Rhode Island is a state in the Northeastern United States with a population of 1,056,611 and land area of 1,034 square miles. It ranks as the eighth smallest state by population and the the smallest state by area.
Race and Ethnicity
According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 72.70% of state residents identify as white, 5.60% as Black or African American, 0.40% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 3.30% as Asian, 0.10% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 15.00% as Hispanic or Latino, and 3.00% as some other race or combination of races.
Nationally, some 61.1% of Americans identify as white, 12.3% as Black or African American, 0.7% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.4% as Asian, 0.2% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 17.8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% as some other race or combination of races.
Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in Rhode Island include Irish, Italian, English, French, and Portuguese. Measured by location quotient -- comparing the state share to the national share -- some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in Rhode Island are Cape Verdean, Portuguese, and Liberian.
Native and foreign-born population
An estimated 86.40% of Rhode Island residents are native-born, meaning they were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area, or abroad to a U.S. citizen.
Of the 13.60% of the population that is foreign-born, 55.20% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Nationwide, 86.5% of Americans are native-born. And of the 13.5% of Americans who are foreign-born, 48.8% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
The population of Rhode Island is older than the United States as a whole. The median age in the state is 39.9 years old, 2.0 years more than the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 16.50% of the population is 65 years and over, compared to 15.2% of the U.S. population.
Family and household composition
Family and household composition also varies heavily across the United States. In Rhode Island, 44.40% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 4.50% of households are occupied by single male householders, 13.30% by single female householders, and 37.80% by non-family occupants. Nationwide, 4.9% of households are occupied by single male householders, 12.6% by single female householders, and 34.3% by non-family occupants. An estimated 60.30% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.
As is the case across the United States, English is the most commonly spoken language in Rhode Island. Of the 1,002,000 people aged 5 and up living in Rhode Island, 91.4% speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. English usage is about as common in the state as it is nationwide where an average of 91.5% of the 5 and older population only speaks English, or speak it very well.
Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States. In Rhode Island, 12.1% of the population aged 5 and older speaks Spanish, the 10th largest share among all states. Nationwide, 13.3% of all Americans in the same age group speak Spanish.
Residents of Rhode Island are less likely to be married than the typical American. Of the 885,500 Rhode Island residents aged 15 and older, 44.7% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Divorce, meanwhile, is about as common in the state as it is nationwide. In Rhode Island, 11.1% of the 15 and older population is divorced, compared to the 10.8% share of the same age group across the U.S. as a whole.
An estimated 36.6% of Rhode Island residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of Americans in the same age group.
In Rhode Island, 6.8% of the 18 and over population are veterans -- below the 7.5% of adult civilians who have served in the military nationwide. Compared to other states, Rhode Island is home to the 8th smallest share of military veterans.
As is the case nationwide, the largest share of veterans living in the state served in the Vietnam era. Of Rhode Island’s 57,500 resident veterans, 5.8% served in World War II, 37.6% served in the Vietnam War, 14.4% served in the period between the beginning of the Gulf War and 2001, and 14.2% served since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. An additional 6,600 men and women served during the Korean War.
In Rhode Island, adults are about as likely to have a high school education as the typical American adult, but more likely to have a four-year college education. Among Rhode Island residents 25 and older, 88% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 33.3% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively.
Though it is not always the case, incomes tend to rise with educational attainment rates across broad populations -- and Rhode Island is no exception. With a higher than average bachelor’s degree attainment rate, the state also has a higher than average median income. The typical household in Rhode Island earns $63,296 a year, about $3,000 more than the national median household income of $60,293.
Still, Rhode Island has a slightly lower than average concentration of wealthy residents. An estimated 6.7% of households in the state earn $200,000 or more annually, compared to 7.0% of households nationwide.
With the higher than average median household income, serious financial hardship is less common in the state than it is nationwide. The poverty rate in Rhode Island stands at 13.1%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%.
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