Springfield, Massachusetts, Higher Education and City Information

Information about Springfield

While it's a truism that there is a Springfield in nearly every state, the oldest city with the name Springfield is found in Hampden County, Massachusetts. Founded in the middle-1600s, the city had an estimated population of about 153,991 residents as of 2014, making it one of the larger Springfield cities in the country. The town is a diverse; in 2010, around 52 percent of the population identified as white, while approximately 22 percent was African-American and nearly 39 percent was of Hispanic or Latino descent, based on U.S. Census Bureau data. The median household income was $34,731 for the period 2010-2014, which was significantly lower than the statewide median income of $67,846.

Compared with virtually all other Massachusetts cities, Springfield is located relatively far from the state capital of Boston. This gives it a comparatively autonomous self-image, and the city is considered to be the cultural heart of the western part of the state. Among the cultural attractions in Springfield are the Springfield Museums, a collection of museums that also feature a library and a memorial to Dr. Seuss, the children's book author and local son. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is also located in the city.

Higher Education

The region encompassing Springfield and nearby Hartford, Connecticut, is known as New England's 'Knowledge Corridor' for the large number of colleges and universities in the area, making for the second-largest population of postsecondary students in the northeastern United States.

Springfield is home to several reputable institutions of higher learning, including Springfield College and Western New England University, both private liberal arts schools, and the American International College. Springfield Technical Community College offers associate degrees and professional education, while the surrounding area hosts such institutions as the University of Hartford, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Westfield State University.

Employment and Economy

Like many industrial Northeastern cities, Springfield has suffered economically in recent decades as manufacturers have closed their factories to relocate to other states or countries. However, a number of important employers remain in the city, including firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson and Big Y Foods. Higher education is a significant contributor to the economy, with more than a dozen colleges and universities operating around the greater Springfield area. Several finance and insurance companies, including the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, are also major employers in the city.

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