Rochester (/ˈrɒtʃɛstər, -ɪs-/) is a city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in western New York and the seat of Monroe County. With a population of 208,046, Rochester is the third most populous city in New York state, after New York City and Buffalo. The metropolitan area has a population of just over one million people. It is about 73 miles (117 km) east of Buffalo and 87 miles (140 km) west of Syracuse.
Rochester is at 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139 (43.165496, −77.611504). The city is about 73 miles (120 km) east-northeast of Buffalo and about 87 miles (140 km) west of Syracuse. Albany, the state capital, is 226 miles (360 km) to the east; it sits on Lake Ontario’s southern shore. The Genesee River bisects the city. Toronto, in Ontario, Canada is northwest 168 miles (270 km) and New York City is about 350 miles (560 km) to the southeast.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.1 square miles (96 km), of which 35.8 square miles (93 km) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km) is water (3.42%).
Rochester’s geography was formed by the ice sheets during the Pleistocene epoch. The retreating ice sheets reached a standstill at what is now the southern border of the city, melting at the same rate as they were advancing, depositing sediment along the southern edge of the ice mass. This created a line of hills, including (from west to east) Mt. Hope, the hills of Highland Park, Pinnacle Hill, and Cobb’s Hill. Because the sediment of these hills was deposited into a proglacial lake, they are stratified and classified as a “kame delta”. A brief retreat and readvance of the ice sheet onto the delta deposited unstratified material there, creating a rare hybrid structure called “kame moraine”.
The ice sheets also created Lake Ontario (one of the five freshwater Great Lakes), the Genesee River with its waterfalls and gorges, Irondequoit Bay, Sodus Bay, Braddock Bay, Mendon Ponds, numerous local streams and ponds, the Ridge, and the nearby Finger Lakes.
Rochester has 537 miles (864 km) of public streets, 585 miles (941 km) of water mains, 44 vehicular and eight pedestrian bridges, 11 public libraries, two police stations (one for the east side, one for the west), and 15 firehouses. The principal source of water is Hemlock Lake, which, with its watershed, is owned by the state of New York. Other water sources include Canadice Lake and Lake Ontario. The 30-year annual average snowfall is just above 100 in (2.5 m). The monthly daily average ranges from 24.7 °F (−4.1 °C) in January to 70.8 °F (21.6 °C) in July. The high amount of snow Rochester receives can be accounted for by the city’s proximity to Lake Ontario (see lake effect).
According to the 2010 census, the city’s population was 43.7% White or White American, 41.7% Black, 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.1% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 6.6% from some other race and 4.4% from two or more races. 16.4% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race, mostly made up of Puerto Ricans. Non-Hispanic Whites were 37.6% of the population in 2010, compared to 80.2% in 1970.
Over the course of the past 50 years Rochester has become a major center for immigration, particularly for arrivals from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Subsaharan Africa and the Caribbean. Rochester has the highest percentage of Puerto Ricans of any major city in the United States, one of the four largest Turkish American communities, one of the largest Jamaican American communities in any major U.S city and a large concentration of Polish Americans along with nearby Buffalo, New York. In addition, Rochester is ranked number 9 in the nation for the largest Italian population in the United States.
In 1997, Rochester was reported to have the largest per-capita deaf population in the United States. This is attributed to the fact Rochester is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
There were 88,999 households of which 30.0% had children under 18 living with them, 25.1% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families. Of all households, 37.1% were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone 65 or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.19.
The city population was 28.1% under 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 or older. The median age was 31. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.
The median income for a city household was $27,123, and the median family income was $31,257. Males had a median income of $30,521, versus $25,139 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,588. About 23.4% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.5% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Rochester’s population was roughly half Protestant and half Catholic, although a significant Jewish population also was present. In 1938, there were 214 religious congregations, two thirds of which had been founded after 1880. At that time, the city added, on average, 2.6 new congregations per year, many founded by immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. During peak immigration from 1900–1920 dozens of churches were established, including four Roman Catholic churches with Italian clergy, three Roman Catholic churches with Slavic clergy, Polish Baptist church, 15 Jewish synagogues, and four small Italian Protestant mission churches: Baptist, Evangelical, Methodist, and Presbyterian.
Additionally, there are several Buddhist temples in the city: one Cambodian, two Lao, and one Vietnamese.