Off Grid Living In Rhode Island ( Size Does Matter! )

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the entire country and it is in the 44th position when it comes to population. Currently, the population is around 1 million, and in the past couple of decades, the population growth is stagnating. The state’s biggest city is Providence with a population of around 180k people, generally speaking, most of the well-paid jobs are also here. The rest of the population is scattered around in smaller cities and towns.

Living off the grid in Rhode Island is legal, but this is not a good state for off grid living, the price of property is fairly high, taxes and living expenses are also higher than the national average. The only positive aspect of living off the grid in this state is the low crime rate, but all the other aspects which are needed to live off the grid are simply not there.

If you want to live off the grid in Rhode Island then you will need to have a generator as winters tend to be fairly cold, my personal recommendation is to use one that 3600 watts rated and 4800 watts peak power Click here to check it out on Amazon.com

If you have ever visited Rhode Island then you have noticed one thing as soon as you entered the state, which is potholes and lots of them. Although potholes are fairly common on the east coast especially in the northern part of the country, but Rhode Island seems to have a lot of difficulties making high-quality roads. The main reason why there are so many potholes is that the temperature fluctuates quite a bit, and the salt from the ocean also deteriorates the roads.

If you want to live off the grid in Rhode Island you will find it quite difficult, the price of land is expensive, taxes are high and there are not enough jobs, these reasons are also why not a lot of people are moving to Rhode Island. If you are around your 30’s or 40’s you will probably want to know that the state of Rhode Island has been voted several times as the most boring state, simply put there is not enough to do in this state and the population is aging.

Without new people coming to the state to fill in the jobs and demands, most of the local business caters to the elderly, although this is not true in all counties. One of the main problems with living off the grid in this state is that you will find it very hard to get a good piece of land, most of the good plots are already sold and if they are selling you will have to give your arms and legs to get it. If you are looking for a cheaper state then I highly recommend you check out my recent article Off grid living in Utah ( Cheap Land & Low Property Tax ).

Rhode Island Climate

Rhode Island has a continental humid climate, and strong winds are fairly frequent. The summers are often categorized as either warm or hot, and the winters as cold and windy. During the summertime the average temperature is around 90°F, this can get a bit higher the more you go inland. Due to the close proximity to the ocean, Rhode Island is fairly windy and you won’t even notice how hot actually is.

During the wintertime, the average temperature is around 15°F, and the closer you get to the coast the colder it gets. Both during summer and wintertime due to the wind chill factor the temperatures will drop off significantly in just a couple of hours after sunset. The climate is more or less similar to Maryland, for more information check out my recent article Off grid living in Maryland ( Good or Bad? ).

Best Crops To Grow Off The Grid In Rhode Island

There are around 1.2k farms in the state, the vast majority of them grow potatoes and sweet corn. Generally speaking, the land most well suited to grow potatoes are in the southern part of the state. In addition to this Rhode Island produces a lot of dairy products. If you want to live on a homestead and grow crops, then your best option will be to use a greenhouse, the temperature difference between night and day can be high even during the summertime, especially if the wind is blowing. If you want to take a look at one of the neighboring states then check out my recent article Off grid living in Massachusetts ( The Bay State ).

Freshwater Availability In Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a couple of rivers and lakes, the biggest lake is the Scituate reservoir. As the local climate is fairly humid and the rainfall is plentiful you will have no problem harvesting rainwater or accessing groundwater. One thing to keep in mind with groundwater is that the closer you get to the coast the higher the chances are of it being contaminated by saltwater.

Rhode Island Wildlife

You will find some deer, opossums, and even turtles in Rhode Island. Coyotes, raccoons, and skunks are often found both in the rural and urban areas, some have even made the city of Providence their home. Although you don’t really have a lot of options when it comes to hunting, but fishing makes up for the lack of wild game as you will find plenty of freshwater and saltwater fish in this state.

