You’ll find the smallest state in the northeastern corner of the USA: Rhode Island. Bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, this tiny state has a total area of 1,545 square miles. But even with its tiny size, Rhode Island is still larger than some countries. Let’s look at how small some of these places are worldwide and why Rhode Island should still be on your bucket list!
What Is the Smallest State in the USA?
Rhode Island, also know as The Ocean State, is less than 50 miles long and 40 miles wide. The next smallest state, Delaware, is less than 100 miles long and about 30 miles wide for a total area of 2,489 square miles. It’s still approximately 1,000 square miles larger than Rhode Island.
Despite its small size, roughly one million people call The Ocean State “home.” For those who live in larger states, it can be hard to imagine crossing an entire state in about an hour, traffic permitting.
How Small Is Rhode Island?
Rhode Island is so small that the state could fit inside Texas over 200 times and inside California about 150 times. However, it ranks 2nd in population density, at about 1,000 people per square mile.
It also ranks 15th in the country by income. Residents of Rhode Island make about $63,000 a year. This northeastern state also has the highest-paid elementary school teachers in the country. Citizens Financial Group, CVS Caremark, Hasbro, Amica Mutual Insurance, and other Fortune 1000 companies base themselves in The Ocean State.
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7 Countries That Are Smaller Than the Smallest State in the USA
Americans who are familiar with the size of states like Texas and California may wonder at the tiny relative size of Rhode Island. But we found it helpful to compare the small state to several entire countries that are even smaller.
There are a couple dozen countries in total, but here are seven of the smallest countries in the world that are smaller than Rhode Island. It’s hard to imagine an entire country covering less than 1,000 square miles, but it’s true!
With a population of 579,330, Maldives is in South Asia in the Indian Ocean. It’s about 1/10 the size of Rhode Island at 120 square miles, making it the smallest Asian country. This archipelago is southwest of India and crosses the equator. Tourism, agriculture, and fishing make up most of the economy.
The largest country on this list is Luxembourg. This European nation is close to half the size of the smallest state in the USA at under 1,000 square miles and has a smaller population of 645,397. It borders Germany, France, and Belgium.
Children growing up in Luxembourg must be trilingual by the time they graduate from secondary school. During primary school, children learn in Luxembourgish and then change to German during the later primary years. While in secondary school, instruction changes to French.
Malta, a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea, is almost the same size as Maldives at 122 square miles. Just under 520,000 people live here, about half the population of Rhode Island. This archipelago is between Italy and Libya and is part of Southern Europe. It’s a popular tourist destination, with over one million people visiting annually. People know this island for its healthcare system, and many British tourists seek medical care here.
Sitting in the southern Pacific Ocean, Tonga is part of Polynesia. Like Maldives and Malta, it’s an archipelago nation. About 100,200 people live in 45 of the 171 islands that make up the country, which totals less than 300 square miles. People use much of the land for agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. The most plentiful cash crops are bananas, coconuts, coffee beans, vanilla beans, cassava, and sweet potatoes.
Another Asian country to make the list is Singapore. Residing in Southeast Asia, Singapore covers 283 square miles, far less than the smallest state in the USA. The nation is part of the Four Asian Tigers, which includes Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. They’re all high-income economies that have sustained growth since the 1950s. According to the World Economic Forum, Singapore is one of the world’s most competitive economies. About 5.6 million people live in this tiny Asian nation.
6. Saint Lucia
Similar in size to Tonga and Singapore, Saint Lucia, an island in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean, covers less than 250 square miles. Approximately 185,000 people live on the island. With Saint Lucy of Syracuse as its namesake, this country is one of only two nations named after a woman. The other is Ireland. Because of the tropical climate of Saint Lucia, it’s a famous tourist destination. The tourist season runs from January to April during the dry season. About 1.3 million people visit yearly.
Finally, like Maldives and Malta, Barbados has a total area of less than 200 square miles. Also, in the Caribbean, Barbados is home to roughly 281,000 people. A flight between Saint Lucia and Barbados is less than an hour. Barbados is one of the many islands a volcano formed, and this movement continues to shape the island. The island rises about 30 centimeters every one thousand years. Although about 20% of residents live in poverty, economists consider Barbados a high-income economy and the 52nd richest country in the world in terms of GDP.
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Is the Small State of Rhode Island Worth Visiting?
At just over 1,000 square miles of land area, you might wonder if the smallest state in the USA is worth visiting. Absolutely! Just like any of the small countries examined above, Rhode Island offers beautiful beaches, historic charm, and a vibrant arts scene.
With 400 miles of coastline, it’s an excellent state to escape the crowded beaches of the South while also enjoying charming villages and savoring delicious fresh seafood. You’ll find breweries, wineries, museums, art galleries, and more within the 1,500 square miles of The Ocean State.
How Many Rhode Islands Could Fit In Alaska?
It’s interesting to compare Alaska, the largest state in the USA, with Rhode Island, the smallest state in the USA. Alaska covers 571,951 square miles of land and 91,316 square miles of water. It also boasts the tallest mountain in the USA, Denali, which towers 20,310 feet in the Alaska Range. If you tried to put Rhode Island inside Alaska, it would fit 425 times!
You will have a vastly different experience visiting Rhode Island versus Alaska, not the least of which is the time to drive across the state.
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The Smallest State in the USA Could Still Be Its Own Country
Even though Rhode Island is the smallest state in the USA, it could hold its own as an independent nation. There are a couple dozen countries that are even smaller than The Ocean State.
However, don’t let its size deter you from visiting. Rhode Island is a beautiful coastal state that offers something for everyone, from history buffs and sunbathers to artists. So the next time you visit the Northeast, don’t skip out on seeing the smallest state in the USA. Book a reservation in historic Newport or the capital city of Providence and find out what makes Rhode Island unique.
Have you ever visited the smallest state in the USA? Tell us about your experience in Rhode Island in the comments!
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Thursday 4th of May 2023
Have you been to RI ? It’s not as wonderful as you make it sound. I’m a native, which is why I want to move North to Maine, less people more animals. Thanks for the shout out though , made me laugh 😁.