Worcester (pronounced /ˈwʊstər/) is a city in the state of Massachusetts in the United States of America. A 2006 estimate put the population at 175,454, making it the estimated second-largest city in New England, after Boston. It is also the second-largest city in Massachusetts, and the county seat of Worcester County. The city marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Manchester (MA-RI-NH) Combined Statistical Area (CSA). Being located in central Massachusetts, Worcester is referred to as the "Heart of the Commonwealth."
Worcester is located at GR1 According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 99.9 km² (38.6 mi²). 97.3 km² (37.6 mi²) of it is land and 2.6 km² (1.0 mi²) of it (2.59%) is water. Worcester is bordered by the towns of Auburn, Grafton, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Paxton, Shrewsbury, and West Boylston.(42.268843, -71.803774).
The Blackstone River passes through Worcester, but is almost completely covered as it passes through. Water Street and the appearance of the river just south of the city are the only indications of its existence. There are seven very steep hills that distinguish its topography: Airport Hill, Bancroft Hill, Belmont Hill (Bell Hill), Grafton Hill, Green Hill, Pakachoag Hill and Vernon Hill. Lake Quinsigamond, on its eastern border, is frequently the site of rowing competitions.
Worcester counts within its borders over 1,200 acres (5 km²) of publicly owned property. Elm Park, purchased in 1854 and laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, was not only the first public park in the city (after the 8 acre (32,000 m²) City Common from 1669) but also one of the first of its kind in the U.S. Both the City Common and Elm Park are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1903 the Green family donated the 549 acres (2.2 km²) of Green Hill area land to the city, making Green Hill Park the largest in the city. In June 2002, city and state leaders dedicated the state's Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Green Hill Park grounds.
Successive waves of immigrants have formed coherent ethnic enclaves, the remnants of which survive today. Swedes settled in Quinsigamond Village and Greendale, Italians settled along Shrewsbury Street, Irish settled around Kelly Square, and Jews built their first synagogue on Grafton Hill. The African-American community has existed since colonial times. Since the late 1800's, Grafton Hill has been a point of entry for immigrants from all over the world: Irish, Italians, Lithuanians, Puerto Ricans, French Canadians, and more recently, Albanians and Brazilians. Other prominent groups include Russians, Armenians, Syrians, Lebanese, Greeks, Vietnamese, Liberians, and Congolese. Each successive group has been helped to integrate into the city's life by settlement houses such as Friendly House, a community-based, human services organization that traces its roots to the settlement house movement of the late 19th century.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 172,648 people, 67,028 households, and 39,211 families residing in the city, making it the second largest city by population in Massachusetts, behind Boston. The population density was 1,774.8/km² (4,596.5/mi²). There were 70,723 housing units at an average density of 727.0/km² (1,882.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.11% White, 6.89% African American, 0.45% Native American, 4.87% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 7.24% from other races, and 3.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.15% of the population.
There were 67,028 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.11.
The population is spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.
The median household income is $35,623, and the median family income is $42,988. Males had a median income of $36,190 versus $28,522 for females. The per capita income is $18,614. About 14.1% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.6% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over. Of the city's population over 25, 76.7% are high school graduates and 23.3% have a bachelor's degree.
Worcester's Public Schools educate of more than 23,000 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The system consists of 33 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 7 high schools, and 13 other learning centers such as magnet schools, alternative schools, and special education schools. The city's public school system also administers an adult education component called "Night Life", and operates a cable accessible television station, Channel 11.
