Rhode Island Geography, Population, Business and History

Rhode Island, abbreviated RI, is a state of New England in the United States, between Massachusetts and Connecticut. Rhode Island, with its 4002 km2 is the smallest state in the United States and has 1,059,639 residents (US Census, 2017).

Rhode Island is often called Little Rhody, or Ocean State, and the largest city and capital is Providence.

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The coastal area consists of a number of straits, islands and sandbanks. To the east, Narragansett Bay cuts approximately 50 km north to Providence. At the inlet lies the largest island of Rhode (Iceland) with the city of Newport. To the north and west rises the country, a hill landscape with many lakes and water. The state’s highest point, Jerimoth Hill, reaches 247 meters above sea level. The soil is not very fertile, with deposits from the last ice age. The climate is moderate and continental.


Rhode Island is the United States’ smallest and second most densely populated state, after New Jersey. Of the population, 84.1 percent are white – including 15.5 percent Hispanic – and 8.2 percent black (US Census, 2017). The majority of the population lives in cities, especially concentrated on the Providence – New Bedford – Fall River conurbation, which includes parts of Massachusetts.

Rhode Island sends two senators and two representatives to the federal congress in Washington DC.


The metal and mechanical, electronic and textile industries are leading industrial sectors. The state is known for its production of jewelery and silverware. Tourism is significant. Dairy products, potatoes and apples are major products in agriculture.

Lobster and shellfish fishing is conducted in Narragansett Bay; fishing for cod and flounder off the coast. In Providence is Brown University. By the way, there are many jobs in the service industries.


The first secure European discovery of the area occurred in 1524 by the Italian seaman Giovanni da Verrazzano. Rhode Island gained permanent European settlement in 1636, when Puritans from Massachusetts, led by Englishman Roger Williams, fled to the Providence area. In 1663, he received a Rhode Island freelance as his own colony, and introduced religious and political freedom into the colony.

Shipping and shipbuilding were important trade routes, and Newport in particular operated a thriving trade in slaves and space. Rhode Island independently declared itself two months before the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but was in turn the last of the original 13 states to ratify the Union Constitution in 1790.

Rhode Island Population 2019

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