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The Rochester area has been the birthplace to Kodak, Western Union, Bausch & Lomb, Gleason and Xerox, which conduct extensive research and manufacturing of industrial and consumer products.

Until 2010, the Rochester metropolitan area was the second-largest regional economy in New York State, after the New York City metropolitan area. Development of Rochester followed the American Revolution, and forced cession of their territory by the Iroquois after the defeat of Great Britain.

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.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.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.

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