Bristol County, RI
With a population of 49,028, Bristol County is the least populous county in Rhode Island. It’s history includes a long-term border dispute with Massachusetts, and the county was actually formed as a part of a transfer from Massachesets. With a total area of 45 square miles, it is the smallest county in Rhode Island and the third smallest county in all of the U.S.
Kent County, RI
Kent County was named for the county of Kent in England. It has a population of 164,012 - making it the second largest county in Rhode Island. The poverty rate is 7.81%, which is close to 5% below the national average. Formed in 1750, Kent actually doesn’t serve any function of government in modern times. Warwick is the largest city in Kent County and the second largest in Rhode Island. East Greenwich is the traditional county seat.
Newport County, RI
Created in 1703, Newport County - like all counties in Rhode Island - serves no governmental function. County government in this county is responsible only for creating and enforcing judicial administrative boundaries. As of the 2018 census, the population was 83,204 with a median age of 44.6. Newport County is home to the International Yacht Restoration School, an experiential learning school for aspiring craftspeople.
Providence County, RI
Providence county is home to Rhode Island’s state capitol - the city of Providence. The population was 636,084 in 2018 having experienced a minor .2% decline from the 2010 census. Providence is home to one Ivy League school, Brown University. Though this county only has a total area of 436 square miles, Providence is the largest county in Rhode Island.
Washington County, RI
Locals in Washington County actually refer to the area as South County. Renamed in honor of George Washington in 1781, Washington county was originally created as Kings County. During the colonial period of this county's history, there were significant border disputes between Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. By total area, Washington County is the largest in Rhode Island, though it is not the most populous.