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Washington County, Rhode Island
Washington County Courthouse (Rhode Island).jpg
Former Washington County Courthouse in West Kingston
Map of Rhode Island highlighting Washington County
Location in the state of Rhode Island
Map of the U.S. highlighting Rhode Island
Rhode Island's location in the U.S.
Founded June 3, 1729
Seat West Kingston
Largest town South Kingstown
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

563 sq mi (1,458 km²)
329 sq mi (852 km²)
234 sq mi (606 km²), 41%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

129,839
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Washington County, known locally as South County, is a county located in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. As of the 2020 census, the population was 129,839.[1] Rhode Island counties have no governmental functions other than as court administrative and sheriff corrections boundaries, which are part of the state government.[2]

History[]

Washington County was created as Kings County in 1729 within the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It was renamed Washington County on October 29, 1781, in honor of George Washington. At the earliest stage of colonial settlement, the area was called "The Narragansett Country", named after the Naragansett tribe and its tributary tribe the Niantics, both of whom lived in the area.

Early land purchases in the Narragansett Country were effected by settlers after the establishment of Indian trading posts at Fort Neck in Charlestown, and at "Smith's Castle" in Wickford. A series of conflicts involving the Manisseans on Block Island gave that island to the Massachusetts Bay Colony for a number of years, before being transferred to the Rhode Island Colony under Newport County, and then finally to Washington County in 1959.

The borders of the Narragansett country were disputed for nearly 100 years among the colonies of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The Narragansetts had pledged their fealty to King Charles, and the area was known as "The King's Province" and was placed under the authority of Rhode Island "until the King's pleasure was further known". In 1664, a royal commission under Charles II stepped in to adjudicate these conflicting claims. The commission extinguished the claims of Massachusetts, and Rhode Island was granted jurisdiction until the commission finished processing Connecticut's appeals, which were not ended until 1726. Settlements of King's Province were named to reflect the English Restoration, in honor of King Charles II. Towns reflecting this history include the two Kingstowns and Charlestown, as well as the villages of Kingston and West Kingston.

Washington County is also known in Rhode Island as "South County".[3]

Geography[]

Historic Downtown Westerly, Rhode Island

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 563 square miles (1,460 km2), of which 329 square miles (850 km2) is land and 234 square miles (610 km2) (41%) is water.[4] It is the largest county in Rhode Island by total area. The county's topography ranges from flat along the shoreline to gently rolling hills farther inland. The highest point is a large area approximately 560 feet (171 m) above sea level in the Exeter neighborhood of Black Plain;[5] the lowest point is sea level along the coast. The northern boundary west of Davisville is approximately 41.60°N. The western boundary north of Westerly is approximately 71.79°W.

National protected areas[]

  • Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
  • Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Major Highways[]

  • I-95
  • US 1
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/RI/link RI|Template:Infobox road/RI/abbrev RI]]

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 18,323
1800 16,135 −11.9%
1810 14,962 −7.3%
1820 15,687 4.8%
1830 15,411 −1.8%
1840 14,324 −7.1%
1850 16,430 14.7%
1860 18,715 13.9%
1870 20,097 7.4%
1880 22,495 11.9%
1890 23,649 5.1%
1900 24,154 2.1%
1910 24,942 3.3%
1920 24,932 0%
1930 29,334 17.7%
1940 32,493 10.8%
1950 48,542 49.4%
1960 59,054 21.7%
1970 83,586 41.5%
1980 93,317 11.6%
1990 110,006 17.9%
2000 123,546 12.3%
2010 126,979 2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2020[10]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 126,979 people, 49,177 households, and 32,297 families residing in the county.[11] The population density was 385.7 inhabitants per square mile (148.9 /km2). There were 62,206 housing units at an average density of 188.9 per square mile (72.9 /km2).[12] The racial makeup of the county was 93.8% white, 1.6% Asian, 1.2% black or African American, 0.9% American Indian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.4% of the population.[11]

The largest ancestry groups were:[13]

  • 27.8% Irish
  • 21.4% Italian
  • 19.9% English
  • 11.4% French
  • 10.8% German
  • 4.9% Portuguese
  • 4.8% Polish
  • 4.3% French Canadian
  • 3.5% Scottish
  • 2.9% Swedish
  • 2.7% American
  • 2.5% Scotch-Irish
  • 1.4% Russian

Of the 49,177 households, 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.2% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.3% were non-families, and 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 42.3 years.[11]

The median income for a household in the county was $70,285 and the median income for a family was $87,999. Males had a median income of $59,598 versus $44,851 for females. The per capita income for the county was $34,737. About 3.4% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.[14]

Communities[]

Map of Washington County, Rhode Island showing towns, census-designated places, and Narragansett tribal lands

Towns[]

Census-designated places[]