Generating Power Off The Grid In Rhode Island

  • Solar power: Rhode Island is probably not the best state to generate power with solar panels. If you are close to the coast you might find that the saltwater particles which are carried by the wind will start to corrode your solar panels. Rhode Island has a Renewable Energy Fund, with which you will be able to save anything between 20%-30% of the total costs.
  • Wind power: Now this is where Rhode Island shines, as the state is fairly windy, it is an excellent state to power your home with small wind turbines. The incentives or rebates for wind power also fall into the Renewable Energy Fund, so you will save between 20%-30% of the cost.

Rhode Island Off Grid Laws

Living off the grid in Rhode Island is completely legal, although there are some regulations regarding solar power. Although it is legal to live off the grid, but this doesn’t mean that it is easy. The main problem is the size of the state, generally speaking, the closer you get to a city the harder it is to live without utilities, and this is true for all states, not just Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Road Access

The quality of the roads in Rhode Island is fairly low, you will see a lot of potholes, and even holes big enough to trap a car inside them. During the summertime, you will have no problem with road access, but during the wintertime, you probably will. Rhode Island gets plenty of snow during the wintertime, combine this with a lot of potholes and you get the idea. In addition to this even if the road is clean you might find that the road has a thin strip of ice on it, this is mostly due to the high humidity and powerful winds, so drive carefully.

Rhode Island Job Availability

The unemployment rate in Rhode Island is around 3.6%, and the minimum wage starts at $10.50, which a fair bit higher than the national average which is $7.25. The major industries are biomedical, data entry, IT, commercial fishing, and maritime products. Most of the highest paying jobs are found in Providence, with one exception which is the commercial fishing industry.

Rhode Island Price Of Off Grid Land

The price of land in Rhode Island is expensive, although this is fairly common for the states on the east coast. Due to the small size of the state, it will be difficult to find land that is both affordable and in a decent location. Your best bet will be to check the local newspapers as a lot of people who no longer live in the state will sell their inherited properties and lands for cheap. Even though there is not a lot of demand for land, as there are very few new people coming to the state, the prices are still expensive due to the small size of the state.

Rhode Island Property Tax

Whenever I am talking to someone who is looking for a good off grid state, I always tell them to check the property tax. Although in the eyes of most people the property tax is fairly negligible, but for people who live off the grid and mostly off the land, every dollar counts. Rhode Island has a massive 1.66% property tax, which is well above the national average of 1.08%. Overall the state of Rhode Island isn’t a good place to live off the grid, so only do so if you really love the area as honestly speaking it is way too expensive for off grid living.

Rhode Island Cost Of Living

The cost of living is around 10% higher than the national average, you will be paying more for housing, groceries, utilities, and even transportation. Expensive land, high tax rates, and the high cost of living do I need to say more? Even if money isn’t an issue for you I still couldn’t recommend this state for off grid living, as it takes so much and offers very little.

Rhode Island Crime Rate

The crime rate in Rhode Island is lower than the national average, which is a big bonus for a state on the east coast. The crime rate is around 2.16 crimes per 1000 people, this is for violent crimes, and when you compare it to the national average which is 4 crimes per 1000 people it is quite a bit smaller. One thing to note about Rhode Island is that it is literally one of the most depressing places to live in the country, around 9% of the population has been diagnosed with depression.

Rhode Island Natural Disasters

Rhode Island is prone to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and storms, although this is somewhat common in all states located on the east coast. The problem with Rhode Island is that even at the best of times the roads are fairly dangerous, and when you combine them with a flood or a storm they become even more dangerous.

In conclusion

Rhode Island isn’t an ideal place to live off the grid unless you have already some land and you are used to living in this state. If not then you will notice that you are limited by so many factors, like the lack of jobs, high taxes, high cost of living, and fairly expensive land, on top of the cold climate and the lack of growable crops. If you have some money set aside to buy a small homestead, then my recommendation is to simply look elsewhere.