The state of Massachusetts is in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Massachusetts has been significant throughout American history and many of Massachusetts's towns were founded by colonists from England in the 1620s and 1630s. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. Most of its population of 6.6 million lives in the Boston metropolitan area. The eastern half of the state consists of urban, suburban, and rural areas, while Western Massachusetts is mostly rural. Most of the state is uplands of resistant metamorphic rock that were scraped by Pleistocene glaciers that deposited moraines and outwash on a large, sandy, arm-shaped peninsula called Cape Cod and the islands Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket to the south of Cape Cod. Although much of the state had been cleared for agriculture, leaving only traces of old growth forest in isolated pockets, secondary growth has regenerated in many rural areas as farms have been abandoned. Currently, forests cover around 62% of Massachusetts. The state is located along the Atlantic Flyway, a major route for migratory waterfowl along the Atlantic coast.
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