
Henry P. Baldwin, served as the governor of Michigan from 1869 to 1873 and as a U.S. Senator from 1879 to 1881
General Nathanael Greene, general during the American Revolutionary War (his homestead still stands on Taft Street)
Desiree Washington, Miss Black America contestant whom Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson served prison term for raping
Mike Stefanik, NASCAR driver
HM3 Joshua T. Chiarini, awarded the Silver Star for actions in Iraq in 2006
Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Pappe, South African botanist

View Larger +
Prev Next

#23 Portsmouth

Portsmouth was settled in 1638 and is known as the “Birthplace of Democracy," It was here where British Commander-in-Chief, General Prescott, was captured by the daring Rhode Island colonel William Barton during the Revolutionary War. Portsmouth is also the site of Rhode Island’s lone battle in the Revolutionary War: an American victory against the British on Butt’s Hill. Today, Portsmouth is a fully developed community with shops, hotels, golf courses, and numerous marinas. 

Portsmouth by the numbers

Established: 1638
Population: 17,389
Median household income: $73,049
Median housing price: $321,250
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 23
Affordability ranking: 31
Education ranking: 5
Economic Condition ranking: 16
Safety ranking: 12
Arts & Culture ranking: 15

Famous people

Mike Cloud, NFL running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and New York Giants
Chris Cosentino, American chef and cast member of "The Next Iron Chef"
Helen Glover, cast member on Survivor: Thailand and host of the Helen Glover Show on TalkRadio 920 WHJJ
Patrick Kennedy, former U.S. congressman for Rhode Island's First district
Ronald Machtley, former U.S. congressman, President of Bryant University
John Robitaille, Republican nominee for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010
Ryan Westmoreland, baseball player, Boston Red Sox prospect
Ade Bethune, liturgical artist and Catholic Worker
Julia Ward Howe, author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Anne Hutchinson, founded colony of Rhode Island in 1638
Betty Hutton, American film actress and singer

View Larger +
Prev Next

#22 Exeter

This quiet rural community is known not only for being the home of Rhode Island’s only ski area but also for having good schools and providing safe, affordable places to live, work, and raise families. Surrounded by a quaint and sprawling countryside, Exeter is mostly a rural, residential area. The town’s natural beauty complemented with wooded hills, crystal streams, and large population of wildlife make it a pleasant and quiet place to reside.

Exeter by the numbers

Established: 1641
Population: 6,425
Median household income: $86,657
Median housing price: $322,500
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 22
Affordability ranking: 22
Education ranking: 11
Economic Condition ranking: 4
Safety ranking: 27
Arts & Culture ranking: 30
 
Famous people

Mercy Brown, alleged vampire

View Larger +
Prev Next

#21 North Smithfield

North Smithfield is a town on the rise and used to be a central stop on the Great Road’s stagecoach route. Even though it faces challenges with economic growth, housing affordability, and education improvement, this Blackstone Valley town has been redesigned into residential, industrial, and recreational use forming a unique suburban identity.

North Smithfield by the numbers

Established: 1730
Population: 11,967
Median household income: $72,146
Median housing price: $228,500
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 21
Affordability ranking: 11
Education ranking: 16
Economic condition ranking: 18
Safety ranking: 32
Arts & Culture ranking: 34
 
Famous people

Peleg Arnold, delegate to the Continental Congress and Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court
Jeff Jillson, National Hockey League player
David Rawlings, musician, singer/songwriter

View Larger +
Prev Next

#20 Lincoln

In previous years, this Blackstone Valley town grabbed the national spotlight as a desirable place to "Live and Launch," as CNN/Money Magazine wrote, when it placed Lincoln in its Top 100 nationally. Nowadays, the coverage of this rural/suburban hybrid up Route 146 from Providence has centered on the future of gambling. With Twin River officially a full casino, it's anyone's bet as to what transpires next as gaming expands just north of the border in Massachusetts. Lincoln boasts a recent #63 ranking in Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live."


Lincoln by the numbers

Established: 1650
Population: 21,105
Median household income: $76,380
Median housing price: $222,500
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 20
Affordability ranking: 13
Education ranking: 17
Economic condition: 14
Safety ranking: 29
Arts & Culture ranking: 17

Famous people

Edward Harris, industrialist, builder of the first public library in RI, state representative and anti-slavery candidate for Governor
Clem Labine, Major League Baseball relief pitcher

View Larger +
Prev Next

#19 Jamestown

Another great Rhode Island town, Jamestown is tucked away enough to be something of a secret, but the word is out. An island that has developed into a residential area, this enchanting region lies in the middle of Narragansett Bay. As you head toward the Newport tolls, cast one look down that tidy Main Street, or hop off before leaving Conanicut Island to check out some of the most beautiful properties in the entire state.

