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Home > About Pawtucket

About Pawtucket


Pawtucket is a city of 71,148, persons founded in 1671, at the strategic falls of the Blackstone River and the upper tidewaters of Narragansett Bay. It is a city with a special place in the industrial history of the United States. For it was here at the Slater Mill Historic Site that Samuel Slater successfully constructed and operated machines for spinning cotton yarn in 1793. Besides textiles, a variety of machines and iron working shops grew up alongside the textile industry.

The industrial development of Pawtucket continued to expand for the next century making it a highly developed and important manufacturing center. Although the textile industry is no longer dominant, a number of specialty textile operations still remain in Pawtucket, making products such as lace, non-woven, and elastic woven materials.. Pawtucket now has 300 diversified industries with the three largest being jewelry and silverware, metals and textiles.

The past decades have seen concerted efforts to diversify the economy of the State, and Pawtucket has participated in that undertaking. In the case of Pawtucket, major political reforms preceded extensive physical changes to the city. A home rule charter went into effect in 1954 providing a strong mayoral and unicameral City Council form of government, a clear organizational format, with professional officials and staff. Since 1956 the city has been a leader in community development programs, modernized and upgraded facilities and services. It has maintained consistent budgeting and fiscal methods, and instituted modern planning, programming, and management techniques.

The City of Pawtucket today includes: major residential areas with 30,000 housing units, an employment center with 300 industries and 1,000 commercial and service establishments, and convenient links to the other major metropolitan areas by Interstate 95. City development policies over the last twenty years have been targeted to 1) improve the quality of residential neighborhoods and the housing stock, through rehabilitation programs, 2) expand the employment opportunities through stabilizing manufacturing centers and the creation of new industrial opportunities, and 3) assistance to the commercial sector with rehabilitation loans and location incentive loans.

General Demographic Characteristics

Population: The population count for The City of Pawtucket as of April 1, 2010, was 71,148. This represented a 2.48% decrease (1810 persons) from the 2000 population of 72,958.

Rank: In 2010 Pawtucket ranks 4th in population among Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns.

Median Age: In 2010 the median age of the population in Pawtucket was 36.7.

Age Distribution: In 2010, 76.7% or 54,573 persons residing in Pawtucket were 18 years of age or older. 51,752 were 21 and over, 10,879 were 62 and over, and 8,992 were 65 and over.

Population Density: The 2010 population density of Pawtucket is 8,195 persons per square mile of land area. Pawtucket contains 8.68 square miles of land area.

Housing Units: The total number of housing units in the City of Pawtucket as of April 1, 2010, was 32,055. This represented an increase of 236 units from the 31,819 housing units in 2000.
Of the 32,055 housing units 3,033 were vacant and 76 of the vacant units were for seasonal of recreational use.


Total Population of One Race: 66,818

White: 47,289
Black or African American: 9,534
American Indian and Alaska Native: 445
Asian: 1073
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 54
Some Other Race: 8,423

Total Population of two or More Races: 4,330

Hispanic or Latino: In 2000, 14,042 persons of Hispanic origin resided in Pawtucket. This represented 19.7% of the population. An increase of 8,831 or 169.5% from the 1980 Hispanic population of 5,211.

Source: Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC)

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Pawtucket's Police Explorers Program Kicks-Off

  • March 13, 2018
  • Press Release

This year marks the start of the City of Pawtucket’s Police Explorers. The program is something Police Chief Tina Goncalves and Mayor Grebien have been excited to get underway and are even happier to...  Read More >

City Speak
"The birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Pawtucket is poised to undergo a 21st century evolution into Rhode Island's premier arts and cultural destination, an ideal community to live, work, play, start a business and raise a family."

- Mayor Donald R. Grebien

New Event

The City of Pawtucket Partners with Mixed Magic Theatre to Recognize Black History Month with a Community Event

  • February 21, 2018
  • Event

To honor and close out Black History Month in Pawtucket, the City of Pawtucket and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has partnered with Mixed Magic Theatre to present a full reading of...  Read More >