Cranston, Rhode Island

Cranston, Rhode Island
Official seal of Cranston, Rhode Island
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°46′N 71°27′W / 41.767°N 71.450°W / 41.767; -71.450
CountryUnited States
StateRhode Island
Incorporated (town)1754
Incorporated (city)1910[1]
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorKenneth Hopkins (R)
 • City Council
  • Jessica M. Marino (D)
  • Robert J. Ferri (D)
  • Nicole Renzulli (R)
  • Lammis J. Vargas (D)
  • Aniece Germain (D)
  • John P. Donegan (D)
  • Richard D. Campopiano (R)
  • Christopher G. Paplauskas (R)
  • Daniel Wall (D)
 • Total30.02 sq mi (77.75 km2)
 • Land28.34 sq mi (73.41 km2)
 • Water1.67 sq mi (4.33 km2)
Elevation66 ft (20 m)
 • Total82,934
 • Density2,925.88/sq mi (1,129.68/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
02823, 02831, 02905, 02907, 02909–02910, 02920–02921
Area code401
FIPS code44-19180[3]
GNIS feature ID1218689[2]

Cranston, formerly known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The official population of the city in the 2020 United States Census was 82,934, making it the second-largest city in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston.[6] Cranston is a part of the Providence metropolitan area.

Cranston was named one of the "100 Best Places to Live" in the United States by Money in 2006.[7] Cranston ranked 36th on the list of "America's 50 Best Cities to Live" in a 2014 survey done by[8]

The Town of Cranston was created in 1754 from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River. After losing much of its territory to neighboring towns and the city of Providence, Cranston itself became a city on March 10, 1910.



Much of the land was purchased by Roger Williams from the Narragansett Indians in 1638 as part of the Pawtuxet Purchase, and the first settler in the area was William Arnold, who was followed shortly by William Harris, William Carpenter, and Zachariah Rhodes.[9] Stephen Arnold, a brother-in-law of Rhodes and William Arnold, built a gristmill on the Pawtuxet falls and laid out the Arnold Road (modern-day Broad Street) connecting it to the Pequot Trail leading to Connecticut. Arnold's son Benedict Arnold became the first Governor of Rhode Island under the charter of 1663. Residents were unable to agree upon a name for a new town for decades, and the Town of Cranston was eventually created by the General Assembly in 1754 from a portion of Providence north of the Pawtuxet River. Historians debate whether the town was named after Governor Samuel Cranston, the longest-serving Rhode Island governor, or his grandson Thomas Cranston, who was serving as Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives at the time that the town was created.[citation needed] In the early 1770s, town meetings were held at the taverns of Caleb Arnold and Nehemiah Knight, where residents voted in favor of a resolution opposing the British Parliament's Coercive Acts; the town heavily supported the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. The town lost much of its territory to neighboring towns and the city of Providence over the nineteenth century, and Cranston became a city on March 10, 1910.[10][11]

Many Italian Americans in Cranston are descended from immigrants of Itri, Italy who settled mainly in the Knightsville section of Cranston during the early 1900s.[12] Cranston is known for the St. Mary's Feast, inspired by the Feast of the Madonna della Civita celebrated in Itri. Since 1905, the St. Mary's Feast has been a week-long festival celebrated in July in Cranston with vendors, a carnival, fireworks, and a religious procession from St. Mary's Church on Sunday.[13] In 2000, Cranston and Itri became sister cities.[14]

For many years, Cranston was the third-largest city in Rhode Island, after Providence and Warwick, both of which it borders, but in 2017, it surpassed Warwick to take second place. Though Cranston's overall population density was already much greater than the geographically larger Warwick,[15] a major factor contributing to its growth has been a large and semirural section west of Interstate 295, which has seen a high volume of housing development in recent years; Warwick has significantly less open land available for development.[16]

Flood of 2010


The Pawtuxet River overflowed in March 2010 after an overwhelming amount of rain. This caused many major sites to be shut down and repaired, such as the Warwick Mall, Contour Dental Laboratories, and the CLCF Building.[17]



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.9 square miles (77 km2), of which 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) (4.54%) is covered by water.