Worcester is home to ten colleges and universities. The oldest, founded in 1843, is the Jesuit College of the Holy Cross, the oldest Roman Catholic college in New England and one of the oldest in the United States. In 2007, the College of the Holy Cross was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the nation's thirty-second highest rated liberal arts college. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1865) is an innovative leader in engineering education and partnering with local biotechnology industries. Clark University, founded in 1887, has historic strengths in psychology and geography. Well-known professors include Albert A. Michelson, who won the first American Nobel Prize in 1902 for his measurement of light, Robert Goddard, the father of the space age, and G. Stanley Hall from Clark University, the founder of organized psychology as a science and profession, the father of the child study movement, and the founder of the American Psychological Association. Clark offers the only program in the country leading to a Ph.D. in Holocaust History and Genocide Studies. The University of Massachusetts Medical School (1970) is one of the nation's top 50 medical schools. Dr. Craig Mello won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The University of Massachusetts Medical School is ranked fourth in primary care education among America's 125 medical schools in the 2006 U.S. News & World Report annual guide "America’s Best Graduate Schools." Tufts University Veterinary School (Grafton) is part of the Greater Worcester educational community, as is The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - Worcester Campus. At 175-acres, the largest college in Worcester is Assumption College, which is also the 4th oldest Roman Catholic college in New England, founded in 1904. Other Worcester colleges and universities include Worcester State College, Anna Maria College, Becker College, Salter, and Quinsigamond Community College. An early educational institution, the Oread Institute, closed in 1934.
Many of these institutions participate in the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. This independent non-profit collegiate association operates and facilitates cooperation among the colleges and universities. One example is its inter-college shuttle bus and student cross registration. The consortium includes all academic institutions in Worcester County, whether within or outside the city boundaries.
Worcester is home to several noteworthy libraries and museums, including a national library, the American Antiquarian Society; a museum that features the largest collection of medieval armor in the New World --the Higgins Armory Museum; a world-class art musem, the Worcester Art Museum; the science-focused EcoTarium and the nation's only plumbing museum, the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum.
Performing arts centers and arenas in the city include Mechanics Hall recognized as the nation's finest pre-civil War concert Hall. A National Historic Landmark, this circa 1857 exhibition hall offers excellent acoustics and a superb Hook pipe organ. Tuckerman Hall, home of the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, was designed by Josephine Wright Chapman, one of this country's earliest woman architects. The buidling housing the Higgins Armory is one of the first steel buildings ever constructed. Worcester's French Renaissance style Union Station has been recently renovated. The station now serves as home to an intermodal terminal, a restaurant, and the FDR American Heritage Center Museum and Special Collection showcase.
Worcester has a long and distinguished literary history. Local authors include: George Bancroft, the author of the first comprehnsive history of the United States; Esther Forbes, author of Johnny Tremaine, Robert Benchley; Stanley Kunitz, Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Laureate of the United States; Elizabeth Bishop, Pulitizer Prize winner, Poet Laureate Billy Collins (Holy Cross), Charles Olson, Nicholas Gage, Eleni Gage, and screenwriter Christos Gage. The Worcester County Poetry Association fosters the poetic tradition by sponsoring readings by national and local poets, celebrating Bloomsday, and holding conferences and literary tours of Worcester. Local poets have competed successfully in the National Poetry Slam.
The Worcester Music Festival, currently in its 148th Season, is the oldest Music Festival in the United States and carries a rich history. Since 1858 the Worcester County Music Association has been pre-eminent in presenting great performances by world-renowned artists, and has made "a tradition of excellence" its hallmark. The Worcester Music Festival has been recognized by the Library of Congress. Music Worcester, Inc. was formed in 1996 out of a landmark merger which united the historic Worcester County Music Association, presenter of the distinguished Worcester Music Festival, and the International Artists Series, presenter of the Mass Jazz Festival and the International Artists Series.
In September 1981, the rock band the Rolling Stones played an unscheduled performance at local nightclub Sir Morgan's Cove (now The Lucky Dog) before embarking on their national tour that year. Billed as "Blue Monday with The Cockroaches", the Stones played before a packed house of 350 people who had been given tickets in a promotion by WAAF Radio that day.
Worcester is home to the New England Summer Nationals, a large car show which brings together thousands of vehicles and many more thousands of automotive enthusiasts from across the country. This event takes place annually around the 4th of July holiday. Worcester was also the home of Harvey Ball, the inventor of the Smiley Face.
"Worcester" is correctly pronounced with two syllables, not three (IPA: [ˈwʊstər]listen). However, some varieties of the local dialect pronounce "Worcester" roughly to rhyme with "mister", or more precisely IPA: ['wɨstə], since Boston English is non-rhotic. Occasionally, the city's name is misspelled as "Worchester".