Introduction to Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in Newport county, is 8 miles SW of Fall River, Massachusetts (center to center) and 53 miles S of Boston, Massachusetts. The town has a population of 17,149.

Portsmouth History

A group of religious dissenters settled Portsmouth in 1638. They came from Boston Colony and included Dr. John Clarke, Anne Hutchinson, and William Coddington. The area was originally called Pocasset by the native Indians. It was officially named Portsmouth in May, 1639. It was named after Portsmouth in New Hampshire, England. The town was formally established by the signatories of the Portsmouth Compact.

Portsmouth and nearby Attractions

  • Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Sanctuary
  • Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum
  • Fort Wetherill State Park
  • Herreshoff Marine Museum
  • Green Valley Country Club
  • Watson Farm

Things To Do In Portsmouth

Portsmouth is home to several historic sites including the Battle of Rhode Island Site, a partially preserved area where the Battle of Rhode Island was fought in 1778. The Colt State Park spreads over 464 acres and has beautiful manicured lawns, flowering bushes, and fruit trees. The Herreshoff Marine Museum is another interesting place with exhibits of the original Herreshoff boats, steam engines, photographs, and artifacts.

Portsmouth Transportation

Flights can be availed from Logan International Airport.

Portsmouth Higher Education

Facilities for higher education can be availed from Roger Williams University, Community College of Rhode Island, and Bristol Community College.


Total Population 17,352
Male Share of the Population 50.6%
Female Share of the Population 49.4%
Senior Citizens 19.8%
Employed Population 16+ 8,054
Age of the Population 46


% of people married 55.3%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 47.1%
Median Earnings25+ $52,630
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $30,179
Median Earnings With High School Degree $35,446


Median Family Income $99,575
% Above Poverty Level 92.1%
% Below Poverty Level 7.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 23 minutes
% Working from Home 3.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.1%
% Using Public Transportation 1.6%


People Living Alone 26%
Median Gross Rent $1,238
Median House Value $338,500


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 11.1%
US/American 0.3%
English 19.8%
Irish 24.8%

Portsmouth Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 8 miles SW of Fall River, Massachusetts (center to center)
Nearest Large City 53 miles S of Boston, Massachusetts
County Newport
Standard Zip Codes 02871
P.O. Box Zip Codes 02872
Phone Area Codes 401
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.602
Longitude -71.25

Portsmouth Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 8.7 miles
Jan Temp 23 to 38 F
Apr Temp 39 to 54 F
Jul Temp 64 to 78 F
Oct Temp 48 to 62 F
Annual Precip 46 inches
Distance 16.6 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 37 F
Apr Temp 38 to 56 F
Jul Temp 65 to 83 F
Oct Temp 46 to 63 F
Annual Precip 50.7 inches
Distance 21.3 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 38 F
Apr Temp 37 to 57 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 63 F
Annual Precip 49.8 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Portsmouth, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Prudence Isl (02872)

Prudence Island (02872)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Bristol 22,493 $82,603
Jamestown 5,444 $122,321
Little Compton 3,491 $108,438
Middletown 16,081 $86,890
Newport 24,599 $86,139
Tiverton 15,805 $85,807

Portsmouth Public Libraries

Portsmouth Free Public Library
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
(401) 683-9457
Library Web Site

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Portsmouth High Schools

Serves 976 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.3

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