Jamestown by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 5,405
Median household income: $83,987
Median housing price: $450,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 19
Affordability ranking: 34
Education ranking: 13
Economic condition: 8
Safety ranking: 19
Arts & Culture ranking: 22

Famous people

Luke McNamee, four-star admiral and Governor of Guam
Jack Reed, US Senator

View Larger +
Prev Next

#18 Burrillville

Known as a pleasant residential community, Burrillville is currently the center of statewide news for a new power plant proposal. In addition to its agricultural past, the community has thrived on the series of waterways, which imbue the town. Built in the faraway corner of northwest Rhode Island, Burrillville offers terrific affordability in tough economic times, a low crime rate, and perhaps the state’s most beloved chicken dinner restaurant.

Burrillville by the numbers

Established: 1730
Population: 15,955
Median household income: $67,669
Median housing price: $181,250

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 18
Affordability ranking: 6
Education ranking: 32
Economic condition: 23
Safety ranking: 13
Arts & Culture ranking: 16

View Larger +
Prev Next

#17 Middletown

This Aquidneck town was named in the 18th century for its middling location. A place where you can pick strawberries with postcard views of Narragansett Bay, the community has an agrarian component and a diverse landscape made up by sand dunes, scenic beaches, and a rocky coastline. Surrounded by water on three sides, Middletown is a scenic ocean town with active practices of fishing, boating, and swimming.

Middletown by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 16,150
Median household income: $69,373
Median housing price: $310,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 17
Affordability ranking: 33
Education ranking: 19
Economic Condition ranking: 20
Safety ranking: 18
Arts & Culture ranking: 10
 
Famous people

Nicolas Cage, former owner of "Grey Craig" mansion
Charlie Day, actor, in the TV show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
John Huston, Oscar winning film director
Obadiah Holmes, an early colonial Baptist minister, and an ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln
Edwin Booth, actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth

View Larger +
Prev Next

#16 East Greenwich

The 8th oldest community in the state, East Greenwich is the West Bay heavyweight with a quaint main street and small but popular waterfront. Geographically located in the center of Rhode Island, the town provided a protected port in Narragansett Bay and became a center for fishing and shipbuilding. Today, East Greenwich remains a thriving town with a distinct and unique flair, known for it schools and restaurant scene. 

East Greenwich by the numbers

Established: 1677
Population: 13,146
Median household income: $83,160
Median housing price: $423,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 16
Affordability ranking: 38
Education ranking: 2
Economic Condition ranking: 9
Safety ranking: 9
Arts & Culture ranking: 9
 
Famous people

Donald Carcieri, Governor of Rhode Island
Suzanne Carcieri, First Lady of Rhode Island
Debra Messing, actress
Mark Zito, radio host
Leeann Tingley, 2006 Miss Rhode Island USA
Robin Kall, columnist

View Larger +
Prev Next

#15 Cumberland

Formerly known as Attleboro Gore, Cumberland was one of 5 towns to be received from Massachusetts by Royal Decree. Located near the Blackstone and Abbott Run Rivers, industrial advancement and mining contributed greatly to the town’s development during its fledgling years. Based on the motto of “Great History, Bright Future,” this Blackstone Valley town has a vibrant Portuguese community and continues to grow from manufacturing and retail trade. 

Cumberland by the numbers

Established: 1746
Population: 33,506
Median household income: $73,923
Median housing price: $233,250

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 15
Affordability ranking: 10
Education ranking: 18
Economic condition: 15
Safety ranking: 15
Arts & Culture ranking: 20
 
Famous people

William Blaxton, Cumberland's first European settler
Jemima Wilkinson, 18th century evangelist, was born and raised in Cumberland
Tim White, former WWE referee
The Farrelly Brothers, filmmakers
David Macaulay, author and illustrator
Aaron Fricke, gay rights activist
Brad Adamonis, current PGA tour golfer
Richard Jenkins, Academy Award Nominated actor
Rocco Baldelli, MLB Free Agent outfielder
Brian Lawton, the first American ice hockey player selected #1 overall in the NHL entry draft
Cory Pesaturo, world champion accordionist
John Capron, Sr, textile pioneer

View Larger +
Prev Next

#14 Richmond

Richmond is a profoundly rural town that is 60% uninhabited woodlands. Its location near the water allowed for water powered mills to advance the textile industry of this old-fashioned community in South County. The town also hosts one of Rhode Island's most popular old-style entertainments, the Washington County Fair in August.  

