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Boston vs Providence 🆚 | Is Living in Boston or Providence Right for You? [Pros & Cons + More]

Last Updated on: 7th August 2023, 09:45 am

Are you considering moving to Providence or Boston but aren’t sure which city to call home? Both cities have an incredible culture, friendly people, and a wide array of opportunities.

Boston, also known as Beantown, is a city in Massachusetts and is known for its diverse population, successful sports teams, and bustling downtown area. Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island and is known for its thriving arts community, beautiful beaches, and incredible food. Both cities are wonderful places to live, but which one is a better fit for you? This is everything you need to know about living in Providence vs. Boston.

Boston to Providence Distance

How far is it from Providence to Boston? It is only 50 miles from Providence RI to Boston MA. This is about a 50-minute drive. Although it is a short distance, it is still considered a long distance move if you are moving from Providence to Boston as it is across state lines.

Pros & Cons of Living in Providence vs Boston

There are many pros and cons to consider when comparing Boston vs. Providence. Here are the positives and negatives of each city.

Living in Providence pros

When it comes to Providence pros and cons, there are many factors to consider. Some of the most exciting features of Providence include a lower cost of living, lower real estate prices, and less traffic.

Providence is also known for being very diverse. The city is home to many ethnic neighborhoods, such as the North End (Italian), Fox Point (Portuguese), and Smith Hill (Irish). These Providence neighborhoods help to bring life into the city. Providence is also known as a very active gay and lesbian community. The rate of reported LGBTQ+ relationships is 75% higher than the national average.

Living in Providence cons

There are a few challenges to living in Providence. The crime rate in Providence is higher than in Boston. The city also does not have as good of a public transportation system. The median household income is also over $20,000 less than Boston’s median household income.

Living in Boston pros

There are many Boston pros and cons to consider before moving to the area. A few of the major advantages of living in Boston are the endless job opportunities, lower crime rate, and popular sports teams.

Boston is placed among the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world and has the sixth-largest economy in the country. Because of this, job opportunities are never ending. There are many major companies headquartered in Boston, and the unemployment rate is at an all-time low.

Living in Boston cons

It is very expensive to live in Boston. Everything from houses to rent to everyday expenses are more expensive than in Providence.

Depending on your preference, the big city vibe of Boston may be a strength or a weakness. Boston’s population is nearly three times the size of Providence’s population. This leads to major traffic congestion and busy public areas.

Comparisons of Boston vs. Providence

There are many benefits and disadvantages when living in both Boston and Providence. Here’s how the two cities compare in a few major categories.

Providence vs. Boston demographics

Providence Demographics:

  • Population: 190,932
  • Sex ratio: 51.6% female, 48.4% male
  • Median age: 31.2
  • Educational attainment: 83.5% high school degree (or higher), 33.3% bachelor’s degree (or higher)
  • Median household income: $55,787
  • Racial and ethnic composition: 42.9% Hispanic or Latino, 34.1% White, 15.8% Black or African American, 10.6% two or more races, 6.1% Asian, 0.7% American Indian
  • Foreign born population: 30.7%

Boston Demographics:

  • Population: 675,647
  • Sex ratio: 52% female, 48% male
  • Median age: 32.4
  • Educational attainment: 88.2% high school degree (or higher), 52.1% bachelor’s degree (or higher)
  • Median household income: $81,744
  • Racial and ethnic composition: 44% White, 23.5% Black or African American, 19.8% Hispanic or Latino, 9.7% Asian, 9.6% two or more races
  • Foreign born population: 28.1%

One of the major differences between the two cities is the population. The Boston population is much higher than the Providence population. Because of this, you will get a bigger city feel in Boston compared to Providence.

Cost of living in Boston vs. Providence

The cost of living in Boston is higher than the cost of living in Providence. In fact, Boston comes in at number 6 on Rocket Mortgage’s ‘10 Most Expensive Cities in the US’ list. The Boston Cost of Living Index is 153.2, meaning it is 53.2% more expensive than the national average of 100. The Providence Cost of Living Index is 117.2% which means it is only 17.2% more expensive than the national average of 100 and 36% less expensive than Boston.

Boston real estate is also much more expensive than Providence real estate. According to Redfin, the average home price in Boston is $799,000, while the average home price in Providence is $420,000. Both are higher than the national average of $418,379.

