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By 1950, the population had reached a high of 332,488.In 1950, the Census Bureau reported Rochester's population as 97.6% white and 2.3% black.For the metropolitan area, see Rochester, New York metropolitan area.) is a city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in Western New York.Rochester is the third most populous city in New York state with over 210,000 residents, and its metropolitan area has a population of nearly 1.1 million people.Rochester was founded shortly after the American Revolution by a wave of English-Puritan descended immigrants from New England who were looking for new agricultural land. They chose the site because its three cataracts on the Genesee offered great potential for water power.They would be the dominant cultural group in Rochester for over a century. Beginning in 1811, and with a population of 15, the three founders surveyed the land and laid out streets and tracts.In the early 20th century, Rochester became a center of the garment industry, particularly men's fashions.
Rochester was also home to significant unrest in labor, race, and antiwar protests.In 1847, Frederick Douglass founded the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in Rochester.Douglass, a former slave and an antislavery speaker and writer, gained a circulation of over 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.With industrial restructuring in the later 20th century, and the decline of industry and jobs in the area, by 2010, the city's population had declined to 210,565, although the metropolitan area was considerably larger.
The city is about 65 miles (100 km) east-northeast of Buffalo and about 75 miles (120 km) west of Syracuse; it sits on Lake Ontario's southern shore. New York City is about 250 miles (400 km) to the southeast.Rochester experienced one of the nation's biggest revivalist movements, led by Charles Finney.