Worcester, the third-largest city in the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, is the seat of Worcester County. A July 1, 2002, estimate put the population at 174,962. In terms of population.
It is also the third-largest city in New England, behind Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.
The city and its surrounding region are the fastest growing areas in the state. It is ranked twenty-fifth in the nation for its size in terms of current population and economic growth. Nevertheless, downtown Worcester has suffered from the trend toward urban sprawl, as some of its business activity has been lured away by shopping malls.