Rhode Island as a Unit of Measure

How often have you read or heard that something-or-other is the "size of Rhode Island" or so many times the size of Rhode Island? Rhode Island is used as a unit of measure in all kinds of situations. The most common things measured in Rhode Island units are of course geopolitical entities like states, countries, school districts, water districts, counties, airports... The most vehemently emotional use (you can hear the italics boldface and exclamation points in the speaker's voice) is usually for natural wilderness areas that are threatened or provide habitat for endangered species or are about to be clear cut. Sometimes you'll also hear this unit applied to bodies of water. I've often heard it used to measure holes. Whatever the holes may be in. A geology book I was reading last year mentioned a crater the size of Rhode Island from a meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. Curious about this phenomenon, I did a search on Alta Vista and came up 53 hits only one of which was irrelevant (an agricultural report about the size of Rhode Island farms). I grouped the references into 4 categories: geopolitical entities, holes, natural wonders/features, and unclassifiable.

I think my favorite is the restaurant review... but read and judge for yourself...

Geopolitical Entities

The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District encompasses an area of 7,361 square miles - roughly the size of Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut combined. Over 15,800 students attend the twenty-nine schools in our district or enroll in correspondence studies. Our schools range in size from an elementary school of 66 students to a 1,300-student high school.

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

West Valley High School,

Westover Metropolitan Airport is located in the heart of the "Pioneer Valley" of Western Massachusetts. Encompassing forty-three communities throughout Hampden and Hampshire Counties, the immediate market area covers approximately 1,200 square miles, a region roughly the size of Rhode Island. As home to 602,878 residents, the two counties represent the fourth largest metropolitan area in New England, and the second largest in Massachusetts.

"Pioneer Valley" of Western Massachusetts

Westover Metropolitan Airport

Hong Kong is about three-quarters the size of Rhode Island and has virtually no natural resources.

Hong Kong, soon to be a province of China


Free Trade/Free Market Hong Kong


Area: total area: 9,104 sq km land area: 8,959 sq km comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

The Azores are a group of islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 2,200 miles east of New York City, and approximately 850 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. The total land area is 922 square miles or roughly equivalent to three-fourths the size of Rhode Island.

Azores, Portugal

This is appropriate since much of Rhode Island's population came from the Azores.

Lajes Field

In fact, over 4.1 million people of more than 100 different ethnicity's call this mighty metropolis their home-- a city twice the size of Rhode Island, rich in imagination and vision.

Houston, Texas

Houston - Texas At Its Best

DAY 6 :We leave Tirol for the Austrian province of Salzburgerland, about twice the size of Rhode Island with a population of about 500,000.

Austrian province of Salzburgerland

Alps Boy

Westlands Water District, in California's arid Central Valley, is launching the market, which at first will handle only water trades within the district. Westlands distributes cheap, federally subsidized water to about 700 farmers, including some of the nation's wealthiest and biggest agricultural operations, who grow cotton, tomatoes, garlic and other crops on an area the size of Rhode Island.

Westlands Water District, California

Water rights may become more liquid By G. Pascal Zachary

From The Wall Street Journal


Formed from the Pecos, Kinney, and Crockett counties, Val Verde officially became a county in 1885 and is 3,242 square miles in area (which is three times the size of Rhode Island).

Val Verde County

The History of Del Rio, Texas and Val Verde County


Area: 963 sq. km. (372 sq. mi.); one-third the size of Rhode Island.

Sao Tome and Principe (a country in Subsaharan Africa)

Sao Tome and Principe

KSC's eastern boundary fronts on the Atlantic Ocean and the center's large area (about one-fifth the size of Rhode Island) is surrounded by water, providing ample safety to the surrounding communities during launches, landings and other hazardous operations.


Kennedy Space Center, Fla. 32899





Mulder: Well, I'd like to know why this police woman would suddenly drive her car into a field the size of Rhode Island and for no rhyme or reason dig up the bones of a man whose been missing for 50 years. I mean unless there was a neon sign saying 'Dig Here'...

X-Files quotes

This appeared in 2 x-files quotes lists.

5 The ozone hole over Antarctica is estimated to be:

  • almost three times the area of the United States
  • approximately the same size as Russia
  • roughly twice the size of Rhode Island

an internet quiz

Welcome to my page dedicated to golf in Southern California. I enjoy the game of golf tremendously. My passion for the game far exceeds my skill level, however, what I lack in skill, I more than make up in style. Looking at my post shot pose, you would never guess that I normally tear up a piece of turf the size of Rhode Island.

Tim Bednarczyk.



Body parts, people, supermarkets and other unclassifiable stuff


hehehehehehehe, bless your size-of-Rhode-Island ears...

peter v

(waiting for HIV-Voyager-Support list...)



HIV Support Digest

As my synchronized leg and eye twitching snap me back to reality, I look around at all the smiling, satisfied Costco shoppers, their happy tummies full of Lil' Wiener samples and Animal Cookies. I yearn to be that carefree. I long to leisurely lose myself in supermarkets the size of Rhode Island. The utopia of Costco acts as a reminder as to how we are swung to the extremes of stress in this time of the quarter, of how we actually consider snorting coffee grounds, of how we desire to annihilate all objects that represent happiness. No, denying it -- stress is pure concentrated evil.




