Providence is the capital and most populous city of the state of Rhode Island and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a Reformed Baptist theologian and religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the area in honor of "God's merciful Providence" which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay.
Providence was one of the first cities in the country to industrialise and became noted for its textile manufacturing and subsequent machine tool, jewellery, and silverware industries. Today, the city of Providence is home to eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning which have shifted the city's economy into service industries, though it still retains some manufacturing activity.
Providence is the third-most-populous city in New England. Around 1830, Providence had manufacturing industries in metals, machinery, textiles, jewelry, and silverware. Manufacturing has declined since, but the city is still one of the largest centres for jewelry and silverware design and manufacturing. Services also make up a large portion of the city's economy, in particular education, healthcare, and finance. Providence also is the site of a sectional centre facility (SCF), a regional hub for the U.S. Postal Service. It is the capital of Rhode Island, so the city's economy additionally consists of government services.
Over one third of Providence's economy is based in trade, transportation, utilities, and educational and health services
Prominent companies headquartered in Providence include Fortune 500 Textron, an advanced technologies industrial conglomerate; United Natural Foods, a distributor of natural and organic foods; Fortune 1000 Nortek Incorporated; Gilbane, a construction and real estate company. Other companies with headquarters in the city include Citizens Bank, Virgin Pulse, Ørsted US Offshore Wind, and Providence Equity.
The city is home to the Rhode Island Convention Center, which opened in December 1993. Along with a hotel, the convention centre is connected to the Providence Place Mall, a major retail center, through a skywalk. The Port of Providence is the second largest deep-water seaport in New England. It handles cargos such as cement, chemicals, heavy machinery, petroleum, and scrap metal. Providence is also home to some of toy manufacturer Hasbro's business operations, although their headquarters are in Pawtucket.
Top employers in the city include: Brown University; Rhode Island Hospital; Lifespan; Women & Infants Hospital; Roger Williams Medical Center; Miriam Hospital; Belo Corp/Providence Journal; Mars 2000; Providence College; AAA Southern New England; Johnson & Wales University; Butler Hospital; H. Carr & Sons Inc.; National Grid; Employment 2000; Verizon; Gilbane Building Co.; Walmart; Jewel Case Corp.; Nordstrom; Target Corporation.
Providence is ranked #144 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Providence was ranked #848 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Providence has a population of over 190,934 people. Providence also forms part of the wider Providence metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,622,520 people. Providence is the #33 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 5.7943 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.