10 Pros and Cons of Living in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the nation’s smallest state but packs a powerful punch in character and charm. Known as the “Ocean State,” Rhode Island offers a unique coastal lifestyle that is a dream for seafood lovers and beachgoers. Living in Rhode Island means having easy access to picturesque shorelines, vibrant seaside towns like Newport, and a bustling cultural scene. However, the Ocean State does have its downsides. So whether you’re looking at unique homes for sale in Providence, apartments for rent in Cranston, or want to know if Rhode Island is a good place to live, get ready to explore the ten pros and cons of living in Rhode island.

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Springtime in Providence, Rhode Island

Quick Facts about Rhode Island

Population 1,097,379
Median home sale price $489,100
Average rent in Rhode Island $1,964
Largest cities in Rhode Island Providence, Cranston, Warwick

1. Pro: Beautiful coastline and beaches

Beautiful coastlines and stunning beach towns in Rhode Island are a significant advantage for those considering life in the Ocean State. Despite its small size, Rhode Island boasts a remarkable 400 miles of coastline, featuring an array of pristine beaches that beckon residents and tourists. The state’s beaches offer a picturesque escape for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports, as well as a backdrop for picturesque sunsets. Narragansett, Misquamicut, and Newport are just a few of the beach destinations that offer a relaxed coastal lifestyle. This proximity to the sea not only provides a natural paradise for recreational activities but also contributes to a tranquil and refreshing atmosphere.

2. Con: Traffic congestion in urban areas

One of the downsides of living in Rhode Island is the traffic congestion in its urban areas, notably Providence and its surrounding cities. The state’s relatively small and dense population can lead to congested roadways, especially during rush hours and peak travel times. The limited infrastructure and the lack of extensive public transportation options contribute to this issue, making daily commutes longer and more stressful. Navigating the highways and city streets during peak traffic hours can be challenging, impacting residents’ daily routines and requiring careful planning to avoid delays.


3. Pro: Rich history and culture

Rhode Island’s rich history and vibrant culture offer a compelling reason to call the state home. As one of the original thirteen colonies, Rhode Island is steeped in American history, with landmarks like the historic Newport Mansions showcasing Gilded Age architecture and grandeur. Providence, the state’s capital, is renowned for its thriving arts scene, with prestigious institutions such as the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and a dynamic arts and theater community.

4. Con: High housing costs

Rhode Island’s high housing costs can pose a significant financial challenge for residents. The state’s median home sale price stands at a notable $489,100, surpassing the national median of $439,716. The elevated housing prices, coupled with other factors contributing to a high cost of living, have a substantial impact on residents’ financial well-being. The cost of living in Providence is particularly striking, exceeding the national average by 12%. This higher cost of living, exacerbated by steep housing prices, can make homeownership and even renting more burdensome, affecting residents. Despite these high costs, there are affordable places to live in Rhode Island.

Winter in Providence, Rhode Island

5. Pro: Proximity to major cities

Rhode Island’s geographical proximity to major cities along the East Coast is a notable advantage for its residents. The state’s small size allows for easy access to a cluster of major urban hubs, making it a prime location for those who value a cosmopolitan lifestyle without the challenges of residing in a large metropolis. Boston is just a short drive away, offering world-class healthcare, educational institutions, and cultural attractions. New York City is also easily accessible, providing endless opportunities for business, entertainment, and international travel.

6. Con: High property taxes

Rhode Island’s high property taxes are underscored by an effective tax rate of 1.3%, significantly higher than the national average of 0.99%. This substantial difference places Rhode Island as the 15th highest property tax rate state in the country. The property tax burden can be challenging for residents, as it eats into their annual budgets and property values. While the state offers many advantages, including its beautiful coastline and vibrant culture, the high property taxes can be a significant financial drawback for many.

Night Traffic in Providence

7. Pro: Diverse dining options

Rhode Island’s diverse dining options are a delectable treat for those calling the state home. Despite its small size, Rhode Island boasts an extraordinary culinary scene that rivals much larger regions. The state’s unique blend of cultures and its thriving fishing industry have given rise to a wide array of culinary influences and flavors. From delectable seafood shacks offering the freshest catches to high-end restaurants featuring gourmet creations, Rhode Island has something for every palate. The state is renowned for its clam chowder, lobster rolls, and quahog dishes.

8. Con: Smallest state in the country

Rhode Island’s diminutive size, while offering the convenience of quick commutes and easy access to various attractions, can also be viewed as a drawback to living in the state. As one of the smallest states in the U.S., Rhode Island’s limited land area means that there are fewer geographical and lifestyle options compared to more expansive regions. The state has a relatively small job market, fewer significant cities, and a scarcity of undeveloped land, which can restrict career opportunities and limit the diversity of urban amenities.

Jamestown, Rhode Island

9. Pro: Mild winters

Rhode Island’s mild winters are a distinct and cherished feature of life in the state. Unlike many other northern regions, Rhode Island enjoys relatively temperate winters, with milder temperatures and less snowfall. This advantage means that residents don’t have to contend with the same degree of harsh winter weather, making daily activities and commuting more convenient and less challenging. 

10. Con: Potential for flooding in coastal areas

Rhode Island’s coastal areas, while offering picturesque seaside living, come with the potential risk of flooding. The state’s low-lying coastal regions can be susceptible to flooding during severe weather events, particularly storm surges, heavy rainfall, or nor’easters. These floods can pose a risk to properties and disrupt daily life, requiring residents to take measures to protect their homes and possessions. 


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