Richmond by the numbers

Established: 1669
Population: 7,708
Median household income: $88,889
Median housing price: $230,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 14
Affordability ranking: 3
Education ranking: 21
Economic Condition ranking: 3
Safety ranking: 4
Arts & Culture ranking: 36

View Larger +
Prev Next

#13 North Kingstown

North Kingstown is unique in the way that it combines small waterfront villages, military/industrial sites, and historic homes. This South County community is not only the birthplace of perhaps the most famous early American portrait artist but also the town where you’ll find the state's most famous doughnut shop. Known as a sea town for its natural harbor, North Kingstown is famous for its sailing culture and summer resorts with old churches and nostalgic shops. 

North Kingstown by the numbers

Established: 1641
Population: 26,486
Median household income: $76,729
Median housing price: $280,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 13
Affordability ranking: 23
Education ranking: 3
Economic Condition ranking: 13
Safety ranking: 16
Arts & Culture ranking: 12

Famous people

Gilbert Stuart, portrait artist

View Larger +
Prev Next

#12 Foster

Home to the highest point in a state, this western Rhode Island town is also home to farmsteads, mill ruins, and quiet country life. And what is more emblematic than being home to one of the only two covered bridges in Rhode Island? Known for having the oldest government meeting house in the US, Foster remains sparsely populated with most of its land covered with hills or forests. And snow. Don't forget the snow. 

Foster by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 4,606
Median household income: $85,508
Median housing price: $225,000

2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 12
Affordability ranking: 5
Education ranking: 14
Economic condition: 5
Safety ranking: 5
Arts & Culture ranking: 38

Famous people

Theodore Foster, U.S. Senator, the town's namesake
Solomon Drowne, physician, author, close friend of Foster who lived on a farm called Mount Hygeia
Nelson Aldrich, U.S. Senator, father of Abby Rockefeller
Lucinda Landon, author of the "Meg Mackintosh" children's book series
H. P. Lovecraft, author
Mark Picard, author of the Ultraquest series

View Larger +
Prev Next

#11 Scituate

New England history at its best.

Incorporated in 1730, Scituate lies just to the west of Providence and just beyond the outer reaches of Johnston. Scituate has played an important role in many United States Wars. During the Revolutionary War, 76 cannons were constructed at the Hope Furnace. The town is most popular for its scenic landscapes, comprised of vast woodlands, stone walls, quaint farms, and colorful apple orchards. During the Fall season, the vibrant art festivals and delicious apple orchards attract thousands to its roads from all over New England. 

Scituate by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 10,329
Median household income: $84,277
Median housing price: $248,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 11
Affordability ranking: 8
Education ranking: 8
Economic condition: 6
Safety ranking: 2
Arts & Culture ranking: 33

Famous people

Ezekiel Cornell, delegate to the Continental Congress
Esek Hopkins, Naval figure in Revolutionary War
Stephen Hopkins, Governor of Rhode Island, signer of the Declaration of Independence
Armand LaMontagne, prominent wood sculptor
William West, Revolutionary War General, Lt. Governor of Rhode Island, Chief Justice of Rhode Island
James Burrill Angell, President of the University of Michigan, University of Vermont
Alice Howland, first librarian in Scituate; donated the land that is now the Hope Recreational Park
Robert Capron-Rowley Jefferson in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series

View Larger +
Prev Next

#10 Bristol

The best parade in America.

Surrounded by 15 miles of Narragansett Bay coastline, the major industries of Bristol are boat building, manufacturing, and tourism. Home to the nation's oldest Fourth of July parade, Bristol is not only an emblematic New England town but also a mixed and vibrant community with historic homes, bustling waterfront, and a red-and-white-stripe Yankee Doodle Dandy of a Main Street. 

Bristol by the numbers

Established: 1680
Population: 22,954
Median household income: $63,441
Median housing price: $260,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 10
Affordability ranking: 26
Education ranking: 26
Economic Condition ranking: 25
Safety ranking: 7
Arts & Culture ranking: 6
 
Famous people

Benjamin Bourne, lawyer, jurist, and politician
Pat McGee, singer, songwriter, musician
John Saffin, best known for his A Brief and Candid Answer to Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph (1700), over the issue of slavery
William Bradford, physician, lawyer, and United States Senator
Jonathan Russell Bullock, jurist and legislator
Ambrose Burnside, railroad executive, industrialist, politician, and Union general
Jonathan DeFelice, President of Saint Anselm College
James De Wolf, slave trader and United States senator
Nathanael Herreshoff, yacht designer & builder
Ira Magaziner, former senior adviser for policy development to the Clinton Administration and chairman of the William J Clinton Foundation Initiatives
Ethel Barrymore Colt, actor and lyricist
Samuel P. Colt, entrepreneur, politician, lawyer, gentleman farmer & philanthropist
Anthony Quinn, actor
William Thomas "Billy" Andrade, PGA Tour Professional Golfer
Edward L. Leahy, United States Senator and federal judge
Norman Rene, theater and film director
John Saffin, merchant and author (A Brief and Candid Answer to Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph, 1700)
Todd Santos, meteorologist for The Weather Channel