  • Ashaway
  • Bradford
  • Carolina
  • Charlestown
  • Hope Valley
  • Hopkinton
  • Kingston
  • Misquamicut
  • Narragansett Pier
  • Quonochontaug
  • Wakefield-Peacedale
  • Watch Hill
  • Weekapaug
  • Westerly
  • Wyoming

Other villages[]

  • Alton
  • Arcadia
  • Ashaway
  • Barberville
  • Bethel
  • Burdickville
  • Canonchet
  • Centerville
  • Davisville
  • Galilee
  • Hamilton
  • Hopkinton City
  • Jerusalem
  • Kenyon
  • Lafayette
  • Locustville
  • Matunuck
  • Moscow
  • Peace Dale
  • Point Judith
  • Rockville
  • Saunderstown
  • Shannock
  • Shelter Harbor
  • Slocum
  • South Hopkinton
  • Usquepaug
  • Wakefield
  • West Kingston
  • White Rock
  • Wickford
  • Wood River Junction
  • Woodville

Politics[]

Similar to other counties in Rhode Island, Washington County votes Democratic in presidential elections, having last voted Republican in 1984.

United States presidential election results for Washington County, Rhode Island[15][16]
Year Republican / Whig Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 29,818 39.20% 44,549 58.57% 1,693 2.23%
2016 27,230 41.03% 33,741 50.84% 5,398 8.13%
2012 25,366 40.34% 35,888 57.07% 1,625 2.58%
2008 25,624 38.73% 39,082 59.07% 1,454 2.20%
2004 26,533 42.36% 34,679 55.37% 1,422 2.27%
2000 21,253 37.80% 29,560 52.58% 5,411 9.62%
1996 16,302 32.71% 25,958 52.09% 7,572 15.20%
1992 16,211 30.62% 23,009 43.46% 13,724 25.92%
1988 21,650 48.04% 23,210 51.51% 202 0.45%
1984 24,365 57.59% 17,793 42.06% 147 0.35%
1980 16,932 41.47% 16,429 40.24% 7,466 18.29%
1976 17,856 49.57% 17,980 49.91% 186 0.52%
1972 19,280 58.46% 13,637 41.35% 62 0.19%
1968 11,639 43.40% 13,851 51.65% 1,328 4.95%
1964 7,342 29.63% 17,434 70.37% 0 0.00%
1960 12,651 52.21% 11,580 47.79% 0 0.00%
1956 14,278 65.71% 7,450 34.29% 0 0.00%
1952 13,389 61.29% 8,448 38.67% 9 0.04%
1948 9,522 55.88% 7,379 43.30% 140 0.82%
1944 8,233 56.12% 6,419 43.76% 18 0.12%
1940 9,233 60.54% 6,001 39.35% 17 0.11%
1936 8,764 58.21% 5,956 39.56% 336 2.23%
1932 7,307 58.42% 5,047 40.35% 153 1.22%
1928 7,793 68.84% 3,500 30.92% 27 0.24%
1924 8,038 75.21% 2,366 22.14% 283 2.65%
1920 6,420 74.93% 2,012 23.48% 136 1.59%
1916 2,837 55.17% 2,224 43.25% 81 1.58%
1912 2,129 44.91% 1,691 35.67% 921 19.43%
1908 3,043 66.46% 1,278 27.91% 258 5.63%
1904 3,189 70.63% 1,197 26.51% 129 2.86%
1900 2,421 66.35% 960 26.31% 268 7.34%
1896 3,040 72.05% 654 15.50% 525 12.44%
1892 2,183 52.83% 1,501 36.33% 448 10.84%
1888 2,346 57.54% 1,492 36.60% 239 5.86%
1884 2,014 60.08% 1,155 34.46% 183 5.46%
1880 2,017 62.02% 1,229 37.79% 6 0.18%
1844 967 57.59% 712 42.41% 0 0.00%



See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Washington County, Rhode Island

References[]

  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Washington County, Rhode Island". United States Census Bureau. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/profile?g=0500000US44009. 
  2. ^ "National Associations of Counties listing for Washington County, Rhode Island". http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_county&Template=/cffiles/counties/county.cfm&id=44009. 
  3. ^ "About South County". http://southcountyhistorycenter.org/about-south-county. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. http://www2.census.gov/geo/docs/maps-data/data/gazetteer/counties_list_44.txt. 
  5. ^ 41°35′09″N 71°39′16″W / 41.58583, -71.65444
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/ri190090.txt. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  10. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/44/44009.html. 
  11. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/0500000US44009. 
  12. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_SF1/GCTPH1.CY07/0500000US44009. 
  13. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_5YR/DP02/0500000US44009. 
  14. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_5YR/DP03/0500000US44009. 
  15. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 
  16. ^ "The Popular Vote of the United States, in the Presidential Election of 1844". New York Daily Herald (5270): p. 1. November 7, 1848. https://www.newspapers.com/image/466609365. 

External links[]

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Coordinates: 41°23′N 71°37′W / 41.39, -71.62


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Washington County, Rhode Island. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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