Cranston, once known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. With a population of 79,269 at the 2000 census, it is the third largest city in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston . Cranston is a part of the Providence metropolitan area. Cranston was named one of the "100 Best Places to Live" in the United States by Money magazine in 2006 . It is among the top 25 safest cities in the country, according to CQ Press's research.