View Larger +
Prev Next

#9 Smithfield

The combination of a suburban ethos and still-operational farms that decorate the landscape and draw tourists characterizes this large Blackstone Valley community, which is also home to one of Rhode Island’s top universities, Bryant. Agriculture is still important to the town, which is apparent from its unofficial nicknamesof “Apple Country" or "Apple Valley" for its numerous apple orchards. In the same way, industry is still a force as there are numerous ultra modern factories. 

Smithfield by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 21,430
Median household income: $70,740
Median housing price: $215,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 9
Affordability ranking: 9
Education ranking: 10
Economic Condition ranking: 19
Safety ranking: 11
Arts & Culture ranking: 19
 
Famous people

Cyrus Aldrich, United States Congressman from Minnesota
Ronald K. Machtley, former U.S. Representative
Peleg Arnold, delegate to the Continental Congress
Daniel Mowry, Jr., delegate to the Continental Congress
Arthur Steere, politician, businessman
Don Orsillo, commentator for the Boston Red Sox on New England Sports Network(NESN)
David Wilkinson, machinist, co-builder of Slater Mill
Elizabeth Buffum Chace, influential American activist in the Anti-Slavery, Women's Rights, and Prison Reform Movements of the mid to late 19th century

View Larger +
Prev Next

#8 Narragansett

This strand-like town on the Bay may be the closest thing to California surf culture anywhere in New England, much less Rhode Island. With two of the state's largest, most wave-driven beaches, Narragansett defines itself more than anything by surf, sun, and playing in both. From grand homes in Saunderstown to funky vacation cottages in Bonnet Shores, and with the old-style culture on the Great Salt Pond, this town of just under 16,000 is truly Bay-driven. 

Narragansett by the numbers

Established: 1888
Population: 15,868
Median household income: $67,090
Median housing price: $355,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 8
Affordability ranking: 35
Education ranking: 6
Economic Condition ranking: 24
Safety ranking: 20
Arts & Culture ranking: 8

View Larger +
Prev Next

#7 Providence

Providence has Rhode Island’s largest population and lays claim to being the "Creative Capital." Although the city continues to struggle with crime, and education.  The wealth of the city is centered in a few neighborhoods. Striving to be the “Renaissance City” city again, it is home to 6 colleges and universities, and the former 195 land ripe with potential. Providence is a dynamic city with many facets and challenges, but its positive attributes often land it on top national lists for places to live and visit. 

Providence by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 178,042
Median household income: $49,526
Median housing price: $100,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 7
Affordability ranking: 1
Education ranking: 38
Economic Condition ranking: 34
Safety ranking: 39
Arts & Culture ranking: 1
 
Famous people

Like Newport, Providence boasts a list of more than one hundred famous residents.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#6 Barrington

Barrington is the town for a family to be in, with top-notch public schools and sports teams and safe neighborhoods. In its earliest days, Barrington was an agricultural society, but slowly began to develop a small manufacturing industry. In the 19th century, it became popular as a summer resort area and is still today known for its beautiful homes and large country estates. It has been dubbed "Borington" because it is the ultimate suburb - quite and safe.

Barrington by the numbers

Established: 1653
Population:16,310
Median household income: $105,769
Median housing price: $369,250
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 6
Affordability ranking: 21
Education ranking: 1
Economic Condition ranking: 1
Safety ranking: 6
Arts & Culture ranking: 27
 
Famous people

David Angell, American television sitcom producer
Nicholas Bianco, former member of the Colombo Crime Family before moving to Barrington. Underboss then Boss of the Patriarca Crime Family. Died in prison in 1994.
Thomas W. Bicknell, educator and historian
Christopher Denise, illustrator of children's books, including many in the Redwall series
Brad Faxon, professional golfer
Steven Frazier, CNN anchor
Henry Giroux, world-renowned academic and cultural critic
Spalding Gray, actor, screenwriter and playwright
Scott Haltzman, physician and author (wrote Secrets of Happily Married Men)
Michael S. Harper, poet
Phil Madeira, Nashville songwriter, musician, and recording artist, raised there
Shanna Moakler, model, Miss USA 1995, actress, and reality television star
Jon Land, author and screenwriter of Dirty Deeds.
Dan & Jordan Pious, winners of the Amazing Race 16

View Larger +
Prev Next

#5 Glocester

The town gets its name from Frederick Lewis, the Duke of Glocester after dividing from the Town of Providence. One of the town’s most popular events is the Ancients and Horribles Parade, held every Independence Day where crowds gather to the tune of about 10,000 people. Radio host Salty Brine, back in the day, made it infamous (along with Foster, of course) for its endless winter school closings.  Many a Rhode Island kid wished they lived there!