By Missy Crawford

TSC Columnist

March 7, 1996


In reality our hard drives look like Fibber McGees closet: a big chunk of space for Lotus Suite, a smaller chunk for Full-Tilt Pinball, a huge chunk for Windows '95, and a chunk the size of Rhode Island for free space - and all ready to spill out and bonk us on the head if we open it.

disk space on your hard drive



STAFF PICK: We know a woman who's addicted to the seafood soup with big chunks of salmon and scallops and crab,garlic and tomatoes at Vivace Restaurant, 4811 E. Grant Road. She also likes to dip her bread in olive oil mixed with chopped garlic and herbs. She swears by the iced cappuccino.

And the desserts, she says, are exquisite. Amazingly, this woman is not the size of Rhode Island, although she indulges at least once a week, sometimes twice. Nope, she's slim and petite Of course, sometimes her garlic breath could stun a vampire, but Vivace's good food is her tonic for pleasant living.

human being

Best of Tucson 1995

IRIDIUM - Developing software using a team approach has been likened to setting up artists in different rooms and telling them to collaborate on a painting. Even if you specify colors, theme and technique, the result is likely to be, well, shall we say, unique.

Imagine then what you might end up with if the artists were scattered around the world and the final canvas was to be about the size of Rhode Island. That is roughly equivalent to the scope of the software development effort -- sometimes described as one of the largest ever undertaken -- for the IRIDIUM network being designed and deployed by Motorola's satellite communications division under contract to a consortium of international companies...

mixed metaphor


But I fear they're continuing on a path where the best-laid plans of men with mice are transforming Apple's Clone Strategy into a compost heap the size of Rhode Island.

compost heap

A Totally Biased Look at the Macintosh and Anything Else That Gets in My Craw:

Editorial Comment by Scott Kelby



Natural Wonders, National Parks, Wetlands, and Endangered Areas of Rain forest


Yet mangroves are disappearing around the world. The Philippines, for example, had only 540 square miles of mangroves left by 1991, compared to about 1,700 square miles in the 1920s--a loss equivalent to the size of Rhode Island.

Rain forest Shrimp


Vincent, who is a partner in his family's logging business, reported to the Grange audience that residents in his community are not opposed to sharing their region with grizzly bears or other animals. "We have learned that in our 2.5 million acre forest (the size of Rhode Island), there is room for us and the grizzly bear. We can co-exist nicely."

The Grange Connection


EL MALPAIS NATIONAL MONUMENT $4.95 0-911408-89-4 MAYBERY The jumbled, volcanic badlands of northeastern New Mexico cover 590 square miles, an area half the size of Rhode Island. .

Guide books to New Mexico

Each year, development, drainage, and agriculture eliminate another 458,000 acres -- an area more than half the size of Rhode Island. Conversions of wetlands to farmland during a recent 20-year period caused 87 percent of all wetland losses.

National Wetlands Inventory Program

A few years ago, Venezuelan authorities created a lake the size of Rhode Island. The flooding transformed what were once hills in an unbroken tropical woodlands into dozens and dozens of forested islands. And now the ecosystems of these islands are collapsing in a spectacular way.


By John Terborgh


Both the Senate and the House bills, S. 884 and H.R. 1745, promise to open up an area twice the size of Rhode Island, 1.4 million acres, to oil and gas exploration, coal and uranium mining, off-road vehicles, communication towers, and the possibility of dams.

A Cry for Wilderness: One woman's plea to protect Utah's canyonlands

Terry Tempest Williams

National Parks

Exploring Misty Fjords National Monument is an experience you'll never forget. Here is one of our country's greatest treasures, and some of Alaska's most magnificent scenery. At 2.3 million acres, the monument is almost four times the size of Rhode Island.

Misty Fjords National Monument

How big is Lake Superior? Thirty-two thousand square miles. Thirty-two times the size of Rhode Island.

Travels with Samantha by Philip Greenspun

Grand Mesa: One of the world's largest flat-top mountains -- at nearly 600 square miles, more than half the size of Rhode Island -- Grand Mesa offers a first-class display of flora and fauna.


The White Mountain National Forest in Northern New Hampshire and part of Western Maine covers more than 750,000 acres, about the size of Rhode Island.

the Discerning Traveler



The Black Rock Desert, in northwestern Nevada, has the distinct honor of possessing one of the most barren landscapes on our planet. Four hundred square miles - half the size of Rhode Island! - of alkali-poisoned lake bed create an almost lunar landscape.

Burning Man Festival

Denali State Park is an integral part of one of North America's most spectacularly beautiful regions. The park's 324,240 acres, almost one-half the size of Rhode Island, provide the visitor with a great variety of recreational opportunities, ranging from roadside camping to wilderness exploration.

Denali State Park


Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) stated, "Under Mr. Lyons' leadership in the Forest Service, he had designated over 600,000 acres of the area that was available for timber harvest in the State of Alaska as habitat conservation zones. One of them is one-fifth the size of Rhode Island."




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The Size of Rhode Island

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