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Cranston more populous than Warwick for first time since 1950

Recently released data from the United States Census Bureau shows Warwick is officially no longer the second most populous city in Rhode Island, being officially surpassed by Cranston.

The data reflects population estimates as of July 1, 2017 and shows Cranston is estimated to have 81,202 people, versus 80,871 in Warwick. Numbers show that Warwick’s population has dropped by 1,801 since 2010, while Cranston has increased 815 since the last official nationwide census.

Acting Mayor Joseph Solomon released a statement shortly after the numbers were revealed in which he indicated the historic change was a “direct result” of the expansion of T.F. Green airport since 2000 – which has necessitated the removal of 555 homes, including “the elimination of 130 rental units and 239 ownership units from Warwick’s housing stock since 2011 alone.”

Solomon’s statement includes his belief that continuing efforts to support transit-oriented development in Warwick’s City Centre project will drive high-density, multifamily developments that will attract young working individuals and families who want to live near the transportation options of the airport and train station, which connects with Boston’s MBTA and Amtrak rails.

“This is the type of housing that will attract Millennials, increase our population and allow us to reinvent the variety and depth of housing options offered in Warwick,” Solomon’s statement reads.

Solomon also proposes that the expansion of the airport, while taking away properties in the short term, will help expand Warwick’s visibility in the long term and that the population numbers will bounce back in time.

“As mayor, I will continue to promote multi-family residential development within City Centre Warwick, to support our Millennials looking for a transit-oriented community in which to live, work and play,” he said. “It won’t be long before Warwick regains the loss that this census data reflects.”

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, meanwhile, heralded the data as an indicator of Cranston’s continuing growth.

“I’m so proud that Cranston’s population continues to grow because it’s a great place to live, work and play,” she said in a statement. “Along with strong economic development across the entire city, people are flocking to Cranston for our great schools, great restaurants, best-in-state shopping, robust parks and recreation offerings, nationally-accredited police department, nationally-recognized library system, convenient location and more…People want to start a business or live in a city where they can count on stable tax rates, good public services and a good government that spends their tax dollars wisely.”

According to Census records, this is the first time that Cranston has had more estimated residents than Warwick since 1950, when Cranston had an estimated population of 55,060 and Warwick had 43,028. Warwick surpassed Cranston as of the 1960 census with 68,504 residents to Cranston’s 66,766. Warwick’s drop from 82,672 in 2010 to 80,871 in 2017 represents a 2.1 percent population decrease in that span. Warwick previously dropped 3.7 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Statewide, the population increased by 3,213 from 2016 to 2017 to a total of 1,059,639.