Fall River is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, located about 46 miles south of Boston, 16 miles southeast of Providence, Rhode Island and 12 miles west of New Bedford. The city's population was 91,938 during the 2000 census. The 2005 census put the city's population at 91,802, making it the eighth-largest city in Massachusetts.
Fall River's motto is "We'll Try." It is nicknamed "The Scholarship City", which is seen on the welcome signs upon entering the city. Fall River is well-known for Lizzie Borden, who was accused of the 1892 axe-murder that occurred at her home in the city. It is said that the house is haunted by the ghosts of Lizzie herself, her father, step mother and her cat. Fall River is also known for Battleship Cove, the world's largest collection of World War II naval vessels. It houses the USS Massachusetts, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., and the submarine USS Lionfish.
Fall River and its metropolitan area is officially a part of the Providence - Fall River - Warwick metropolitan area. As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 91,938 people, 38,759 households, and 23,565 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,144.3/km² (2,963.7/mi²). There were 41,857 housing units at an average density of 521.0/km² (1,349.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.16% White, 2.48% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.16% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 2.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.31% of the population.
Fall River hosts one of the biggest Portuguese-speaking communities in the United States. In 2000, 43.9% of Fall River residents identified as being of Portuguese heritage. This is the highest percentage of Portuguese Americans in the country. Most of the population claims to be of Azorean origin, many from São Miguel Island. There are smaller, but significant presences of other Portuguese-speaking communities, such as other Azorean Islanders, Portuguese from mainland Portugal, Madeirans, Cape Verdeans, Brazilians, and Angolans. (See Geographic distribution of the Portuguese language.) Other ethnic communities of Fall River include a significant French Canadian (Québécois) descendent population, and also English, Polish, Italians, Lebanese, Irish, Greeks, Jews, Cambodians, and Chinese.
Fall River is the eighth largest city in the state of Massachusetts. There were 38,759 households out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,014, and the median income for a family was $37,671. Males had a median income of $31,330 versus $22,883 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,118. About 14.0% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.4% of those under age 18 and 17.4% of those age 65 or over.
There are twenty-one elementary schools in the Fall River public school system, which are grouped by the four middle schools they feed into: Matthew J. Kuss Middle School (serving the center of the city), Henry Lord Middle School (serving the South End), James Morton Middle School (serving the North End), and Edmond P. Talbot Middle School (serving the east side of the city).
The city has one public high school, B.M.C. Durfee High School. The school was founded in 1887, its original grand school building being a gift of Mrs. Mary B. Young, in the name of Bradford Matthew Chaloner Durfee, her late son, whose name also graces a dormitory at Yale University. The current school building was opened in 1978, and it was recently announced that a replica of the Durfee Chimes, the original school's red-capped bell tower, will be recreated on the grounds.
Durfee's teams wear black and red (in honor of the old school's black roof and red observatory dome and tower spire), and are called the Hilltoppers, sometimes shortened to Toppers. The school is currently a member of the Big Three Conference, where it competes with Brockton High School and its longtime natural rival, New Bedford High School.
In addition to public schools, there are several private and parochial schools in the city, including nine Catholic schools, two private schools, a Christian academy, and Atlantis Charter School, a Pre-K through 8 charter school with a marine science-themed curriculum. The city is also home to Bishop Connolly High School, a Catholic high school named for Bishop James L. Connolly, fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River. The city is the home of Diman Regional Vocational-Technical High School, which also serves the towns of Somerset, Swansea, and Westport. Famous chef Emeril Lagasse graduated from this high school, in the Culinary Arts Program that is still run today. The school's roots date back to the days of the Durfee Textile School, which branched out to include Diman. (The college, founded to promote the city's textile sciences, is now a part of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.)