The city occupies roughly three percent of Rhode Island's total land mass.[18]

These neighborhoods and villages are located in Cranston:


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[19][5]



The 2020 United States census counted 82,934 people, 32,676 households, and 19,522 families in Cranston. The population density was 2,925.9 per square mile (1,129.7/km2). There were 34,182 housing units at an average density of 1,205.9 per square mile (465.6/km2). [20][21] The racial makeup was 68.14% (56,514) white or European American (65.66% non-Hispanic white), 5.65% (4,683) black or African-American, 0.58% (485) Native American or Alaska Native, 6.99% (5,799) Asian, 0.05% (45) Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian, 9.99% (8,282) from other races, and 8.59% (7,126) from two or more races.[22] Hispanic or Latino of any race was 18.17% (15,067) of the population.[23]

Of the 32,676 households, 27.9% had children under the age of 18; 43.7% were married couples living together; 31.1% had a female householder with no spouse or partner present. 30.0% of households consisted of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.[20] The average household size was 2.5 and the average family size was 3.2.[24] The percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher was estimated to be 25.0% of the population.[25]

19.0% of the population was under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.2 years. For every 100 females, the population had 104.9 males.[20] For every 100 females ages 18 and older, there were 106.4 males.[20]

The 2016-2020 5-year American Community Survey estimates show that the median household income was $74,425 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,217) and the median family income was $89,180 (+/- $3,837). Males had a median income of $51,447 (+/- $2,606) versus $35,032 (+/- $2,123) for females.[26] The median income for those above 16 years old was $42,882 (+/- $1,971).[27] Approximately, 4.1% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under the age of 18 and 8.8% of those ages 65 or over.[28][29]

The most common Hispanic background in Cranston is Dominican American and Guatemalan American, reflective of Rhode Island's Latino population as a whole. Also, a relatively large Cambodian American population is centered around Park and Pontiac Avenues in the center of the city. Italian Americans are still the predominant ethnicity throughout Cranston, numbered at 38% of the population. This gives Cranston one of the largest Italian-American communities in the United States, similar to neighboring Johnston and North Providence, Rhode Island.[citation needed]



As of the 2010 US Census, 80,387 people resided in the city. The racial makeup of the village was 81.93% White, 5.26% African American, 0.32% Native American, 5.17% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 2.66% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 10.83% of the population.

1990 census


As of the census[3] of 1990, 79,269 people, 30,954 households, and 20,243 families lived in the city of Cranston. The population density was 2,774.6 persons per square mile (1,071.3/km2). The 32,068 housing units had an average density of 1,122.5 per square mile (433.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.19% White, 3.69% African American, 0.30% Native American, 3.28% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.93% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.56% of the population.

Of the 30,954 households, 28.7% had children under 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were not families. About 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.41, and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the age distribution was 21.6% under 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females of age 18 or over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,108, and for a family was $55,241. Males had a median income of $40,031 versus $28,279 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,978. About 5.6 of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under 18 and 8.5% of those 65 or older.



Companies with corporate headquarters in Cranston include jewelry maker Alex and Ani and Coastway Community Bank.[citation needed] The first Del's Lemonade stand was opened in Cranston in 1948.[30]

Arts and culture



Howard Prison in Cranston, c. 1900

The first auto race track in the country, Narragansett Park,[a] located off Park Avenue, opened at present-day Stadium Ball Field in 1867 as a trotting track.[31]

The Budlong Pool, located at 198 Aqueduct Road, off Reservoir Avenue (part of RI 2), is the city's only public pool. Budlong, which is much larger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool, was built in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project.[32] The pool was closed in 2019 after an architect's report stated that the pool was "close to the end of its serviceable life” and would cost $2 million to repair.[32] The pool has since become a subject of political debate in the city. Mayor Ken Hopkins proposed in 2023 to completely replace the aging structure with a new $3.5-million redesign which, at 7,000 square feet, would be one-third the current size.[32] 2,000 Cranston residents signed a petition opposing the project.[32]

Sprague Mansion, an 18th-century homestead, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[33] The Thomas Fenner House, built around 1677, is one of the oldest houses in Rhode Island. Edgewood Yacht Club has long popular among local sailors and is a historic landmark located on the Providence River.



