Demographics 2017

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RI's political leaders can become heroes if they can design policy that actually addresses the real needs of real families.

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While some pessimists view higher populations as nothing more than a greater burden to be managed, more optimistic economists agree that population growth is a vital component to economic growth. More people increases a state’s overall productivity, while also increasing its tax base.

In Rhode Island, population reached its peak with the Baby Boom generation and is now swinging the other way due to smaller generations behind it. There has been a steep drop in fertility. Many reasons have been suggested including higher opportunity costs for women, decline in religiosity, increase in sexually transmitted diseases, or the increase in the average age of women having their first child.

This is demographic bust is being called “Demographic Winter,” and it will be the major economic and fiscal issue for Rhode Island over the next few decades. Reversing it will not be an easy task, but will require making Rhode Island into a state where people have the opportunity to raise a family in prosperity. Only if Rhode Island can make a turnaround, will people want to migrate into our state instead of leaving. 

Rhode Islanders leaving our state has hurt our FPI score. We rank 45th overall in the demographics sub-category. 

To read the full demographics section of the report, please click here.

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