Worcester is a city in, and county seat of, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, Worcestershire, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population was 181,045, making it the second-most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is approximately 40 miles west of Boston, 50 miles east of Springfield and 40 miles north-northwest of Providence. Due to its location near the geographic center of Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth;" a heart is the official symbol of the city.
Worcester developed as an industrial city in the 19th century due to the Blackstone Canal and rail transport, producing machinery, textiles and wire. Large numbers of European immigrants made up the city's growing population. Recently higher education, medicine, biotechnology, and new immigrants started to make their mark. The city's population has grown by 15% since 1980, and it has experienced urban renewal. A center of higher education, it is home to eight separate colleges and universities, including Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and Clark University. Architecturally, Worcester is notable for its large number of 19th century triple-decker houses, Victorian-era mill architecture, and lunch car diners such as Miss Worcester.
Worcester is the principal city of Central Massachusetts, and is a regional government, employment and transportation hub. Since the 1970s, and especially after the construction of Route 146 and interstates 90, 495, 190, 290, and 395, both Worcester and its surrounding towns have become increasingly integrated with Boston's suburbs. The Worcester region now marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Providence (MA-RI-NH) U.S. Census Combined Statistical Area (CSA), or Greater Boston.
Worcester still maintains large manufactures, like Saint-Gobain, PriMetals Technologies, and the David Clark Company. The David Clark Company pioneered aeronautical equipment including anti-gravity suits and noise attenuating headsets. Services, particularly education and healthcare, make up a large portion of the city's economy. Worcester's many colleges and universities make higher education a considerable presence in the city's economy. Hanover Insurance was founded in 1852 and retains its headquarters in Worcester. Unum Insurance and Fallon Community Health Plan have offices in the city. Polar Beverages is the largest independent soft-drink bottler in the country and is located in Worcester.
Worcester is home to the largest concentration of digital gaming students in the United States. As one of the top ten emerging hubs for tech startups, the city's biotechnology and technology industries have helped spur major expansions at both the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park hosts many innovative companies including Advanced Cell Technology and AbbVie and the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in nearby Shrewsbury.
Worcester has major retailers at the suburban Auburn Mall and Greendale Mall in North Worcester. Worcester was the number five city for investing in a rental property. Recent developments include the redevelopment of the downtown area and a bio-manufacturing industrial park. Among the top employers in the city are: UMass Memorial Health Care, City of Worcester, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Reliant Medical Group, Saint Vincent Hospital, Hanover Insurance, Saint-Gobain, Seven Hills Foundation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Community Healthlink.
Worcester is ranked #159 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Worcester was ranked #781 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Worcester has a population of over 185,428 people. Worcester also forms part of the wider Worcester metropolitan area which has a population of over 548,000 people. Worcester is the #111 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 4.3 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.