Worcester ( (listen) WUUS-tər) 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 (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield and 40 miles (64 km) north 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. However, the city's manufacturing base waned following World War II. Long-term economic and population decline was not reversed until the 1990s, when 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.
Modern Worcester is known for its diversity and large immigrant population, with significant communities of Vietnamese, Brazilians, Albanians, Puerto Ricans, Ghanaians, Dominicans, and others. 22% of Worcester's population was born outside the United States.