Graph of the median sale price in Boston, MA

Looking to rent in Boston or Providence? According to RentCafe, the average rent in Boston is $3,758 per month, while the average rent in Providence is $2,483 per month.

All in all, Providence is cheaper when comparing Providence vs. Boston. However, it is important to remember that the average household income is higher in Boston, making it a bit easier to support a more expensive lifestyle.

Providence vs. Boston crime rates

It is important to look at the crime rates when comparing Providence vs. Boston. The crime rate in Providence is higher than the crime rate in Boston. The Providence crime rate is 2,901 crimes per 100,000 people. This is 96.5% higher than the state average and 23.7% higher than the national average. The Boston crime rate is 2,491 crimes per 100,000 people. This is 82.9% higher than the state average and 6.2% higher than the national average.

Although the overall crime rate in Providence is higher, there is more violent crime in Boston. Many of the crimes in Providence are property crimes. Although frustrating, property crimes are generally not a threat to your safety.

Things to do in Boston vs. Providence

There are many fun things to do in Boston and Providence. If you are interested in the city life, then you may find Boston attractions more appealing. Residents living in Boston can enjoy fun urban activities such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery. Boston also has an amazing entertainment scene, with many popular musical acts coming through the city each week.

Although Providence also has a prominent city scene, it is known for its beautiful outdoor attractions. Some of the most popular things to do in Providence include India Point Park, Prospect Terrace, and Waterplace Park.


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A post shared by India Point Park (@indiapointpark)

Luckily, whether you are living in Boston or Providence, you can easily take a day trip to enjoy the other city’s attractions!

Providence vs. Boston transportation

Before you select a city, you need to understand the opportunities and obstacles of the public transportation systems. Getting around in Boston is quite easy without a car. The city is walkable, and the MBTA provides a commuter rail, subway, bus, and ferry service that runs throughout the city. Boston also has a large network of bike lanes. If you decide to drive, however, you may run into some trouble. According to INRIX, Boston is the second most congested city in the United States and the fourth worldwide. Drivers in Boston spend an average of 134 hours in traffic per year.

Providence is served by the RIPTA, which offers buses, a regional railway, and a free autonomous vehicle shuttle pilot program. Providence is also a very walkable city, and if you live in the city, you do not necessarily need a personal vehicle. The traffic is not nearly as bad in Providence as it is in Rhode Island. If you avoid rush hour, then the traffic is generally pretty smooth.

Weather in Boston vs. Providence

The weather in Boston and the weather in Providence are fairly similar due to their close proximity to one another. Both cities have a humid subtropical climate. This means that the areas experience hot summers, cold winters, and high humidity all year long. Providence may be slightly warmer due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Boston, on the other hand, has wind patterns that minimize the effect of the Atlantic Ocean.

Pack your snow shovel when living in Providence and Boston! Both cities have an average annual snowfall of over 40 inches!

Jobs in Providence vs. Boston

You may want to consider job opportunities when comparing Providence vs. Boston. Both cities have wonderful job opportunities, but different industries thrive in each area.

Most Providence jobs are based in trade, transportation, utilities, educational, and health services. There are many major companies headquartered in Providence, including Textron, United Natural Foods, and Gilbane. The unemployment rate in Providence is 2.7%.

Jobs in Boston are more rooted in education, tourism, and government. Some of the top employers in Boston include Boston University, Liberty Mutual Group Inc., and the City of Boston. The unemployment rate in Boston is currently 2.1%.

Sports in Boston vs. Providence

If you love sports, then either city is a wonderful place to be. Boston has some of the most well-known sports teams in the world, such as the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and Boston Celtics.

Providence does not have as many popular teams; however, the New England Patriots and New England Revolution both play in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is halfway between Providence and Boston.


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A post shared by New England Patriots (@patriots)

Providence vs. Boston: Where Are You Moving?

Now that you know the ins and outs of both cities, will you be choosing Boston or Providence as your new home? Both of these cities have highlights and challenges, so it is important to pick the one that best fits your specific needs. If Providence is calling your name, then Correira Brothers is here to help. Give our Providence movers a call today at (401) 648-6683 to receive a free quote!


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