Fastest-growing counties in Rhode Island

Written by:
June 10, 2022
Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

Fastest-growing counties in Rhode Island

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in Rhode Island. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in Rhode Island using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Bristol County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +918
--- #1,022 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.8%
--- #5 among counties in Rhode Island, #1,210 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 50,793
--- #5 largest county in Rhode Island, #978 largest county nationwide
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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Newport County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,755
--- #739 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.3%
--- #2 among counties in Rhode Island, #1,015 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 85,643
--- #4 largest county in Rhode Island, #676 largest county nationwide
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Marcbela (Marc N. Belanger) // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Washington County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,860
--- #727 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.3%
--- #4 among counties in Rhode Island, #1,144 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 129,839
--- #3 largest county in Rhode Island, #496 largest county nationwide
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Rhode Island Attorney General // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Kent County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,205
--- #611 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.5%
--- #3 among counties in Rhode Island, #1,113 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 170,363
--- #2 largest county in Rhode Island, #389 largest county nationwide
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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Providence County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +34,074
--- #184 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.4%
--- #1 among counties in Rhode Island, #780 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 660,741
--- #1 largest county in Rhode Island, #103 largest county nationwide

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