What is the richest city in Rhode Island? View census data on income in the Ocean State.
Rhode Island’s median household income for 2020 was lower than Massachusetts (third at $84,385), Connecticut (fifth at $79,855) and New Hampshire (seventh at $77,923).
But Rhode Island was above the national median income of $64,994, and 15th place puts the state just behind New York and just ahead of Delaware.
“It’s good because it shows some economic growth and some stability in the state,” Brenda Clement, director of HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University, said Friday. “But when we recover, we want to make sure it’s equal and there are opportunities at all income levels.”
The cities with the highest median household incomes are Barrington ($125,317), East Greenwich ($125,299), and West Greenwich ($120,484). The cities with the lowest median household incomes are Central Falls ($34,689), Woonsocket ($44,310), and Providence ($49,065).
Even households that have reached the state’s median income level of over $70,000 are finding it to afford a place in a housing market with tight supply, Clement said, and the challenges of finding housing affordable to buy or rent are even greater in less-affluent parts of the state.
“We knew long before COVID that zip code mattered in terms of economic opportunity, health outcomes, and educational attainment,” she said. “As we have continued to see, economic growth is only happening in some parts of the state and not others, and this has highlighted and exacerbated income disparities, as well as racial and ethnic disparities. .”
In its annual housing book, HousingWorks RI reported that housing cost burden data reveals racial and ethnic disparities within Rhode Island. For example, the homeownership rate for white households in Rhode Island is 68%, double the rate for black households and more than double the rate for Latinos, the group said.
“HousingWorks RI envisions a Rhode Island where all communities embrace all varieties of housing, where regardless of race and ethnicity, you can live in a safe and affordable home,” Clement said. “That’s not the case in Rhode Island right now.”
Clement noted that Rhode Island received $1.13 billion in federal funds from the U.S. Bailout Act.
“As we collect and decide how to invest these federal dollars, we need to carefully consider this data,” she said of the new census numbers. “We need to invest more in certain communities and make sure the rising tide lifts all boats.”
The new data shows dramatic differences in revenue growth between 2010 and 2020.
For example, the median household income in Jamestown jumped 53.4%, from $77,813 in 2010 to $119,375 in 2020.
But in rural Exeter, median household income fell by 14.9%, from $98,438 in 2010 to $83,750 in 2020.
In Central Falls — a 1.2-square-mile, predominantly Latino city of 22,583 people — median household income has remained essentially flat, falling from $34,389 in 2010 to $34,689 in 2020.
“I think it’s sad that we’re still in the same range,” Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera said Friday.
She noted that the small town has become a major hotspot during the pandemic, and she said the public health crisis has been compounded by a housing crisis that is making it extremely difficult to find a home to rent or own in the city. town.
“That’s why I’m so focused on housing,” Rivera said, citing the city’s housing summit and housing report. She said the city is working with the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and other groups to try to connect city residents to better-paying jobs. And she said she was looking for $5 million more on top of the $5.9 million the city received in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Central Falls has been the hardest hit community from the pandemic, and there are other cities that are getting a lot more based on population and not need,” Rivera said.
Over the next decade, Central Falls may not experience a dramatic increase in median household income, she said. “I’d like to at least see incremental changes year after year with the work we’re trying to do now,” she said. “But it will take time.”