Baby Health in Winter Guess where most government employees in Rhode Island go after retiring

Baby Health in Winter

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 19,738 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 100 new cases. The most recent test-positive rate was 2.3 percent. The state announced no new deaths, so the total remains 1,014. There were 84 people in the hospital, 10 in intensive care, and four were on ventilators.

The conventional wisdom is that government employees in Rhode Island tend to flee to Florida and other states as soon as they retire.

But the data suggest that, for the vast majority of those retirees, the truth is closer to the ubiquitous bumper sticker: “I Never Leave Rhode Island.”

Watchdog RI, a nonprofit formed by former Republican and Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Block, has collected reams of pension data, including the city and state addresses of 31,762 municipal and state retirees. Of those, 25,512 — or 80.3 percent — are retired in Rhode Island.

Block said he expected twice as many retirees to be living out of state.

“Certainly, the myth is that a lot of government employees retire and get out of Dodge,” he said. “That is clearly not the case.”

Even so, Block said $222 million in pension payments is being shipped out of state each year, and he said, “That’s money that would be really nice to keep in state, if we could.”

The data show retired teachers are the most likely to stay put: 83.3 percent retire in Rhode Island, compared to 82 percent of city and town employees, and 75.7 percent of state retirees.

But one assumption is correct: Those retirees who do leave Rhode Island head to Florida. Here are the top 10 destinations for government employees who retire out of state:

  • Florida: 3,017
  • Massachusetts: 1,195
  • Connecticut: 237
  • New Hampshire: 226
  • South Carolina: 198
  • North Carolina: 167
  • Maine: 136
  • Arizona: 118
  • Texas: 88
  • Georgia, Virginia (tied): 84

Some pension checks are heading overseas. Two retirees are living in Ireland, one is in Australia, and two lucky public servants are enjoying the Caribbean in Saint Kitts and Nevis.


⚓ My latest: With the fall election season fast approaching, cities and towns across Rhode Island are facing a critical shortage of poll workers amid the pandemic. Cranston, for example, still needs 75 more poll workers as it prepares for a pair of mayoral primaries. Local officials are looking for creative solutions, while other states have called up the National Guard or offered continuing legal education credits to lawyers who work at the polls.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste, a Brown University graduate who is the founder and CEO of KerlyGirl, a startup that offers a line of natural hair care products. Have someone I should talk to for this weekly interview? E-mail me at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com.

Amanda Milkovits reports that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci took part in a remote interview on Friday with Dr. Ashish K. Jha, incoming dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University. Fauci said he is “cautiously optimistic” the fall and winter could go well if the country unites in following basic public health principles to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

⚓ The pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economies of developing countries, driving millions of people to the brink of starvation. So Edesia Nutrition, a Rhode Island company run by Navyn Salem, is investing $500,000 in a new production line that will allow it to produce another 324,000 packets per day of a fortified peanut paste that treats severe malnutrition in places like Chad and Sudan.

⚓ The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday refused to halt a ruling that lets Rhode Islanders cast mail ballots without signing the envelope in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. The state and national Republican Party had appealed, arguing that removing those safeguards could lead to voter fraud. The appeals court agreed that preventing fraud is important but said there are other safeguards and Rhode Island would likely be the only state still requiring two witnesses or a notary in the pandemic. “Taking an unusual and in fact unnecessary chance with your life is a heavy burden to bear simply to vote,” the court said.


Sports: Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is just the latest former league MVP to arrive in Boston to resume or finish a career, and Dan Shaughnessy is hoping he is more of a Kevin Garnett than a Bob McAdoo.

Education: Naomi Martin reports that families with means are pulling their children from public schools because they believe that private schools, full-time home schooling, or “learning pods” will better serve their children’s health and learning during the pandemic. The trend raises concerns about worsening educational inequality.

Racial diversity: Shirley Leung notes that many of the largest public companies in Massachusetts do not have a single Black board member.

Fewer babies?: When the pandemic hit, people joked about a baby boom with everyone stuck at home. But Beth Teitell reports that a significant percentage of would-be parents are deciding they don’t want to bring a new soul into this mess.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Rhode Island today continues its tradition of being the only state observing a legal holiday marking the end of World War II, and the Victory Day holiday, falling on the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in 1945, remains the subject of debate amid a national focus on matters of race and social justice, as The Providence Journal’s Patrick Anderson reports.

⚓ Providence City Council member Mary Kay Harris will hold a community meeting via Zoom at 6 p.m. to discuss the proposed development at the former Citizens Bank Building at Hoyle Square. The meeting will be facilitated by Dwayne Keys of the South Providence Neighborhood Association. Register here: https://bit.ly/Ward11Aug

⚓ At 6: 30 p.m., the public is invited to join the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council River Rangers at the WaterFire Arts Center, 75 Valley St., to help with the construction of “tippy tap” hand washing stations, to be used throughout the run of Decameron, Providence, which includes stories presented in outdoor locations over 10 days. The “tippy tap” is a hands-free way to wash your hands by operating a foot lever, thereby reducing the chance for bacteria transmission.

⚓ Do you ❤️ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com or follow me on Twitter @FitzProv. See you tomorrow.

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Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com

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