West Warwick was incorporated in 1913, making it the youngest town in the state. Prior to 1913, the town, situated on the western bank of the Pawtuxet River, was the population and industrial center of the larger town of Warwick. The town split because local Democrat politicians wanted to consolidate their power and isolate their section of town from the Republican dominated farmland in the east. Since then, the town of West Warwick has fallen on hard times after the collapse of the state's textile industry, while Warwick has gone on to be the state's second largest city and commercial center.
On February 20, 2003, The Station nightclub fire was caused by pyrotechnics used indoors during a Great White concert. The fire killed 100 patrons. The fire occurred in a single-story wooden building that was more than 70 years old. It had previously served as an Italian restaurant, and during World War II was a popular hangout for sailors from nearby Quonset Point Naval Air Station.
The following villages are located in West Warwick:
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,581 people, 12,498 households, and 7,698 families residing in the town. The population density was 3,728.7 people per square mile (1,440.3/km²). There were 13,186 housing units at an average density of 1,662.1/sq mi (642.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.78% White, 1.11% African American, 0.35% Native American, 1.42% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.10% of the population.
There were 12,498 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the town the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $39,505, and the median income for a family was $47,674. Males had a median income of $35,128 versus $26,720 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,250. About 9.2% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.9% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.