Little League

  • 1996 United States Champions (CWLL)
  • 2015 New England Champions (CWLL)


Cranston city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2020 42.22% 17,313 56.12% 23,039 1.71% 701
2016 43.30% 15,934 50.99% 18,763 5.70% 2,099
2012 37.20% 13,008 61.16% 21,388 1.64% 574
2008 37.72% 13,981 60.76% 22,520 1.51% 561
2004 40.95% 14,471 57.54% 20,331 1.51% 532
2000 31.00% 10,420 63.09% 21,204 5.90% 1,984
1996 26.71% 9,098 61.37% 20,901 11.92% 4,059
1992 31.45% 12,450 46.96% 18,589 21.59% 8,549
1988 46.33% 17,129 53.32% 19,711 0.35% 128

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections has its headquarters and its adult prison facilities in Cranston.[35] The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families operates the Rhode Island Training School (RITS), a juvenile correctional facility, in Cranston. The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is headquartered in Cranston.[36]

The City of Cranston operates under a mayor-council form of government. General city elections are held on the first Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years.[37] Terms for elected officials begin on the first Monday in January of the year following their election.[38] The City Council consists of nine members: six representing each of the City wards, and three city-wide representatives. Council members are elected to a two-year term, and are limited to five consecutive two-year terms.[39] The current Cranston city council president is Jessica M. Marino, a city-wide representative and first woman to hold the office.[40] Ward 1 Councilmember Lammis J. Vargas is the Vice President. The council elected for the 2023-2025 term had a 5-4 Democratic majority, but, after a special election to replace a vacated GOP seat, the council achieved a 6-3 Democratic majority.

The current mayor, Kenneth J. Hopkins, was sworn in on January 4, 2021, following his election to a four-year term in November 2020. Hopkins succeeded Mayor Allan Fung, the state's first Asian-American mayor, who served four terms from 2009 to 2021. As of 2012, mayors may be elected to no more than two consecutive four-year terms.[39]

In the Rhode Island Senate, Cranston is split into four senatorial districts, all represented by Democrats: Frank S. Lombardi (District 26), Hanna M. Gallo (District 27), Joshua Miller (District 28), and Matthew LaMountain (District 31). The city is divided into all or parts of nine Rhode Island House of Representatives districts, including Districts 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 41, and 42. At the federal level, Cranston is a part of Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district and is currently represented by Democrat Seth Magaziner.

In presidential elections, Cranston is reliably Democratic, as no Republican presidential nominee has won the city in over three decades.



The school district is Cranston School District.[41]

Public high schools:

Public middle schools:

  • Western Hills Middle School
  • Hugh B. Bain Middle School
  • Park View Middle School
  • Hope Highlands Middle School

Public elementary schools:

  • Arlington Elementary School
  • Chester Barrows Elementary School
  • William R. Dutemple Elementary School
  • Eden Park Elementary School
  • Edgewood Highlands Elementary School
  • Garden City Elementary School
  • Gladstone Elementary School
  • Glen Hills Elementary School
  • Oak Lawn Elementary School
  • Orchard Farms Elementary School
  • George J. Peters Elementary School
  • Edward S. Rhodes Elementary School
  • Stadium Elementary School
  • Stone Hill Elementary School
  • Daniel D. Waterman Elementary School
  • Woodridge Elementary School

Other public schools:

  • Cranston Area Career And Technical Center

Private schools:

School committee


The Cranston School Committee consists of seven nonpartisan members, six representing each of the city wards and one city-wide representative. Committee members are elected at city general elections to a two-year term, and as of 2014, members are limited to five consecutive two-year terms.[42] The current Cranston School Committee chairperson is Michael Traficante, a city-wide representative.





