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10 Biggest Cities in Rhode Island: How Well Do You Know The Ocean State?

Image: 10 Biggest Cities in Rhode Island: How Well Do You Know The Ocean State?
Pomham Rocks lighthouse guides mariners in cloudy weather along Rhode Island's East Providence River in Narragansett Bay. (Alwoodphoto/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 10 Apr 2015 01:44 PM

Rhode Island may be small, but it has its fair share of big cities. In addition to the year-round population, it's also home to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, attracting thousands of students to the New England state for most of the year.

Over 1,052,500 inhabit the state as a whole, ranking Rhode Island 43rd on the list of most populated states, beating out its New England neighbor Vermont by more than 400,000.

But which of the Ocean State's cities are the most populous? Check out the 10 biggest cities in Rhode Island:

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1. Providence: With a population of more than 178,000, Rhode Island's capital city is also its largest. It was founded nearly 400 years ago, making it one of America's oldest cities. Now, it's the second largest city in New England after Boston, Massachusetts, and is home to eight hospitals, eight colleges and universities, and lots of manufacturing.

2. Warwick:
Just half the size of Providence, Warwick has a population of 82,670 and is the state's second largest city. It boasts 39 miles of coastline and a rich history, including its claim to fame as the starting place of the American Revolution with the first shots fired against the British schooner Gaspee. Warwick has plenty of its own charm and attractions, but Providence is only 10 minutes away.

3. Cranston:
Even without a distinct urban center, Cranston is still the third most populous city in Rhode Island with more than 80,300 residents. It's largely rural and has several historic districts. It's located in greater metropolitan Providence and is home to the headquarters of jewelry manufacturer Alex & Ani.

4. Pawtucket: Located on the Blackstone River, Pawtucket has a population of 71,100. It was here that Samuel Slater, revolutionizing the textiles industry, successfully constructed the first machines for spinning cotton. Now, however, the local industries are jewelry and silverware manufacturing.

5. East Providence:
The first settlement of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams in 1636 is now home to 47,000 people. The city is only a few miles outside of Providence and is located on 14 miles of the Seekonk River.

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6. Woonsocket: Sitting on the banks of the Blackstone River, Woonsocket has a population of more than 41,100. It's the site of the first sawmill and is directly south of the Massachusetts state line. This city is also the headquarters of CVS Health and is one of the most French cities in the U.S. with a large French-Canadian population.

7. Coventry: Coventry has the largest land area of Rhode Island cities, but is only seventh largest in terms of population with 35,500 residents. Once largely industrialized, it is now a mix of rural and suburban areas.

8. Cumberland:
The Northeastern town of Cumberland has a rocky and hilly landscape where deposits of cumberlandite, Rhode Island's state rock, can be found. More than 34,800 people live there. The Blackstone River powered much of the industry in the town in centuries past, and the Cumberland Farms convenience store chain started here, but now the city's historic charm is its crowning glory.

9. North Providence:
Located in the Northwestern corner of the Providence metropolitan area, North Providence is home to approximately 33,800 residents. Once a farming community, it still has that small-town feel with only two main roads that run through it.

10. West Warwick: Once a thriving mill town, West Warwick has a population of more than 30,100. The youngest town in Rhode Island wasn't incorporated until 1913. Many of the mills that pay homage to the city's industrial past still stand on its 8 square miles of land.

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Rhode Island may be small, but it has its fair share of big cities. In addition to the year-round population, it's also home to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, attracting thousands of students to the New England state for most of the year.
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