Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the United States. Rhode Island is the smallest in area, the 8th least populous, but the 2nd most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east.
Rhode Island's estimated 2007 total population is just over one million with more than 800,000 adults. Of those adults, approximately 39% are considered overweight and another 22% are considered obese, according to 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.
Water is Rhode Island's most abundant natural resource. Waterpower supplied by the state's many small streams was once used by the textile mills. Today most of Rhode Island's textile mills are powered by steam and electricity, but they continue to use billions of gallons of fresh stream water each year.
In 2008, Rhode Island was ranked 9 out of 50 states on teen birth rates among mothers ages 15 to 19 (with 1 representing the lowest rate and 50 representing the highest rate). Rhode Island was ranked 24 out of 50 states on teen pregnancy rates to mothers between the ages of 15 and 19 (with 1 representing the lowest rate and 50 representing the highest rate).
Between 2000 and 2010, health care was the fastest growing industry in Rhode Island, adding 10,645 (+18.8%) jobs in the Ocean State, more than any other industry. In comparison, the nation as a whole added over 2.9 million (+27.7%) health care jobs during this period.
Rhode Island has no county government. It is divided into 39 municipalities each having its own form of local government.
Prior to the 1840's, several unsuccessful attempts were made to replace the charter with a new state constitution that provided broader voting rights. In 1841, suffrage supporters, led by Thomas Wilson Dorr, gave up on attempts to change the system from within. In October, they held a People's Convention that enfranchised all white males with one year's residence. Voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum on the People's Convention in December. When efforts to implement the referendum were opposed by the conservative Charterite government, Dorr and his followers attempted to implement it by force.
In 1793, Samuel Slater's mill in Pawtucket became America's first successful water-powered cotton mill. From this success, the Industrial Revolution in America began. In addition, the founding of the American jewelry industry by Nehemiah and Seril Dodge helped make Providence one of the chief industrial cities of New England by 1824.
At the start of the Revolutionary War, Rhode Islanders were among the first colonists to take action against British rule by attacking British vessels. On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island was the first colony to renounce allegiance to Great Britain and declare independence.
Providence, was founded in 1636 as a settlement by English clergyman Roger Williams, after he was banished by the Massachusetts Great and General Court. Williams selected the name in gratitude for "God's merciful providence" that the Narragansett have granted him title to the site. Anne Hutchinson was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638 and brought more settlers who were attracted to the colony by the promise of religious freedom to establish Pocasset, now Portsmouth. William Coddington and others founded Newport in 1639.
This state was named by Dutch explorer Adrian Block. He named it "Roodt Eylandt" meaning "red island" in reference to the red clay that lined the shore. The name was later anglicized when the region came under British rule.
According to the 2010 Census, Rhode Island's population is 1,052,567, which ranks it 42nd among states.