Glocester by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 9,746
Median household income: $78,401
Median housing price: $180,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 5
Affordability ranking: 2
Education ranking: 9
Economic condition ranking: 11
Safety ranking: 1
Arts & Culture ranking: 29
 
Famous people

Charles J. Fogarty, politician

View Larger +
Prev Next

#4 Warwick

The state's second largest city combines industry, retail, and varied residential neighborhoods both wooded and waterfront. It is situated a short way from the capital and is easily accessible through the highway system. Warwick’s location in the center of the state also makes it a prime location for T.F. Green Airport, which has undergone expansion and improvements in recent years. Its easy accessibility and central location make Warwick an area ripe for continued industrial, commercial, and population growth.

Warwick by the numbers

Established: 1642
Population: 82,672
Median household income: $61,003
Median housing price: $155,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 4
Affordability ranking: 4
Education ranking: 28
Economic condition: 28
Safety ranking: 30
Arts & Culture ranking: 4

Famous people

Bill Almon, MLB Baseball player
Rocco Baldelli, MLB Baseball Player
Will Blackmon, NFL player
Damian Costantino, NCAA record holder with hits in 60 consecutive games
Sara Decosta, US Women's Hockey Goalie
George Sears Greene, Civil War general
Nathanael Greene, Revolutionary War general and second in command to George Washington
Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, paranormal investigators, founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, and hosts of Ghost Hunters
Michaela McManus, actress
Walt Mossberg, technology editor for the Wall Street Journal
Raymond Nels Nelson Bureau Chief of The Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin
Craig Price, notorious alleged murderer from Buttonwoods
Chris Terreri, NHL goalie
Dan Wheeler, Major League pitcher attended Pilgrim High School
Doug White, former NBC 10 News Anchor
James Woods, actor

View Larger +
Prev Next

#3 South Kingstown

This varied, beautiful South County gem has pretty much everything you want in a town: unspoiled beaches, historic villages, strong arts and culture, and an ever-growing university culture courtesy of URI. Nearly a third of the town’s land is preserved as open space, and the community has experienced great residential expansion and population influx. In addition to continued industrial growth, South Kingstown continues to be a popular destination for summer resorts. 

South Kingstown by the numbers

Established: 1657
Population: 30,639
Median household income: $79,267
Median housing price: $280,000
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 3
Affordability ranking: 19
Education ranking: 15
Economic Condition ranking: 10
Safety ranking: 3
Arts & Culture ranking: 5
 
Famous people

Oliver Hazard Perry
Kate French, actress
Erika Van Pelt, American Idol 2012 tenth place finalist

View Larger +
Prev Next

#2 Cranston

Cranston has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Places to Live” in the United States by Money magazine, and is also among the top 25 safest cities in the country. Similar to its neighbor, Warwick, Cranston’s early development arose from burgeoning textile and manufacturing plants located along the Pawtuxet River. Cranston became a city with its own city government in 1910.

Cranston by the numbers

Established: 1754
Population: 80,387
Median household income: $54,583
Median housing price: $172,900
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 2
Affordability ranking: 20
Education ranking: 29
Economic condition: 32
Safety ranking: 29
Arts & Culture ranking: 3

Famous people

Cranston's list of famous residents is lengthy and includes the former Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#1 Newport

There is a reason that this is a top place for the rich to come and play every summer.

Surrounded by a sprawling waterfront, Newport was dubbed the “Birthplace of the Navy” and is full of rich history. Since its establishment as a city, this highly visited community has enjoyed a history of progress and success. In fact, Newport has more standing buildings built before 1830 than any other American community. It offers cruises, excursion boats, city tours, golf, and fishing among other things for visitors making it one of the most desired tourist destinations in the country.

Newport by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 24,672
Median household income: $68,319
Median housing price: $352,500
 
2016 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking:1
Affordability ranking: 36
Education ranking: 35
Economic condition: 21
Safety ranking: 9
Arts & Culture ranking: 2

Famous people

Newport boasts a long list of more than one hundred famous residents, from early Revolutionaries to contemporary film stars. 

 
 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 
 

Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook

X

Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email