Four freeways travel through Cranston: I-95, I-295, RI 10 (the Huntington Expressway), and RI 37. Other state-numbered roads in Cranston are US 1, US 1A, RI 2, RI 5, RI 12, RI 33, RI 51, RI 115, and RI 117.

Cranston is served by Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor passes through, but has no station in the city. The MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line also passes through, but does not include a station in Cranston, but a station stop has been proposed. Currently, the nearest MBTA stations are in Providence and Warwick at T.F. Green Airport, the former which is also served by Amtrak.

Notable people


Sister cities


Friendship cities


See also



  1. ^ Not to be confused with Narragansett Park, a Thoroughbred horse track, located in Pawtucket, RI, which closed in 1978


  1. ^ "Cranston Rhode Island, United States". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cranston, Rhode Island
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  6. ^ "Geography Program". Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  7. ^ "MONEY Magazine: Best places to live 2006: Cranston, RI snapshot". Retrieved December 11, 2009.
  8. ^ "America's 50 Best Cities to Live". Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  9. ^ Moyer, Sandra M.; Worthington, Thomas A. (2014). Cranston Revisited. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781467120791.
  10. ^ Steven Frias, Cranston and Its Mayors: A History (The History Press, 2011) pg. 10-20
  11. ^ Historic District Commission "History of Cranston" Archived January 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Fuoco, Joe; Lothrop, A. J. (1998). Knightsville and Silver Lake. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7524-1229-0.
  13. ^ Kittredge, Daniel. "Set for 110th year, St. Mary's Feast renews focus on religious roots". Cranston Herald. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Schiff, Pam. "Mayor of Itri greeted warmly, now he has the city key". Cranston Herald. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  15. ^ "Rhode Island Population Density City Rank". Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  16. ^ Parker, Paul Edward (May 25, 2018). "Cranston takes 'friendly rivalry' with Warwick up a notch". The Providence Journal. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  17. ^ "WPRO Newscast". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
  18. ^ Tempera, Jacqueline (April 10, 2016). Phipps, Peter (ed.). "Rhode Island is small, but not that small". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d "US Census Bureau, Table DP1: PROFILE OF GENERAL POPULATION AND HOUSING CHARACTERISTICS". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  21. ^ "Gazetteer Files". Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  22. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table P1: RACE". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  23. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table P2: HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  24. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1101: HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  25. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1501: EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  26. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1903: MEDIAN INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2020 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS)". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  27. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S2001: EARNINGS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2020 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS)". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  28. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1701: POVERTY STATUS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  29. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table S1702: POVERTY STATUS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS OF FAMILIES". Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  30. ^ "The Del's Story". August 6, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  31. ^ Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America by Charles Leerhsen
  32. ^ a b c d Farzan, Antonia Noori (September 8, 2023). "When a pool is more than a pool: How Cranston's Budlong Pool became a political lightning rod". The Providence Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2023.
  33. ^ "Sprague Mansion, Cranston, RI". Archived from the original on March 26, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2009.
  34. ^ "Rhode Island Board of Elections: Previous Election Results". Archived from the original on April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  35. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2010-11-04 at the Wayback Machine." Rhode Island Department of Corrections. Retrieved on December 7, 2009.
  36. ^ "DLLR's Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning[permanent dead link]." Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Retrieved on August 23, 2010.
  37. ^ "R.I. Gen. Laws". Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  38. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  39. ^ a b "Municode Library". Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  40. ^ Bartlett, Emma (December 27, 2022). "Inauguration makes in-person return for 2023". Cranston Herald. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  41. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Providence County, RI" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 11, 2024. - Text list
  42. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  43. ^ "Family Guy writer at Bryant". The Providence Journal.
  44. ^ ANCA-Eastern Region (May 17, 2023). "ANC of Rhode Island secures establishment of Friendship City between Cranston and Stepanakert". Retrieved May 17, 2023.