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How well do you know rural Rhode Island? Check out these five facts about the nation's smallest state from our Rhode Island member, Jill D'Errico! 

Did you know? Five Facts about Rural Rhode Island

  1. In 2015, Rhode Island developed its own unique definition of rural in order to better assess and evaluate the health needs of rural Rhode Islanders. The definition, which was shaped by both federal and other state-specific guidelines, seeks to appropriately recognize which towns in RI qualify as rural. Specifically, the definition categorizes any town with a population of less than 25,000 AND a population density of less than 1,000 people per square mile as rural. Under the new definition, 18 (out of 39) towns are considered rural. The populations of the 18 rural towns compose 17.9% of the overall state population.
  2. In an assessment of the important health determinants, behaviors, and outcomes of rural towns in Rhode Island, it is clear that there are some areas in which rural Rhode Island is flourishing. For example, approximately 78.1% of individuals living in a rural area have visited a dentist in the past year, compared to 70.1% of individuals in an urban area.
  3. The Office of Primary Care and Rural Health facilitates the State Loan Repayment program. All Federally Qualified Health Centers in rural areas are eligible for State Loan Repayment. Last year, the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health dispersed over 800,000 amount to providers at eligible practice sites.
  4. Even though Rhode Island is only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, the coastline stretches over 400 miles. That’s why RI is called “the Ocean State!” In Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary, there are over 30 different islands and many opportunities for water sports, including kayaking, fishing, and boating.
  5. Block Island is located 13 miles off the southern RI coast, and 12 miles east of Montauk Point on Long Island. The Narragansett Indians were the first inhabitants of Block Island, until Dutch explorer Adriaen Block settled the area in 1661. Today, there are approximately 1,000 year-round inhabitants on the island, but there are over 15,000 visitors per day during peak season! Block Island is especially easy to see by bike, and a tour of the entire island can be done in one day. There is an 8.5-mile biking trail that will take you around the island where you can explore the beaches, lighthouses, and the famous painted Settler’s Rock!
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