20 Interesting Facts of Rhode Island

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

Updated On:

Rhode Island, or as some refer to it as the Ocean State, is an incredibly beautiful, charismatic, and interesting state! Located on the east coast of the U.S. and lying at the heart of New England, you will find the sandy shores and the historical seaside towns that make up the coastal paradise of Rhode Island.

With scorching summers and snowy winters, the choices of things to do and places to visit really do become endless. So, it comes as no surprise that the interesting facts of Rhode Island are certainly in abundance!

If you are considering relocating to another U.S. state for vocational, work, business, or other purposes, it makes sense to take a look at everything this New England gem has to offer, especially if you enjoy being by the ocean – because who doesn’t!

If you would like to get stuck into the business highlights and economic facts about Rhode Island right away, feel free to skip straight to that section.

Interesting Facts of Rhode Island

20 Interesting Facts of Rhode Island

1. Rhode Island has a big reputation for such a small state, in fact, it is the smallest state in the United States! With a landmass covering approximately 1,214 square miles, and the distance between North and South is only 48 miles.

2. Rhode Island was the first state to enforce a jail sentence for speeding in an automobile, taking place in Newport on August 28, 1904.

3. Rhode Island was the last of the original thirteen colonies to become a state. Just in case you were wondering, here are the original thirteen: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia.

4. Rhode Island was the home to the first-ever National Lawn Tennis Championship, which took place all the way back in 1899.

5. The City of Newport has birthed a plethora of interesting and fun facts, with one being that the city was the first place in the United States to start operating a ferry service.

6. The year 1895 witnessed the first open golf tournament, which took place in Rhode Island.

7. Another Rhode Island first: the first discount department store, “Ann and Hope” opened up in the state during 1953. Unfortunately due to the impact 2020 has had on our global economy, Ann and Hope among many other retail stores have had to shut up shop.

8. Rhode Island has become somewhat of a tax haven for owners and those purchasing superyachts and other expensive boats. This was evident when Massachusetts’ senator, John Kerry managed to avoid paying $500,000 in sales and excise taxes on his yacht by simply docking it up in the Newport Shipyard during 2010 rather than Massachusetts harbor.

9. Rhode Island has gathered a reputation for creating some beautiful silver and other fine jewelry.

10. If you aren’t a fan of creepy crawlies, maybe this fact isn’t for you! However, the world’s largest bug is on the roof of New England Pest Control in Providence, luckily it isn’t real. The statue is of a giant blue termite, which is 58 feet long and roughly 925 times the size of a real-life termite.

11. It was Rhode Island that took the first military stand against the British by sinking one of their ships, “The Gaspee” in the Narragansett Bay, located between Newport and Providence. This seemed to have a knock-on effect, and slowly but surely, the tides turned in America’s quest for freedom.

12. Fancy a bit of shopping? Then look no further than Warwick, Rhode Island, which has been touted as “Rhode Island’s Retail Capital”.

13. The famous White Horse Tavern is the oldest tavern to still be in operation in the U.S., it was first established in 1673 and can be found in Newport!

14. Rhode Island was the first state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights in 2012. The state legislature allowed homeless people to be exposed to equal access to jobs, housing, and services, which is brilliant and displays the lack of discrimination within the state.

15. You may think that the next fact is a joke, but it is far from that! There is actually an Island residing in the state of Rhode Island which goes by the name of, yes, “Rhode Island”. It also has another, more unique name, “Aquidneck Island”, the island itself covers 44 square miles.

Aquidneck Island - Rhode Island Facts

Economic Facts About Rhode Island State

There is plenty to think about when considering the economic facts about Rhode Island as a state, with many overlooking the small state’s economic impact on the rest of the nation. However, what Rhode Island may lack in size, it certainly makes up for in its economic importance and success. There is so much more to Rhode Island’s business and economic climate than meets the eye, so, let’s check them out!

If you would like to learn how to register a business in Rhode Island so you can start your entrepreneurial journey, we have created a checklist walking you through the process.

Here are some Economic Facts About Rhode Island State

  • Rhode Island’s GDP is around $62 billion.
  • Rhode Island has a progressive state income tax rate ranging between 3.75% up to 5.99%.
  • Rhode Island has the best air and water quality out of all 50 states (US News & World Report).
  • The median income in Rhode Island is $34,511.
  • Over 41% of the state’s population have been college-educated.
  • According to the US News & World Report Rhode Island has the 11th best business environment out of all 50 states.
  • The minimum wage in Rhode Island is $11.50 per hour, which is one of the nation’s highest state minimum wage rates.
  • Wallethub has ranked Rhode Island 28th for its economic innovation metric.
  • The sales tax rate in Rhode Island is 7%.
  • The average house price in Rhode Island is $335,597, although this number is seasonally adjusted, in order to remain updated with the correct median house price, take a look at Zillow’s website.
  • Small businesses are taking the U.S. by storm, with millions operating around the nation, which in turn helps with economic strength, as well as employment! Rhode Island is home to over 103,000 small businesses currently.
  • These small businesses make up over 98% of Rhode Island’s total businesses.
  • There are more than 229,000 small business employees in Rhode Island.
  • Over 52% of Rhode Island employees work for small businesses.
  • Rhode Island is home to over 1,635 small business exporters.
  • Rhode Island has over 7,154 self-employed minorities.
  • The corporate income tax rate is 7% flat.

All of these economic facts about Rhode Island prove the reasons people move to the state for business and work opportunities, and you can see why!

5 Facts About Rhode Island

Here are our final 5 facts about Rhode Island!

16. The first-ever circus to take place in the United States was in Newport, RI in 1774.

17. The famous era, commonly known as The Industrial Revolution began in Rhode Island, with the development and construction in 1790 of Samuel Slater’s water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket, RI.

18. The first NFL game to take place at night happened in Rhode Island. Located in the famous Kinsley Park Stadium, on November 6, 1929, between the Steam Roller and the Chicago Cardinals.

19. Here are some of the most common Rhode Island ethnic roots:

  • 19% Italian.
  • 18.4% Irish.
  • 17.3% French.
  • 12% English.
  • 8.7% Portuguese.

20. The state’s capital city and also most populated city is Providence, which has a population of approximately 180,000 people.

Thanks for taking a look at our 20+ interesting facts of Rhode Island. If you have some awesome facts about the state that we may have missed from economic to just fun and random, make sure to add a comment below!

Interesting US State Facts

Rhode Island

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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,350 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.