Percentage-wise, East Greenwich saw the third highest population increase (8.9) in the state
We kind of thought EG was growing – a development boom in recent years and schools over capacity – and the 2020 census confirmed those suspicions. East Greenwich grew by 8.9 percent, or 1,166 people, to a total of 14,312. This marks a significant increase over the paltry 1.5 percent increase seen in 2010 but just behind the 9 percent increase seen in 2000.
Statewide, Block Island had the biggest jump in population (34.2 percent), with Central Falls next (16.6 percent), then EG, followed by Cumberland (8.7 percent) and Providence (7.2 percent).
The state as a whole grew too (by 4.26 percent) – enough so that Rhode Island will retain two Congressional seats, a welcome surprise to many state officials. (You can find all the data on the state’s data hub HERE.)
While the state overall dropped from 76 percent to 69 percent “non-Hispanic white,” as the census says, East Greenwich is still largely white – 84.7 percent. That’s down from 91.9 percent in 2010. We didn’t “lose” white residents (we actually gained 41 white residents) but we gained other categories at higher rates. Non-Hispanic Asians, Hispanic/Latinos and non-Hispanic/2 or more races made the largest gains; the number of non-Hispanic Black residents increased slightly as well. Find the data below:
12,085 Non-Hispanic White – 91.9%
531 Non-Hispanic Asian – 4%
227 Hispanic/Latino – 1.7%
162 Non-Hispanic/2 or More Races –1.2%
103 Non-Hispanic Black –.08%
12,126 Non-Hispanic White – 84.7%
853 Non-Hispanic Asian – 5.8%
595 Hispanic/Latino – 4.2%
557 Non-Hispanic/2 or More Races – 3.9%
144 Non-Hispanic Black – 1%
North Kingstown grew by 4.7 percent (from 26,486 to 27,732). While its non-Hispanic white population remains higher than EG’s (88 percent, down from 93 percent in 2010), NK lost white residents in real numbers – 84 residents. In Warwick, which grew by 151 people since 2010 (a .18 percent increase), the number of white residents dropped by 5,261 – from 91 percent to 84 percent. Statewide, Hispanic/Latino residents made the largest gains, from 12 percent to 17 percent of the population.
The number of older residents is increasing in the state overall (which saw a 7 percent increase in its over-18 population) but at a higher rate in East Greenwich, which grew its over-18 population by 12 percent. NK saw 10 percent increase in 18 and older residents; Warwick saw a 3 percent increase.
Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais said she was not surprised by the new data.
“There will be people who are surprised but I think that we in this department are not,” said Bourbonnais, referring to the town’s Planning Department. They have been working on updating the impact fee structure and part of the work done by consultants had to do with population projections.
“We had them build about an 8 percent increase over the next 10 years to 2029. And this census showed 8.8 percent increase. We had our finger on it.”
Bourbonnais said there is more data to come – on income, for instance. But with at least two larger-scale projects not yet occupied – 96 units on South County Trail and 68 units on Main Street just north of the Greenwich Village complex – as well as a number of smaller unit-count projects, it seems in the short term anyway, East Greenwich will continue to see growth.
Here’s the history of population in East Greenwich from 1800, from the state’s data hub:
Editor’s note: This story was added to 9/8/21 at 8 a.m.